PlayScore 2 is an app for recorder players that really makes a difference. What PlayScore 2 can do is little short of revolutionary. An essential tool for any musician.
Vital as it is, anyone who plays in a musical ensemble knows the limitations of practicing on one’s own. An ensemble session is always going to be partly about familiarising each member with their part in the context of the whole piece. This is to some extent unavoidable, but it will inevitably take time away from more important things.
Some people just want to make music together, others are keen to work on ensemble, expression, articulation, all the things that make music more enjoyable to play, and more enjoyable for others to listen to.
Whatever kind of musician you are, unless you are at professional level – and maybe even if you are, the ability to play with a whole ensemble, even when practicing on your own opens out some very exciting new possibilities.
Years ago you could buy ‘Music minus one’ recordings: well known pieces recorded without the soloist, allowing you to play your concerto or sing your aria with an orchestra in your own living room. Inevitably these recordings, though very useful could never cater for more than a minority. The selection of works could only be comparatively small, and the recordings tended to be aimed at soloists.
But now, what was always a sound concept can be applied to any music, and any part of parts within the music. If you have an iPhone or an iPad you can download PlayScore 2, photograph or download a score and hear it play in seconds. PlayScore 2 lets you select exactly which part or parts are played, at what relative volume, and with what instruments. It can also transpose the music so that you can play it in any key.
PlayScore 2 is not likited to scores you scan or capture with the camera, you can also access PDF scores from online resources such as;
Washington Recorder Society
The Society For All Recorder Players
Practicing your parts to an accompaniment
One way of using PlayScore 2 is to have it play all the ensemble parts except one’s own, allowing you to fill in the missing part. Because PlayScore 2 is very accurate and follows dynamics and articulation, the effect is very realistic. This is a great way to learn and a great app for recorder players.
But this is not the only thing you can do. PlayScore 2 gives you a great way to study a score. By isolating different combinations of parts you can listen to say just the inner voices. You can experiment with different tempi and balance. You can also jump to any place in the score just by scrolling there and tapping. You can even create a loop by dragging your finger over specific measures.
It is always useful to have a score to hand at an ensemble session. With PlayScore 2 on an iPad or iPhone you have a super magic score with which you can dissect the music and examine every detail audibly as well as visually. Using PlayScore 2 you can see exactly what should be happening at a particular point, and see exactly how the ensemble fits together.
Because PlayScore 2 can export as MusicXML, you can open your score in any score editor program like Finale, MuseScore, Sibelius or Dorico. From there you can arrange, transpose and orchestrate freely, but without the time-consuming chore of having to enter the notes.
PlayScore 2 can be downloaded free from the App Store. You can use basic features free, for example you can play solo and 2-staff music. Premium features are available by annual or monthly subscription.
Watch our “Playing IMSLP Scores” and “Scanning Music Into Finale” videos