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?

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The App That Sight Reads Sheet Music.

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.

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 vital bit) the amazing PlayScore app. Put simply PlayScore is an accompanist in an app. You simply snap a photo of the music, wait five seconds and let PlayScore play it through while you play the solo on your instrument. That’s right. PlayScore actually reads the dots. 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 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 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 have thought of that: Accompaniment Mode. Just tap the piano icon and you can have PlayScore play just the keyboard part, leaving the solo to you.

PlayScore 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 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.