I took the photo but the music plays poorly or not at all

PlayScore is very accurate so long as you have a good camera and as long as the photo is good!  If you have a good camera but are getting poor results the answer is something to do with the photo.  Try the following

  • Use lots of light – Daylight is ideal.  A flash is often counterproductive because the illumination is patchy.
  • Stand the page up vertically – not on a horizontal surface.
  • Make sure the music is not curled up – the flatter the better.
  • Make sure the image is square on the screen – line the sides of the music up with the sides of the screen – make sure measure lines are vertical.
  • Don’t cut off parts of the music – the left edge where the clefs are is especially important
  • Make sure the focus is crisp – some cameras take a little time to focus.

NB Use a phone if possible – phones have better cameras than tablets

If one shot isn’t very good take another.  It can take a little trial and error to learn a good technique.

Will PlayScore work on my device?

PlayScore will work on any supported Apple/iOS device (iOS 8 or later) and any Android device with a good camera.  No camera less than 5 megapixel (MP) is suitable, but the MP is not always a good guide as some high MP cameras nonetheless take poor photographs.  Most high-end devices will give good results.

Always try out the free app on your device before buying or subscribing – it uses exactly the same music recognition engine.  And feel free to contact us at support@playscore.co

Which kind of device is best phone of tablet?

Phones nearly always have better cameras than tablets so, if you have a phone and a tablet of similar quality try the phone first.  if you have an iPhone 5 upwards or above, a S4 to S9 or above, or equivalent you should get excellent results as long as you follow the instructions.  If you are using a high end phone and you are not getting excellent results look above or on the ‘How to use’ page where there is lots of advice.  Feel free to contact us at support@playscore.co.

Note that most recognition failures are due to insufficient light, poor focus or an image not square on the screen.  Photograph the music vertical, but make sure its flat.  Daylight is ideal.

Can I photograph a whole page of sheet music at a time?

Yes, in portrait orientation you can easily photograph any page of sheet music – always snap the whole paper page, not part of it.  Use landscape for very wide music.  iOS users can create multi-page playing scores.

Can I play music image files?

Yes, on Apple devices you can process photos, PDF scores, and JPG or TIF images.

On Android devices, save any JPG or TIF in your images folder and load the image into PlayScore as normal. To convert PDF scores on Android (for example from a free music site) use one of the PDF to JPG conversion apps available. This will create one JPG image for each page of the PDF which can then be processed by PlayScore just like any other image.  It is very important to convert from PDF to JPG at 300DPI.  If you do not set the converter to 300DPI the resulting JPG will not have enough detail for optical recognition.

Will PlayScore work for full score as well as piano music and songs?

Yes, but if its a photo the more staffs there are the harder it is to get a good picture. PlayScore works well using the device camera for music up to five or 6 staves. But in difficult cases you can always import a picture downloaded or captured using a scanner.

PlayScore 2 for Apple devices can play full PDF scores.

Scanning sheet music into Sibelius

With PlayScore you can scan sheet music straight into Sibelius.  Just scan the music using PlayScore on your phone and export the MusicXML into Sibelius.

With PlayScore 2 for iOS you can scan PDF scores directly into Sibelius.

Scanning sheet music into Finale

With PlayScore you can scan sheet music straight into Finale.  Just scan the music using PlayScore on your phone and export the MusicXML into Finale.

With PlayScore 2 for iOS you can scan PDF scores directly into Finale.

Can PlayScore create MIDI or MusicXML for multiple pages of Music?

Yes, PlayScore 2 for Apple devices can create multiple-page playing scores and can play PDF scores too.

On Android devices in the present version PlayScore works one page at a time.  Pages can only joined by exporting midi or musicXml from PlayScore into a score writing application such as Sibelius (see ‘MIDI and MusicXML files’)

There are free music notations editors such as MuseScore

Alternatively, some MIDI editors can join these files together so they can be played as one.

Can I change PlayScore’s playback instrument?

PlayScore uses a piano sound for playback. This can be changed in a MIDI or score editor if you export the PlayScore files. In the future there will be more audio options.

What is OMR?

Optical Music Recognition (OMR) is the application of optical character recognition to interpret sheet music or printed scores into editable or playable form. Once scanned digitally, the music can be saved in commonly used file formats including MIDI (for audio playback) and MusicXML (for sheet music page layout).

PlayScore is the Best OMR App available for IOS and Android.

Can I create MusicXML files from sheet music?

On Apple devices PlayScore 2 can create MusicXML files from multi-page and PDF scores.   On Android the Pro version of PlayScore will allow you to create MusicXML files from sheet music.

see ‘MIDI and MusicXML files’ on the How to use page.

Can I create MIDI files from sheet music?

On Apple devices PlayScore 2 can create MIDI files from multi-page and PDF scores.   On Android the Pro version of PlayScore will allow you to create MIDI files from sheet music.

NB we recommend MusicXML rather than MIDI whenever possible.

see ‘MIDI and MusicXML files’ on the How to use page.

Find Free Sheet Music Online

PlayScore 2 for Apple devices can play PDF scores directly and export them as MusicXML.  Just find them in Safari and chose ‘Send to PlayScore 2’.

For Android devices see ‘Can I play music image files?

To find free sheet music online try some of the sites below.

IMSLP – The International Music Score Library Project

8notes.com – Free Sheet Music & Lessons

Free-scores.com – Free music scores

The Mutopia Project – Open source Contemporary and Classical instrumental music.

MuseScore – Download and print free sheet music for piano, guitar, flute and more.

Subject to some exceptions, it is against the law to make copies of music that is in copyright.  This could apply to some uses of PlayScore Pro just as it would if you photocopied an in-copyright piece.  Music copyright law is complex and varies between jurisdictions.

Yes, PlayScore 2 for Apple devices can convert, play and export PDF scores directly.  Just find the score in Safari and choose ‘send to PlayScore 2’ from the export menu.  You can also import PDF scores directly from Dropbox, iCloud etc.

For Android devices only

PlayScore Pro for Android can play JPG images only.  To play a PDF document containing music, the PDF must be converted into pages in the JPG format.  These pages can be submitted one by one to PlayScore Pro.  The result will be individual playable pages, and MIDI and MusicXML files for each page.  These can be imported into virtually any music editor.

To convert the PDF document into JPG pages you will need a PDF to JPG converter.  These are readily available on all platforms.

NB It is vital to set the PDF to JPG converter to 300DPI before performing the conversion.  If the converter is not set to 300DPI the JPG will not contain the necessary detail and the final result will be poor.

PlayScore 2 for Apple devices can create playable scores directly from PDFs and with the camera.

Android only

The PlayScore app for Android handles one page at a time.  But with PlayScore Pro you can export MusicXML, which you can open in PC/Mac music editors such as MuseScore (free), Dorico, Finale and Sibelius.  You can then view and edit the music, and join pages together.

Joining pages in MuseScore (the process is similar in other applications)

  1. Copy  the pages you want to join to your PC or Mac
  2. Open MuseScore and drag&drop the pages one by one onto the MuseScore window.  Each page will appear in its own tab
  3. Go to the 2nd page and select the whole music (Ctrl-A).  Then Copy it to the clipboard (Ctrl-C)
  4. Now choose the 1st page tab, select the last bar and paste (Ctrl-V).  You now have the first two pages in continuous music.
  5. Do the same for the remaining pages.

You can now play, edit and save the piece as one.

PlayScore can find and play short pieces of music in a page of text.  The music has to be reasonably clear, but PlayScore can find them itself; you don’t need to mask out the text in any way.   To give PlayScore a good view of a particular music example you can snap that area rather than the whole page.  But photograph the whole example,  never clip the music.

NB It is not a good idea to cut out a little section of with a photo editor.  This doesn’t improve the resolution in any way and will never be better that using the whole image as it .  If you do this PlayScore may simply interpret it as a low resolution image.

Scanning sheet music into Dorico

With PlayScore you can scan sheet music straight into Dorico.  Just scan the music using PlayScore on your phone and export the MusicXML into Dorico.

With PlayScore 2 for iOS you can scan PDF scores directly into Dorico.