App Review: NotateMe

Screen shot 2013-10-22 at 1.07.21 PMNotateMe (this public beta release is currently half off: $13.99) — for iPad/iPhone (also available for Android).

NotateMe is a music notation app that allows users to enter music by finger or using a stylus.  As the notes are drawn, the app interprets your handwriting and creates printed notation.  This technology is impressive!

Here is a screenshot taken from the app store:

screen480x480

This app could be a great time-saver for those who like to write music by hand but need to have the music later transcribed into a music notation program.  It is a also great tool to recommend to students because it is the best of both worlds: students learn to write notation properly by hand, but also can have a professionally printed copy.

When you create a new score, the app allows you to choose the instrument or combination of instruments you would like to use for your piece.  SATB choir and orchestra even are included in the options!

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In the “Edit Score” mode, you can draw your notes onto the staff using your finger or a stylus.  As you work, the app will update the printed score above.  When I tested out NotateMe, I found that the app was pretty good at reading my handwriting.  When it misinterpreted what I wrote, I had to either add more strokes to my note/rest or press the “undo” button to redraw the whole thing more neatly.  I imagine that this will become less and less of a problem as the apps improves.

Here is a screenshot of my test:

photo 1

After you are finished entering your notes in the “Edit Score” mode, you can choose the mode “Show Full Score.”  Here, you can view the layout and press “play” to hear the music played back to you.

Here is another one of my tests shown in the “Edit Score” mode.  The layout isn’t perfect, but it looks decent.

photo 2

Now, the caveats.  You’ll notice at the top of this post that I indicated that this app is a public beta release.  The app’s website states: “IMPORTANT: NotateMe is at Public beta stage. We are offering it for half price to encourage users to help us with final testing before release. The upgrade to the release version will be free-of-charge.”

The app works by creating MusicXML music notation files.  MusicXML files can be opened with Finale, Sibelius, or other major music notation programs.  The app allows you to email the MusicXML files or MIDI files of your scores, but there is currently no way to print the score or export as a pdf.  These options will be added in future releases.

A possible temporary work-around would be to take a screenshot while in the “Show Full Score” mode.  You can take a screenshot at any time on your iPhone/iPad by pressing the power button and the home button at the same time.  The photo will then appear in your regular “Photos” app.   From within “Photos,” you can print or email your screenshot.

Here is a list of the other features that are coming soon, according to NotateMe’s website:

  • AudioScore® In-App Purchase: Sing/play into your device’s microphone and it will be automatically notated using Neuratron’s AudioScore technology.
  • PhotoScore® In-App Purchase: Take a photo of sheet music with your device’s camera and have it played back to you, or export it as a MusicXML/MIDI file, using Neuratron’s PhotoScore technology.
  • Enter music notation by playing the on-screen keyboard.
  • Save PDF files of your NotateMe scores to publish online, distribute and print.
  • Automatically sync your scores to the “cloud” so you can edit them on your phone whilst you are out, and then on your tablet when you get back.

NotateMe is an app definitely worth keeping your eye on!  It is already quite an impressive tool.  Click here to visit NotateMe’s website or click here to view their facebook page.

PG
Joy Morin is a piano teacher in Perrysburg, Ohio (United States) who enjoys keeping her teaching fresh with new ideas and resources. ColorInMyPiano.com serves as a journal of her adventures in piano teaching as well as a place to exchange ideas and resources.

Joy has blogged 1119 posts here.

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7 Comments

  1. Leslie LeCompte
    Posted 26 October 2013 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Hi Joy,
    I have never been so excited about an app since I have owned an iPad! “Notate Me” is going to be such a big part of my piano lessons and my personal use! Thank you for sharing this app and your review of it. I would have never known about it otherwise!

  2. Ann Macfarlane
    Posted 27 October 2013 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Impressive! I use Noteworthy Composer on my PC but this could be very useful on my Nexus Tablet! Just one small niggle from the excerpts you have given – in the Tschaikovsky example – LH 4th beat – is there some way to move back the accidental for the G natural? It’s kind of blurred into the stem and not easily visible. The only other problem I would have is finding some way to convert the file into a type that could be opened in Noteworthy. I am going to look into this a bit more!

    • Posted 27 October 2013 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      There is not a very good way to edit the layout. What it generates is pretty much what you get, although I suppose you could open the MusicXML file in another program to do that sort of editing.

  3. Ann Macfarlane
    Posted 27 October 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Oh dear – I’ve just read that this app is for Ipad so i don’t suppose it would work on my Tablet :( – maybe it will happen soon though!

    • Posted 27 October 2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      The NotateMe app IS available for Droid, Ann! Check out their website.

      • Ann Macfarlane
        Posted 27 October 2013 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Joy – I went to the google store and found it there. I also watched the demo – I’m more impressed than ever! The price at the google store was a bit more than the $13.99 (works out at just over $16) but this might just be the fluctuating exchange rate :) I think I am going to get it – Thanks for pointing us to it.

        And while I’m here, thanks so much for your site – a treasure trove of useful news and ideas for teachers!

  4. Posted 6 November 2013 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Hey Joy, this app looks super interesting. My readers have been talking about getting a notation app, something like this. Maybe I’ll jump on the tech bandwagon on this one. ;)

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