NotateMe (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:
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!
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:
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.
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.