ThinkMusicGroup ( Notation App Coming Soon

This video from the ThinkMusicGroup has been sent to a number of music education technology bloggers on Twitter–a good way to spread the news about an upcoming app.

The app shows a number of features:

at 0:10 Real time notation (play on the virtual piano keyboard)

at 0:25 Real time notation via an external MIDI keyboard

at 0:31 Zooming into the app, and drawing music by hand

at 0:34 Zooming out and the app recognizes the handwritten music, and converts it to traditional music notation

at 0:40 Handwriting guitar chords into the app

at 0:44 The guitar chords are interpreted and converted into the app in typed notation

at 0:48 Expressions are written by hand into the app

at 0:50 The handwritten expressions are converted into tradition music notation

at 0:51 The app is being used in the studio (I’m not sure for what specific purpose)

at 0:53 A person is handwriting parts for a string quartet

at 0:57 The music is converted to traditional music notation

at 1:05 A “wheel” that corrects the pitch of a note (flat, sharp, natural, etc.) is demonstrated

at 1:07 The app appears to be recording what the piano player is playing.  Upon further review, it is just another example of handwritten music being converted to traditional music notation

So, in summary: this app, coming soon, appears to allow you to either play or hand-write notation, and convert that playing or handwriting into traditional music notation.

Although several apps either have–or will have–real time notation, the idea of handwriting music is an entirely new way to enter music into a notation program.  If it works, it will revolutionize how we teach music–even at the college level.  Here’s a way for students to still learn how to write music by hand (as all the Baroque, Classical, and Romantic masters did) yet instantly convert that music to computerized notation.

Some of the comments on the YouTube page are skeptical of the video, accusing the company of simply substituting a page printed by Sibelius.  Thomas Bonte, one of the developers of MuseScore, has pointed out  (on Twitter) that the video originated on, and thus may not even be a real app yet.  To be fair, he also expressed high hopes for the app, too.  I’m hoping that is not the case–particularly when the company is indicating that it will ship the product soon (that would be a really bad public relations move).  I have other concerns, such as: can the music be exported to MusicXML (this is REALLY important to me), how does it sound in playback mode, how much the app will cost, if the app will also convert lyrics in addition to guitar chords, and of course, if the app actually does what the video says it does.  I mentioned this on Twitter last night, and the company responded.  Here’s the exchange:

All of my music education technology colleagues seem to be as interested about and intrigued by this app as I am…I look forward to more news  about it in the next few weeks.

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