If you don’t know what kind of music you’re looking at… Use a music reading app/software!

sheet music practice

This post is also available in: 日本語 (Japanese)

Even if you are given a new piece of sheet music, few people know what kind of music it is right away, and you may have to play it a little at a time or listen to others play it. There are music reading apps and software available in the world, and you can have your smartphone or computer play the score for you.

From real-time on a smartphone to full-scale reading on a computer

This technology of reading music scores, there are many different ones and their uses are also varied. The following apps and software are introduced in this article:

App/software nameSmartphones/PCscontentsFeatures
Gakufu CameraiPhoneThe camera can read and play music in real time.Anyway, it’s easy to use, but you can’t read the length of the sound, etc.
Gakufu ScanneriPhone/AndroidCapable of reading and playing sheet music from images taken by the camera.It can also read the length of a note, but does not support coda, double flat, double sharp, etc.
Scoremakerpersonal computerRead images captured by a camera or scanner on a PCIt is quite sophisticated, but expensive. It’s not so easy to use because it’s done on a computer.

Gakufu Camera

The first one I’d like to introduce is a smartphone app released by Kawai Musical Instruments, called Gakufu Camera.

‎世界初!※1「リアルタイム楽譜認識エンジン」搭載。 楽譜をカメラで撮って即座に音を鳴らせる、画期的なアプリです。 ●高解像度対応により、認識精度が向上しました。 ●サークルコントロールによるUIにより操作性が向上しました。 ●楽譜を分割し...

The great thing about this app is thatit allows you to read music in real time.

In the case of ordinary music reading, the image is taken by a camera or scanner and fed to the application or software. In the case of the Gakufu Camera, all you have to do is hold the sheet music over the camera and it will be scanned.

Then, just by holding it up to the score, you can play that score!

However, because it has to be processed in real time, the only thing that can be read is basically the pitch of the note. There are no quarter notes or eighth notes. You have to indicate it yourself when you play.

Anyway, it is quite easy to not even have to take a picture, so if you are just using it to hear what kind of song it is, this is enough.

The app has been released for iPhone only, no Android version is available.

Gakufu Scanner

The name of this app is similar to “Gakufu Camera”, but it is a different app.

Sheet Music Scanner
Sheet Music Scanner
Developer : David Zemsky
posted with appreach

This is not a real time reading, but uses camera photos taken or images captured by a scanner.

This allows you to read the length of notes, which is not possible with a Gakufu camera, but it is not perfect and currently has the following limitations:

– The following symbols are currently not supported: coda, percussion notation, dynamics, double sharp, double flat, and ornaments. These will be addressed in a future update.

Gakufu Scanner application page

It is supposed to be supported in a future update, and in fact, it used to not support triplets, but now it does, so we can expect it.

You can also output the scanned music as a PDF file.You can also output the music played on the score as a music file, so you can use it to tell other people what kind of music it is.

It can be used on Android as well as iPhone.


This is a computer software program that uses photos taken by a camera or images scanned by a scanner to read the data.

This software is a music notation and composition software. Finale and Sibelius are famous for this kind of software, but Scoremaker has an excellent reputation for its ability to read music.

It only runs on a computer, so you have to bring the images to your computer for processing, but since it is a composition software,

  • Modify the read music.
  • Arrange music based on the readings
  • Add fingering and notes.
  • Transposition of music

You can do these things easily.

If you want to do various things based on the score you read, there is no harm in buying a score maker.

An official guidebook on how to use it is also available:

Please note that there are four types of Scoremakers in the lineup, but only the Platinum or Standard can use the reading function.

Increase efficiency by using the right app/software for the right purpose

As you can see, there are many different levels of music reading apps/softwares.

It does not mean that a lower level is bad, but it should be chosen based on your requirement.

If you are having a hard time deciphering what kind of music is in the score, why not try it?

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