Are you a singer? An instrumentalist – violin, flute saxophone, recorder… And do you wish you had an accompanist on hand, any time of the day or night ready to accompany you whenever you feel like picking up your instrument?
This can be a big problem for a serious player or a singer professional or amateur. Most of the music for singers and for solo instruments is accompanied. The solo part on its own doesn’t sound like much, its not supposed to. This is ensemble music: it needs the harmony and the rhythm that only the keyboard part can provide.
Years ago, one solution to this problem was to use a Music minus 1 recording. These are backing tracks without the solo part. You add the solo. These were good, but you needed to have exactly the right one. Right piece, right edition, and with the right instrument missing.
Well now you can have an accompanist any time you want, day or night. All you need is an iPhone or an iPad and the amazing PlayScore 2 app. Put simply PlayScore 2 is an accompanist in an app. It is like Music minus 1 (or MMO), but for any song. You simply snap a photo of the music, and hear PlayScore play it through while you play the solo on your instrument. That’s right. PlayScore 2 actually reads the dots. You can take a photo of your music, or play direct from a PDF score. You don’t need the music in a special electronic format like MIDI or MusicXML, all you need is the printed music (in fact PlayScore 2 can actually create these formats if you need them).
But there is still one issue. Most accompaniment parts include the voice or instrument part as well as the keyboard music, and unless you want PlayScore 2 to play your solo in the mix (and it will sound much better if that is left to you), you need a way of filtering it out. Fortunately the makers of PlayScore 2 have thought of that: Simply tap the round ‘staves’ button and you can choose the volume and the instrument for each staff. You can even set a transposition.
PlayScore 2 lets you adjust the speed to match your interpretation. You can jump to a bar just by tapping, but my favourite is the looping feature. Just by dragging your finger over a sequence of bars you can have PlayScore 2 repeat just those bars, and at any speed you select. This is like a metronome and an accompanist all rolled into one. Ideal for slow practice of tricky passages.