Music Scanning and Recognition on the iPad

In January 2013, Musitek released its latest version of its music scanning/recognition software, Smart Score Pro X2.  I own SmartScore Pro X, and downloaded the demo.  I had also purchased Neuratron’s PhotoScore Ultimate, and on the pieces I used for comparison, PhotoScore Ultimate did a better job of scanning than SmartScore Pro X2, so I chose not to buy the upgrade ($99).

I did notice, at the time, that Musitek was promising “mobile devices” in 2013 (see below):

The header from Musitek (captured 10/5/2013)

A techinmusiced reader sent me a post from Musitek that was on Facebook today:

From the Musitek Facebook page (captured 10/5/2013)

From the Musitek Facebook page (captured 10/5/2013)

The text from the Facebook post indicates that this was using Musitek’s NoteReader App on Android, and apparently you still need to pull the data captured from the app into SmartScore itself to edit the data (no indication if NoteReader can export as a MusicXML file to another program instead).  I hope the plan isn’t to force the user back to the computer–that defeats the purpose.

At the same time, Neuratron has just released a music handwriting recognition app, NotateMe (app link with referral), which also promises to add PhotoScore capability to the app in the near future.

NotateMe Coming Soon (captured 10/45/2013)

NotateMe Coming Soon (captured 10/45/2013)

It is about time for music scanning companies to take advantage of mobile devices for their software, particularly as a camera (of high quality) is attached to the device and the guessing game of scanner quality will no longer be an issue.  There is a time coming–in the VERY near future–where a desktop computer will no longer be needed to notate music.  For me, this includes the tasks of writing music by hand (right on the tablet), playing music into the app (with an attached instrument), or scanning a paper copy of music (taking pictures of each page, converting to music notation).  This is going to be even more true with coming 64-bit processors in all our mobile devices.

Now, what I find interesting is that both Musitek and Neuratron have adopted an Android-first process (although the iOS version of NotateMe came out within weeks of the Android version).  Perhaps that is because Android programming is more similar to desktop programming than iOS; or perhaps the iOS approval process is longer.  Android apps in music education, to this point, have not been very abundant, whereas the iOS app selection for music education apps is overwhelming.

I am not sure how the world will accept these “expensive” apps.  For example, Notion for the iPad (app link with referral)  is currently $16.   NotateMe (app link with referral) is $13 (which is 50% off).  Anyone who has bought a “full” version of software–notation, music recognition, etc.–will recognize the “deal” these apps represent.  But the marketplace is full of free and ad-supported apps that reach a much wider audience (e.g. how many more people would download Temple Run versus NotateMe?).

At any rate–interesting times lie ahead where your tablet really can be a computer replacement.

Now–if we can only get Apple to let us save audio to the music library!

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