How To Use PlayScore 2

How To Use PlayScore 22024-03-31T20:22:10+00:00

PlayScore 2 –  Full Notation Music Recognition app.  Play all kinds of music direct from an image.

How to use PlayScore 2

Getting started2024-03-26T14:46:17+00:00

Welcome to PlayScore!  If you have just downloaded PlayScore and have not purchased a subscription yet, you can still use the free app to

  • Play pages of printed music using the camera, adjust tempo, create loops, and add count-in and metronome
  • Play any PlayScore document (.playscore file)

If you would like to create multi-page documents, play PDF scores or export MIDI or MusicXML you will need a subscription.  See Subscriptions below.

To play music using the camera see Start a new score using the camera.

To play a PlayScore document someone has sent you see Playing a PlayScore document.

Start a new score using the camera2024-03-26T14:47:35+00:00

Playback depends on a good photo.  Tap Help on the camera screen for swipeable help on taking the best photo.

Start your score on the Documents screen.  Tap the camera icon to take the first picture.   PlayScore 2 will then switch to the Play screen and start playing

  • Adjust the slider at the bottom to change tempo

  • Swipe left to recapture (hard left to go straight to the camera)

  • Twist with two fingers if the page is the wrong way up

  • Tap the camera Camera Icon to capture the next page (if you don’t have a subscription this just recaptures the first page)

  • Tap the Cogwheel Cogto change dynamic range, handle transposing instruments and more

  • Tap Done to go back to the Documents screen.  You can return any time by tapping the document thumbnail

NB if your score contains transposing instruments you will need to turn on the Auto transpose feature.  Tap the cogwheel and then tap Auto transposition.

Most music is portrait shaped, but PlayScore 2 works just as well in landscape if the music is wide.

After the first, keep tapping the camera to add pages.  PlayScore 2 always plays a new page at once (without repeats) so you can judge whether to recapture.  At the same time PlayScore 2 builds the whole piece in the background.

  • Scroll to any page and swipe left to delete or recapture

  • Tap the Rearrange Reorder button top right to move pages around.  Drag pages left or right to change their position, or swipe up to delete

  • Tap the Import symbol  import to add a saved photo or an image

  • Tap Done to go back to the Documents screen

Tip: the better the picture the better the result – See Camera help.

Playing a PlayScore document2024-03-26T14:15:20+00:00

Playing a PlayScore document

PlayScore documents are the thumbnails you see when you first open PlayScore.  If you tap on one you will see the music and you will be able to play it.  You can create your own documents and receive documents from others.

PlayScore can play any kind of music, but Choirs often use PlayScore documents to help the singers learn their vocal parts.  If you have been sent a PlayScore document it will usually come as an email attachment.  If so, and you have downloaded PlayScore, simply tap on the attachment and choose PlayScore from the app list.

If you have received the document in another way, via iCloud or Dropbox for example, simply tap the import symbol import in PlayScore and navigate to the document.

If you would like to export your own PlayScore documents, open the document you would like to export and choose the export symbol import.

PlayScore 2 screens2022-05-02T13:45:48+00:00

PlayScore 2 has two main screens.  The Documents screen is PlayScore home.  The app starts in the Documents screen.  When you tap a document or when you have taken a picture, PlayScore 2 shows the Play screen. The Play screen is where you play and interact with the musicThe screens are described separately below.

The Play screen2022-08-24T09:59:54+00:00

This is where you interact with your document.  You go to the Play screen from the Documents screen when you

  • Tap a document thumbnail

  • Tap the camera Camera Icon and take a photo

  • Import a PDF, an image or a saved PlayScore 2 document

On the Play screen:

  • To play tap the Play  button or tap on a measure.  You can double tap to start and stop play as in YouTube

  • To change tempo adjust the slider along the bottom

  • To create a loop tap and hold, then drag

  • To change staff volume, instrument and transposition, tap the Staves button lower left

  • To have PlayScore 2 count one or more measures before play (iOS only) tap the icon Count-Inat the bottom, 2nd from the right.

Tap Help to see what all the controls do.

Camera help – don’t miss!2022-05-02T13:32:37+00:00

Playback depends on the picture you take.  If it doesn’t play well the reason is usually the picture

  • Use paper music.  Screenshots or pictures of a screen give poor results
  • Use good light and stand the music up to avoid shadows
  • Keep the page flat and avoid curl at the edges.  The left edge is the most important
  • Take the picture ‘square’.  To do this make sure the camera lens is in the centre of the page.  Measure lines should be vertical
  • Let the focus settle before taking the picture

The picture should look clean and square on the page.  The sides and the measure lines should look vertical.  The top and the bottom should be the same width.

When you first use the camera, tap the ? button to see some swipeable help illustrations on the camera screen.

Things to avoid

PlayScore 2 does not read handwritten music or music printed to look handwritten.  These scores or parts of them have a felt-tipped-pen look with thick clefs and accidentals.  RealBooks are in this style.

Old-style hand-held hymnbooks do not scan well.  There are a large number of hymns available free online in a normal font.  We recommend using these instead.

Screens do not photograph well.  Sometimes this works, but PlayScore 2 is designed for paper music, scans in high resolution or  PDF scores.

Creating a Playable PDF2022-05-05T11:13:53+00:00

To access PDF scores you need a Professional subscription to PlayScore 2.  Please tap the Store button to see options for your country.

Any good quality high resolution PDF score should play well.  Most published PDF scores are of good quality.  There is also an enormous number of printed/engraved music available free online, on sites like IMSLP.  Not all of this music is well enough scanned, but most is.  It is well worth selecting the best out of those available.

It is easy to play a PDF score:

  • If you have a PDF in Safari or in an email, choose Export and then Copy to PlayScore 2.
  • To play a PDF from iCloud, go to the Documents screen and tap the import icon bottom left.  Then navigate to the PDF.

When the PDF has opened, PlayScore 2 shows a row of page thumbnails.  Tap Done to go ahead and play up to 11 pages; PlayScore 2 will just ignore title and contents pages.  If it’s a long document with many pages you can select a range.

  • Tap just above the page you want first
  • Tap just below the page you want last

NB if your score contains transposing instruments you will need to turn on the Auto transpose feature.  Tap the cogwheel and tap Auto transposition.

If PlayScore 2 has trouble playing your PDF it may be out of focus, poorly scanned or low resolution.  If it came from IMSLP there are often several alternatives.  If there are some mistakes, try adjusting PDF Process Quality on the control panel (tap the cogwheel Cog).  The best setting depends on the individual score and can be found with a little trial and error.

If it’s a complex score with many pages it may take a little time to build.  To make this happen in the background while you do something else just tap Documents (top left).  Back in the Documents screen, you will see the little status dot animated, showing that PlayScore 2 is working on your score.

Metronome and count-in (iOS and Windows)2024-04-09T08:32:54+00:00

Metronome

To hear on the metronome tap the Count-In icon lower left on the Play screen and turn on the Tick button.  The volume control underneath lets you adjust the tick volume relative to the music.  The sound the metronome makes depends on the current time signature, with strong beats emphasized over weak.

Count-in

If you are using PlayScore 2 as an accompanist, you may not want the app to start playing until you are ready.  This is the purpose of the Count-in feature.  Count-in will tap out one or more measures before the music starts, giving you time to pick up your instrument.

Tap the Count-in iconCount-In 2nd from left at the bottom.  Tap+/- to set the number of measures to be counted.  If the music has a pick-up bar or anacrusis, Count-in will also tap the beats prior to the first notated beat.

While one or more measures of Count-in are set they will be played before the music starts wherever you tap in a score.

Features turned off (until you turn them on)2024-04-14T17:07:46+00:00

Lyrics and text is turned off by default

PlayScore on iOS and Windows can recognise text such as

  • Lyrics and other text in the score (for MusicXML export)
  • Multi-measure rests
  • D.S, D.C, Coda, fine etc (iOS only)

For all these features PlayScore needs Optical Character Recognition (OCR), the ability to read words and numbers.  When you first install PlayScore OCR is turned off.  To turn OCR on, tap the cogwheel and enable Lyrics and text.

Lyrics and text is a subscription-only feature and not available yet on Android.

Auto-transpose is turned off by default

If your score contains a mixture of transposing instruments, or a mixture of transposing instruments and non-transposing you should turn on Auto-transpose in Settings Cog

Playable scores from saved photos or scanned images2024-04-09T08:34:38+00:00

To process a PDF score you need a Professional subscription to PlayScore 2.  Please tap the Store button to see options for your country.

You can create playable PlayScore 2 documents from saved photos and images just as you can for photos.

If the scanned images are in your photos, go to the camera screen as if you were taking a picture, but instead of tapping the capture button, tap Photos.  If your scanned images are elsewhere, eg iCloud then tap the import symbol import.

Please note: PlayScore 2 needs a high resolution JPG image.  Images smaller than about 1.5M may give poor results.

Scanned images should be at 300 DPI.

Play-My-Part2024-03-22T17:58:36+00:00

PlayScore 2 allows you to adjust the volume of each part in the music independently, and assign a different instrument to each staff.

Play-My-Part

Whatever part you sing or play, PlayScore 2 can play just that part on its own, or standing out from the others.

Music with one part per staff

  • From the Documents screen, open your score by tapping on the thumbnail

  • Tap the Staves button lower left

  • Set the volume for each staff as you want it. The staff controls are arranged top to bottom as in the music. If you want a part to stand out but still hear the others, consider giving it an instrument such as clarinet

Music with two parts per staff

Some multi-part vocal music is written with two parts to each staff. This is common in barbershop quartets but can also be true of hymns and in musical theatre.

PlayScore 2 can separate parts when written 2-to-a-staff, whether they are printed stem-up/stem-down, or 2-heads-to-a-stem. For example if the soprano and alto parts are printed on the same staff, PlayScore 2 gives you one volume control for soprano and another for alto.

  • From the Documents screen, open your score by tapping on the thumbnail

  • Tap the cogwheel Cog and set Staff voices to 2 (then close the control panel by tapping the cogwheel again).  Note that in PlayScore 2 for Android this option is called Split Staves

  • Tap the Staves button lower left

  • Set the volume for each part as you want it

  • Tap Done to return to the Play screen

Count-in (Apple and Windows) – If you need a little time to pick up your instrument, tap the iconCount-In 2nd from the left at the bottom and select a number of Count-in measures

Accompaniment and Music-minus-one2024-03-22T18:03:19+00:00

A Music-minus-one score is a PlayScore 2 Playable Score with one part (usually the solo part) muted. Music-minus-one lets you practice your solo part to an accompaniment.

  • Tap the Staves icon Stave bottom left

  • Locate the staff with your part and move the volume slider fully to the left

  • Tap Done

Instruments – you can enhance your score to use instruments (see Instruments and orchestration)

If your score has transposing instruments mixed with non-transposing instruments, don’t forget to turn on Auto-transpose in settingsCog(see Transposing instruments)

Count-in (Apple devices only) – If you need a little time to pick up your instrument, tap the icon Count-In2nd from the left at the bottom and select a number of Count-in measures

Sharing a PlayScore 2 Document2024-03-22T18:18:04+00:00

When you share a PlayScore 2 Playable Score Document you are sharing the whole PlayScore 2 experience.  Anyone who receives your document will be able to play it and follow the music just as you do.  This is free; they don’t need a subscription.  They will be able to start from any measure, change tempo, create loops and more.

  • From the Documents screen, tap Select and then one or more document thumbnails (for Android devices, long-tap the document)

  • Tap the share/export icon Upload Icon

  • Send the document, eg by email

When someone receives your document, as long as they have an iPhone, iPad or Android device they will be able to play it.  To do this they must first have downloaded PlayScore 2 from the App Store.  This is free; they don’t need a subscription.  If the document comes in an email they just tap on the attachment and choose ‘Send to PlayScore 2’

Video – Sharing a PlayScore document

Locking

Sometimes it is useful to prevent the recipient from accidentally changing the Document.  Say you are a choir leader and you want to send Play-my-part voice separations to your singers.  You might want to lock the Document so it can’t be changed unintentionally.  A locked document can be played but not altered. To lock a document just tap the padlock symbol top right before export. Note that if the recipient does not have a subscription they will receive the document locked but still playable by default.

You can share a PlayScore document with anyone who has an iPhone, iPad, Mac (M1 or above) or Windows computer.

Looping2022-04-23T11:43:48+00:00

PlayScore 2 will observe repeats written into your music, but sometimes it is useful to be able to repeat a short section.  This can help if you are learning a piece and want to play a passage over and over again, perhaps slowly at first and then getting up to speed.

To set a loop.  Tap and hold on the first measure in the loop.  When the green brackets appear, drag your finger to the final measure.  The music between the brackets will go on repeating until you tap the pause key.  To remove the loop just tap somewhere outside.  While looping you can still change the tempo, and stop/restart play.

Percussion and drums2024-04-09T08:46:30+00:00

PlayScore for iOS and Windows supports standard percussion/drum notation on a normal 5-line staff using the percussion (neutral) clef.

Clefs other than the percussion clef play in the piano sound by default but percussion staves always play as percussion.  PlayScore uses standard conventions for assigning individual percussion instruments to specific staff lines and spaces.  For example, notes on the second space from the top play as snare drum.

Volume

Percussion staff volume works slightly differently than other staves.  On the staves screen (button lower left) , the volume for all percussion staves is adjusted using a single control at the bottom of the screen.  Even if the music has several percussion parts there is only a single control for them all.  This limitation arises from the way percussion is handled by the MIDI standard.

Percussion notation will be reflected in an exported MusicXML file with standard instrument assignments.

Multi-measure rests2024-04-09T08:46:57+00:00

On iOS devices, PlayScore 2 can recognise multi-measure rests.  To enable this feature tap the cogwheel Cog and then Lyrics and Text.

D.S., D.C., Coda, fine2024-04-25T08:19:46+00:00

For this feature Lyrics and text in settings Cogmust be turned on

PlayScore (iOS only) supports D.C. (da capo), D.S. (dal segno), fine, segno(segno) and coda(coda) symbols.  These are especially common in songs, but appear in other music too.  If Lyrics and text is turned on in settings Cog, these directions will be observed during playback. And exported as MusicXML.

Sharing a MIDI file2024-04-09T08:49:28+00:00

NB We do not recommend MIDI files for practice tracks sent to others.  MIDI will work, but PlayScore provides a better way.  If you use this PlayScore feature recipients will see the music and follow along just as you do.  This feature is free for the recipient.   Please see Preparing practice scores for a choir or ensemble, or watch this video.

Creating MIDI files

In PlayScore you can export a MIDI file to play on any mobile or desktop device and sound as the music did in PlayScore 2.

Whatever adjustments you make to the music: voice volume, transpositions, instruments , tempo, repeats and so on are reflected in the exported MIDI file.  However, note that MIDI is not the same as a recording.  MIDI is a standard for controlling (electronic) musical instruments.  When a MIDI file is played on another device it plays using the instrument sounds on that device.  This means that the sound of the instruments will probably be somewhat different.

To share a MIDI file, open the document and from the Play screen, tap the export icon  and choose ‘Save as MIDI’.

MIDI as music notation

We don’t recommend that you use MIDI to export music to a score editor such as MuseScore, Finale, Sibelius, Noteflight or Dorico.  Use MusicXML instead.  MusicXML contains much more of the printed music than MIDI does.  Only through MusicXML export will you get the full richness of the original notation.

Preparing practice scores for a choir or ensemble2024-04-09T08:50:33+00:00

PlayScore 2 is designed to allow the musical director of a choir or ensemble to create practice resources for singers and players.  Play-My-Part and Music-minus-one arrangements can be shared with others free.  The director needs a subscription to make the practice scores, but the singers/players can play and interact with them free.

  • Once you have scanned the music, save it as a PlayScore document to iCloud, Google drive or Dropbox and import it back into PlayScore 2 once for each part.  Add part names to the title as you go.  That gives you one document for each voice

  • Adjust part volumes for each voice-document as appropriate (see Play-My-Part)

  • Lock each document (tap lock symbol) and email them to the musicians:  Tap Select, and then tap the document (long-tap on Android devices).  Then tap the export icon and choose ‘Save/Share Document’.  When you see the sharing screen select email and send

Your ensemble members should first download PlayScore 2 on their iOS, Android  or Windows device.  They won’t have to pay.  When they get your email they tap on the attachment and choose ‘Copy to PlayScore 2’.  They will then be able to interact with the music just as you did.

Organising your Playable Score Documents2024-04-09T08:52:01+00:00

The PlayScore 2 Documents screen shows all your playable scores as thumbnails of the music, displayed sorted and searchable by Title and Composer.

To make it easier to search and sort, use both the Title and Composer fields.  You can set these from the Play screen.  To see the Composer field, pull down the slider under the Title, or tap the cogwheel Cog.

In the Documents screen you can keep your documents sorted by Title, by Composer or by recency.  To display only matching documents, type in the search box.

PlayScore 2 does not sync the documents screen between devices, but you can archive to bulk to storage (eg iCloud).  From the Documents screen tap Select.  Now tap all the documents you want to copy and tap the export icon.  This action does not remove the documents from the Documents screen.  Documents can be deleted separately by selecting and tapping the trash Bin Icon.

Locking documents2024-04-09T09:06:52+00:00

The padlock Lock Icon at the top right of the Play screen shows the locked status of the document.  A locked document cannot be altered.  When you are happy with a document, lock it to prevent accidental changes.

Deleting documents2023-05-02T17:23:41+00:00

This works like Photos.  On iOS devices tap Select and tap the document(s) to be deleted.  Then tap the bin Bin Icon.  On Android, long-tap the document icon and then DELETE upper right.

You can delete several documents by deleting multiple documents.

The Control Panel on Android devices2024-04-09T09:10:52+00:00

The control panel contains options and settings applying to a score.   At the top of the Play screen, tap the cogwheel Cogwheel or pull down the horizontal bar just below the song title.

Title – you can type a title for your song here.  If it is a PDF, the name of the PDF will appear here by default

Composer – if you add a name here you will be able to search by composer in the Documents screen

Status – this tells you the processing status of your score.  If it indicates that there is a problem, try tapping the rescan button

Rescan – to the right of the Status is a circular ‘recycle’ icon.  This rotates to show when scanning is in progress.  You can rescan the music at any time by tapping this icon

Dynamic range – this tells PlayScore 2 how much to vary the volume according to markings like f, p, crescendos, diminuendos, accents etc.  If you slide it to the right you will hear the full dynamic range in the music.  All the way to the left causes the music to be played without dynamics

PDF process quality (PDF scores only) this allows you to alter how the music is processed.  In general this is a quality/speed tradeoff, but some scores translate better at a lower or a higher setting and it is worth trying different settings for best results.  For some poor quality scores it is possible to find a ‘sweet spot’ where the music sounds best

Play repeats – with this setting on, PlayScore 2 plays any repeats in the music.  Note that this does not affect MusicXML export which always reflects any repeats

Auto transposition – turn this on to set transpositions appropriately for transposing instruments in mixed-instrument scores.  For example, if your piece is for clarinet and piano, and the clarinet is in Bb say, auto-transposition will make the clarinet part play at the pitch a clarinet would have done.  See Transposing instruments and transposition for more information

Staff voices – turn this on if you want to separate parts printed two to a staff.  It allows you to set the volume for upstem and downstem parts separately

Swing – turn this on if you would like to hear the music in swing style.

When swing is enabled , even quavers (8th notes) are (approximately) tripletised as heard in swing music.  The first quaver becomes the length of two triplet quavers and the second one.

This video shows the use of the Swing feature with French baroque music in inégales style.

Error correction – this is an auto-correction feature that can spot mistakes in a score or or recognition errors.  In most music it works well, but in some music where there are false relations (notes played together on the same degree of the scale but with a different accidentals) Error correction may try to ‘correct’ these.  If this happens, turn the setting off.

The Control Panel on Apple devices2024-04-09T09:10:42+00:00

The control panel contains options and settings applying to a score.   At the top of the Play screen, tap the cogwheel Cogwheel or pull down the horizontal bar just below the song title.

Title – you can type a title for your song here.  If it is a PDF, the name of the PDF will appear here by default

Composer – if you add a name here you will be able to search by composer in the Documents screen

Status – this tells you the processing status of your score.  If it indicates that there is a problem, try tapping the rescan button

Rescan – to the right of the Status is a circular ‘recycle’ icon.  This rotates to show when scanning is in progress.  You can rescan the music at any time by tapping this icon

Dynamic range – this tells PlayScore 2 how much to vary the volume according to markings like f, p, crescendos, diminuendos, accents etc.  If you slide it to the right you will hear the full dynamic range in the music.  All the way to the left causes the music to be played without dynamics

Play repeats – this tells PlayScore 2 to observe repeat markings in the music.  NB when you capture a page of music with the camera, PlayScore 2 plays the page through once so you can check the photo.  This initial play-through plays without repeats.  If the photo wasn’t perfect you can swipe right to recapture.

Note that this does not affect MusicXML export which always reflects any repeats

Auto transposition – turn this on to set transpositions appropriately for transposing instruments in mixed-instrument scores.  For example, if your piece is for clarinet and piano, and the clarinet is in Bb say, auto-transposition will make the clarinet part play at the pitch a clarinet would have done.  See Transposing instruments and transposition for more information

Split Staves – turn this on if you want to separate parts printed two to a staff.  It allows you to set the volume for upstem and downstem parts separately

Swing – turn this on if you would like to hear the music in swing style.

When swing is enabled , even quavers (8th notes) are (approximately) tripletised as heard in swing music.  The first quaver becomes the length of two triplet quavers and the second one.

This video shows the use of the Swing feature with French baroque music in inégales style.

Lyrics and text – this option causes PlayScore 2 to recognise lyrics, directions and text generally, and build them into exported MusicXML files.  Where possible guitar chords are also recognised.

Troubleshooting (Advanced options)

Error correction – this is an auto-correction feature that can spot mistakes in a score or or recognition errors.  In most music it works well, but in some music where there are false relations (notes played together on the same degree of the scale but with a different accidentals) Error correction may try to ‘correct’ these.  If this happens, turn the setting off.

Sampling (PDF scores only) this allows you to alter how the music is processed.  Essentially this setting determines how densely the image is sampled.  Some scores translate better at a lower or a higher setting and it is worth trying different settings for best results.  For poor quality scores it is sometimes possible to find a ‘sweet spot’ where the music sounds best.  For dense scores containing many staves results may be better at the + end of the scale.

Image – this control can be used to compensate when an image or parts of it are very faint, or very black.  The dark end of the scale(left) makes the image darker, the right lighter.

PlayScore 2 automatically adjusts to compensate for a wide range of image exposure, even when there are shadows.  But in extreme cases this control can be helpful.

faint scores – scores produced by certain early music editors can have staff lines that are very faint compared to other objects.  Other types of score have stems and lines so thin that render faint in the PDF.  For faint scores generally try moving the slider left towards the dark end.

dark scores – where a score has an over-exposed look with thick lines and symbols merging into one another, try moving the slider to the right.

Instruments and orchestration2023-04-10T19:05:25+00:00

In PlayScore 2 you can set the instrument for each staff independently.  Try out new orchestrations and see how your music sounds with different combinations of instruments.

In PlayScore 2, instrument selection affects the sound only.  If you choose the horn for example you will hear the notes on that staff as a horn.  If a real horn player were to read the same notes the music would come out transposed – because the horn is a transposing instrument.   But in PlayScore 2, instrument selection affects sound only.  PlayScore 2 also has extensive facilities for accommodating transposing instruments which is discussed below.

  • From the Play screen tap the Staves icon lower left

  • In the section for each staff, pick an instrument

  • Tap Done

You might find you have to adjust the volume sliders for different combinations of instruments to make the sounds blend, or to make a solo part stand out.

Transposing instruments and transposition2023-04-10T19:04:21+00:00

You might need to use PlayScore’s transposition for several reasons:

  • A score contains transposing instruments with differing key signatures
  • You want to make the music sound higher or lower
  • You want to change the written key of your music

These situations are all different:

The score has transposing instruments (with different key signatures)

Normally PlayScore 2 assumes that all staves have the same key signature.  This assumption helps PlayScore 2 read poor quality scores, but it doesn’t work when there are transposing instruments.  To handle transposing instruments correctly.

  • From the Play screen tap the cogwheel Cog

  • In the control panel, set the Auto transposition switch to on

  • Also (optionally) in the control panel turn on Lyrics and text *

PlayScore 2 will reprocess the music.

* Lyrics and text is only necessary when PlayScore needs to read text to the left of the staff naming the instrument and possibly its key, see below.

Solo parts

If you are using PlayScore to hear your part (single-staff music showing just your part), then you should set the transposition directly.  Go to the Staff settings screen Stave and set a transposition using the +/- controls.  For example if you play the B flat clarinet, set the transposition to -2.

Making music sound higher or lower

Suppose you want to make the music play in a different key:

  • To play a piano accompaniment intended for the violin work with a transposing instrument such as the clarinet

  • So that it will suit your voice better

  • From the Play screen tap the Staves button Stave Iconlower left

  • Use the Transpose controls to move ALL the staffs up or down by the same amount

  • Tap Done

As an example, suppose you have a song with piano accompaniment but you want PlayScore 2 to accompany you on your Bb clarinet.  Because every note on the Bb clarinet sounds a tone lower than written, you should transpose the music down by two semitones.  Then the piano, played by PlayScore 2 will accompany your clarinet in the same key.  Note that the music still looks the same.  PlayScore 2 just plays a tone lower to match your Bb clarinet. (in this example you would also need to mute the voice part so the PlayScore 2 plays just the accompaniment)

Changing the written key

This is different from the example above.  In this case the aim is to transpose the notation for the music, for a human to play.  The best way to do this is to export the music as it stands as MusicXML, and use SeeScore or a notation editor like MuseScore, Dorico or Finale to transpose the music.  One advantage of using SeeScore is that you can do everything on your mobile device.

  • Use PlayScore 2 to scan the music or import a PDF

  • From the Play screen tap the share icon and choose ‘Save as MusicXML’

  • Open the MusicXML file in SeeScore or your favourite notation editor

  • Use the notation program’s transposition function to change the key as desired

Setting transpositions from the printed instrument names

To do this turn on Lyrics and text under the cogwheel Cogwheel as described above.

Most scores have the names of the instruments, and any transposition written to the left of their staves.  PlayScore can use this information to

  • Read instrument keys such as Horns in F

  • Find instruments that transpose at the octave such as guitar, double bass and piccolo

  • Find instruments like percussion and horns that don’t normally take a key signature

PlayScore also uses instrument names to help match up staves between systems written in compact format (where instruments sometimes drop out for a while)

Transposing brass

In traditional classical scores and some others, certain instruments are written without a key signature.  Horns for example prefer music where key accidentals are written as they arise, rather than in a key signature.  To set the correct transposition for these instruments (e.g. horns and trumpets), PlayScore must read the text to the left of the staff giving the instrument’s key, for example Horns in F.

To do this turn on Lyrics and text under the cogwheel Cogas described above.

Guitar and other instruments that transpose at the octave

Some instruments (eg piccolo) transpose at the octave.  A piccolo, seeing a notated middle C plays the C one octave above.  In the case of the guitar the transposition is the other way.  A written middle C played on a guitar sounds one octave lower.

So that PlayScore can observe these octave transpositions be sure to turn on Lyrics and text under the cogwheel.  Your score will then play and export correctly.

If your music does not have the names of the instruments printed, or you don’t turn on Lyrics and text, you can set octave transpositions manually from the Staves screen.  In this case, if you export the score to a music editor such as MuseScore, Dorico or Finale you will also need to set the transpositions in the music editor.

With Lyrics and text turned on, everything is automatic.

NB The instrument dropdowns on the Staves screen let you set the instrument used as the sound for each staff.  These are simply for setting the sound used.  They do not imply any transposition.  This lets you try out different sounds without changing the the pitch.

Masking2024-04-09T09:11:40+00:00

Masking allows you to cover up portions of a page and make them invisible to PlayScore 2.  For example, if a song in a songbook ends half way down the page and you don’t want the beginning of the next song to play you can mask it off.

Another use for masking is to hide any part of a page that is preventing correct recognition.  For example, some vocal scores begin with an indication of the voice part ranges.  If this causes a playback problem just mask it off.

  • Tap the masking icon Crop Icon on the left of the group of icons top right of the Play screen

  • Drag the sliding upper and lower borders to mask off parts of the page

  • Tap the plus (+) button to create rectangular masks which can be sized and moved over any part of the page

Part extraction2024-02-03T12:30:31+00:00

PlayScore 2 can separate parts in a score and play them at independently adjustable volumes, but it cannot generate separate notation for those parts that you can print or export. However our companion product SeeScore 2 can do this using the MusicXML exported from PlayScore 2. If you have a score but no parts, PlayScore 2 and SeeScore working together can generate them. SeeScore is an iPad ‘sheet music reader’ app, but because it understands MusicXML it combines some of the features of a notation editor:

  • Create clean notation from your scan
  • Play the music
  • Act as an electronic music stand, supporting Airturn devices to turn pages
  • Transpose the notation and the playback into any key
  • Generate parts from a score (screen only)

If you have the SeeScore app you will see Copy to SeeScore as an option when you share a MusicXML file. SeeScore can create a fresh score from your scanned music as well as parts, and you can use Airturn devices to turn the pages. Find SeeScore in the App Store.

Using a desktop scanner2024-04-14T12:41:55+00:00

Sometimes the best results are obtained by scanning music using a hardware document scanner.  A scanner is usually better than the best camera, and it can be easier to get a good square image with even lighting.

You can create a multi-page PlayScore 2 document from scanned pages just as you can with other images and photos.  If the scanned images are in your photos, go to the camera screen as if you were taking a picture, but instead of tapping the capture button, tap Photos instead.  If your scanned images are elsewhere, eg iCloud then tap the import symbol.

When scanning with a desktop scanner always use 300DPI for music.  Lower than 300 can lose detail, but higher will not improve results, just take longer.

Results are usually best with color or greyscale images.  Use a medium brightness setting and avoid results that are very black of very light.  Monochrome images will also work.

NB never use a scanner app with PlayScore 2.  Images from scanner apps may look good but in fact vital information from the music is lost.  PlayScore 2 has its own image processing internally and this is specifically designed for music.

Reprocessing scores after an app update2024-04-14T17:18:04+00:00

PlayScore is regularly updated, and most updates include improvements to the app’s Optical Recognition engine.

When PlayScore updates itself, it does not normally reprocess your existing scores.  That means you will only see improvements in documents you create after the update, not in those created before.

Mobile:
You can easily reprocess an existing document.  Just open the document and tap the recycle symbol Recycle.  After that, playback will reflect the latest updates.

Troubleshooting2024-04-14T12:42:46+00:00

Playback or export gives poor results

In many cases the two Control Panel image adjustments can greatly improve poor results.  These are easy to try.  See Adjustments for poor images.

If results are poor, the problem us usually something to do with the image.

  • For music captured with the camera see Camera help above
  • Screenshots and especially direct photos of another screen will give poor results.  Use the original paper music or of PDF score
  • Some PDF scores are too low resolution or poor quality for optical recognition.  Most music can be obtained in full resolution.  This includes virtually all commercially published music.  See Creating a Playable PDF above
  • JPG images must be high resolution.  If a JPG is less than 1.5 Megabytes it is probably low resolution
  • Scans should be made at 300DPI.  Scans below 300DPI may lack sufficient detail.  We don’t recommend scanning at a higher DPI than 300.

Poor recognition

This can be due to poor image quality, or it could be that you have one of the unsupported types of score.  These are

handwritten music, or music printed in a novelty font designed to look handwritten.  Some jazz fonts fall into this category, for example Real Books.

some small or old fashioned hymn books – old hymn books are sometimes printed in a way not seen in other music.  These can scan poorly.

Processing fails

If there was a problem scanning a score, the score icon on the Documents screen will show an exclamation mark.  Tap the document to go to the Play screen and see what’s wrong.   Usually there will be a bubble indicating the problem.  Problems are normally on a specific page.  You can tell which page it is by looking for one showing an exclamation mark.  If there is no exclamation mark, you can narrow down the problem page by selecting to process small groups of pages in turn.  To do this tap the icon upper left – See Creating a playable PDF

In case of scanning problems the Status (tap the cogwheel) will show more information.

If the problem is in a photographed score, the first thing to try is to recapture the page and rescan (tap the refresh symbol).  If this doesn’t work, or the score is a PDF or from scanned images, try eliminating the page and rescan.  Alternatively a different setting for the PDF Processing slider may correct the problem.  Once localised to a particular page you can use masking to narrow the problem down even further to the measure, allowing the page to play.

You can always rescan at any time by tapping the rescan icon in the Control panel.

Ask us

We are very good at solving PlayScore 2 problems.  Most of the time we fix the problem.

Please feel free to send us any score that doesn’t give good results (support@organumconsulting.com).  We can often fix the problem or offer help.

Commercial use of MIDI and MusicXML files2022-08-10T10:46:48+00:00

The MIDI and MusicXML files generated by PlayScore 2 are for noncommercial use only.  If you would like to make commercial use of PlayScore 2 files please contact us at support@organumconsulting.com.

SeeScore 22024-04-14T12:43:40+00:00

SeeScore 2 is the perfect companion to PlayScore 2, and from the same makers.  SeeScore is an iPhone/iPad ‘sheet music reader’ app, but because it understands MusicXML it combines some of the features of a notation editor:

  • Create clean notation from your scan
  • Play the music
  • Act as an electronic music stand, supporting Airturn devices to turn pages
  • Transpose the notation and the playback into any key
  • Generate parts from a score

If you have the SeeScore app you will see Copy to SeeScore as an option when you share a MusicXML file.  SeeScore can create a fresh score from your scanned music; it can even create parts, and you can use Airturn devices to turn the pages.  Find SeeScore in the App Store.

For developers2023-04-10T18:53:35+00:00

If you would like to license Optical Music Recognition engine at the heart of PlayScore 2 please see the Developers section of this site.

IMSLP scores2022-08-10T11:05:34+00:00

The popular IMSLP site https://imslp.org offers a huge repository of public domain scores for free download.  If you are looking for 18th, 19th or 20th century out of copyright music, try IMSLP.

Many of IMSLP’s scores will play well in PlayScore 2, and in many cases, there are several alternatives to choose from.  If so, try them and find the one that plays best.

Specification2024-04-14T12:04:40+00:00

PlayScore 2 recognises the following.  It observes all symbols when playing back the score and when exporting to MIDI MusicXML.  PlayScore 2 for Apple devices also recognises lyrics, text and (normally) guitar chords.  PlayScore 2 for Android does not currently support text other than dynamics and fingering.

  • Bars, notes, rests, accidentals including double accidentals, cancelling accidentals and cautionary accidentals
  • Tuplets: triplets, duplets, quintuplets, septuplets etc (both marked and implied)
  • Staff bracketing: grand staff braces, grouped staff brackets etc
  • Measures: bar lines, double bar lines, repeats, 1st and 2nd ending, bars spanning systems and pages
  • Anacruses, compliment anacruses
  • Dynamics: f, ff, fff, fz, fp, mf, p, pp etc
  • Hairpins (crescendos and diminuendos)
  • Articulation (>, ^, . –, portato etc)
  • Ornaments trills, turns, mordents, shakes, spread chords etc
  • Tremolo: note strikethrough, alternating, beamed alternating white notes etc
  • Special symbols: fermata, repeat-bar, Ottava 8ve, bar-repeat etc
  • Fingering for piano, violin etc
  • Slurs and ties
  • Clefs (system and inline): treble, bass, tenor, alto, soprano etc including octave shift variants
  • Key changes: system, inline, cautionary
  • Time signatures: system, inline, cautionary and implied
  • Lyrics, text and chord names (Apple devices only).  NB to enable text recognition tap the cogwheel
Contacting us2024-03-26T14:38:38+00:00

We love to hear from PlayScore 2 users.  And we are very good at troubleshooting problems.  So if you have an issue, or you just want to ask something please send us an email to support@organumconsulting.com  We usually reply the same day.

If it’s about a particular piece, please attach the PlayScore 2 Document.  Go to the Documents screen and

iOS: tap Select, then tap your document

Android: long-tap the document

Now the export icon Export Icon.  The document contains PDF, photos and settings.

PlayScore 2 and PlayScore 2 documents do not collect any personal data.  The only way we know about you is if you send us an email.

Excluded score types2024-04-14T11:54:00+00:00

PlayScore understands most types of score published within the last 150 years, and we are constantly widening PlayScore’s coverage. Types currently not supported are:

  • Handwritten music and printed music designed to look handwritten,  This includes jazz fonts such as those found in Real Books
  • Shape notes, color notes and other novelty music formats

  • Some types of hymnal.  Hymns are sometimes found in special styles not otherwise found in music, and some publications may not scan well. Fortunately a wide range of hymns in modern editions are readily available from online sources, many of them free.  See Finding hymn sheet music below
Finding free sheet music2024-05-12T10:06:56+00:00

A wide range of music no longer in copyright is available for free download online.  Most of this is available as PDF scores, and is easy to open and play in PlayScore.  Music composed recently and therefore subject to copyright is not generally available free.

A huge range of out-of-copyright chamber, orchestral and choral music can be found at

IMSLP: Free Sheet Music PDF Download

Barbershop music can be found at

Barbershop Harmony Society

Hymns are available at many sites, including these

Free Sacred Sheet Music | 6000+ Free Arrangements

Center for Church Music – Songs and Hymns

The Open Hymnal Project – Freely Distributable Christian Hymnody for Today’s World

Subscriptions

Subscriptions on iOS, Android and Windows2024-02-27T18:53:43+00:00

PlayScore subscriptions are sold separately by Google, Apple and Microsoft.  Each applies to that platform only as these companies do not recognise each others’ subscriptions.

However, any PlayScore document you create with a subscription can be played on any device using the free PlayScore download, without a subscription.  You won’t be able to create new documents without a subscription, but you will be able to play the music, adjust tempo, create loops and use the count-in/metronome (iOS and Windows only).

For example you can have a subscription on your phone or tablet where you create new documents.  Then you can email those documents to your Windows computer where you can play the music taking advantage of better audio and a bigger screen.

Managing or cancelling your subscription2023-03-12T16:32:39+00:00

Managing your subscription

PlayScore is sold by

  • iPhones and iPads – Apple App Store

  • Android devices – Google Play Store

  • Windows PCs – The Microsoft Store

To manage or cancel a subscription, go to the store for your platform.  You can reach the correct store through the Store button in the PlayScore app. Alternatively, you can go straight to the store from the AppStore or Google Play apps on your device.  On Windows, you can reach your account through the Start button.

Microsoft account from the Start button

Click the Start button.  You should then see your profile picture upper right.  Click there and then ‘Manage account’.  On the page that follows. click ‘Microsoft account’.

Refunds

  • Apple iOS – Type ‘Apple report a problem’ into your browser to find the page for your location.  You can apply for a refund there.

  • Google Play – For a purchase in the last week please email support@organumconsulting.com.

  • Windows – Microsoft does not offer refunds on Windows subscriptions.  However, if you cancel before the end of your free trial you won’t be charged.

Without a subscription you can2023-04-10T18:50:01+00:00

Without a subscription you can:

  • Play and interact with any PlayScore playable Score.
  • Play pages of music in 1 or 2 staves per system from a photo.
  • Create and share single page playable documents.
PlayScore 2 Productivity subscription2023-04-10T18:52:44+00:00

With a PlayScore 2 Productivity subscription you can:

  • Create and play multi-staff, multi-page scores captured with the camera or imported as images
  • Export your documents for anyone to play and interact with using our free player
PlayScore 2 Professional subscription2023-04-10T18:47:59+00:00

With a PlayScore 2 Professional subscription you can:

  • Create Playable Score documents from PDF scores that anyone can play (using the free player)
  • Export any score as MIDI and MusicXML containing full notation
  • Productivity and Professional versions are available as 1-month or 12-month auto-renewing subscriptions
Apple iTunes Account2023-04-10T18:53:30+00:00

Payments will be charged to your iTunes Account at confirmation of purchase.

The subscription automatically renews unless auto-renew is turned off at least 24-hours before the end of the current period.

Your account will be charged for renewal within 24-hours prior to the end of the current period, and show the cost of the renewal.

You can manage your subscriptions and turn off auto-renewal by going to your Account Settings on-line after purchase.

To cancel a subscription tap the store button in PlayScore 2 and choose ‘Manage subscriptions’.

  • Payments will be charged to your iTunes Account at confirmation of purchase.
  • The subscription automatically renews unless auto-renew is turned off at least 24-hours before the end of the current period.
  • Your account will be charged for renewal within 24-hours prior to the end of the current period, and show the cost of the renewal.
  • You can manage your subscriptions and turn off auto-renewal by going to your Account Settings on-line after purchase.
  • To cancel a subscription tap the store button in PlayScore 2 and choose ‘Manage subscriptions’.

PlayScore 2 is created in partnership by Organum Ltd and Dolphin Computing.

The Optical Music Recognition library ReadScoreLib at the heart of PlayScore 2 is created by Anthony Wilkes at Organum Ltd.  For details of the ReadScoreLib SDK and licensing, see our Developer page.

Important: Capturing copyrighted music without the copyright holder’s permission is illegal.

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