Today I’m reviewing a new-to-me app, PlayScore 2: this is a sheet music scanner with features that can benefit students and teachers! I’m excited to start using this new app in my studio for both my own uses, and as a tool for students.
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Table of Contents
PlayScore 2 App Overview
PlayScore 2 advertises itself as a “music notation scanner”, which, after trying it, is a great description. The app isn’t a perfect typical scanner, but it does understand and can play scanned sheet music.
With PlayScore 2, you can scan and import music* (*with a paid subscription), and listen back to it in midi form. The app can read music for any instrument, piano music, chamber music, and SATB scores.
PlayScore 2 advertises itself as a music teaching app and music accompaniment app, which is really brilliant! Scanning your music and hearing what it (basically) sounds like, is incredibly helpful for students, and it’s also a helpful way to learn how to sight read. If you’re learning a piece with accompaniment and can’t find a backing track online to practice with, you can scan your music and hear the accompaniment played back in midi form!
I first tried PlayScore 2 on my iPad, then on my iPhone. While my 2020 iPad Pro boasts a fairly good camera, I can never capture a great scan with it. I almost always take scans with TurboScan on my iPhone 13 Pro.
Within PlayScore 2, you can snap a picture of music, and it even pops up a guide to get a good scan with your camera.
There aren’t many options within the camera, however. I couldn’t find a way to turn on the flash, which I almost always use when scanning. It’s up to you to find good lighting and an angle without shadows.
Once you take your scan, you can crop the top and bottom, reorder pages, and add a mask to the scan.
Using Your Scan
There are a few different things you can do with your scan once it’s loaded in the app.
Once your music is scanned, you can immediately listen to a midi rendition. Either tap the play button or the beginning of the music to listen. A vertical red bar shows exactly where the midi is playing in the sheet music, which I think will be particularly helpful for students learning how to read!
The long toggle bar under the scan adjusts the tempo, and below that, tapping on the circle of sheet music will give midi settings. Here you can change the instrument, volume, and transposition.
Next to the circle of sheet music is a little timer icon. Tapping on that brings up the metronome settings. You can turn it on or off, change the volume, and add count-in bars if needed.
Up on the top right of the screen, you’ll see a settings wheel. Tapping on that brings up more options for playback, like dynamic range and repeat options.
After you’ve added the scan to the app, you can crop it again and reorder the pages if needed.
Sharing Your Scan
With a professional subscription, you can share as a midi file, Music XML, or PDF.
Without a subscription, you can only share as a PDF.
PlayScore 2 offers two subscription plans, in monthly and yearly options. The first plan is “Productivity.” This is the cheaper option, and just includes capturing and playing multiple staves and pages.
The second, more expensive plan is “Professional.” This includes multiple pages, importing PDF scores, and exporting as Music XML files. I was gifted a free professional plan for this review.
Who should use this app?
I think PlayScore 2 is a great app for both students and teachers. Students can use it as a learning tool to listen to the music they’re learning, and as a sheet music reading aid.
I’m excited to use this app myself, as I often need to transpose violin music for viola students. I almost always have a pdf of the music, but I can’t easily edit it. Instead, I need to write out the entire thing. With PlayScore 2, I can take a picture, export it as MusicXML, and import it right into Noteflight to edit.