We give the interactive sheet music app a test drive to see just what it can offer
There are tonnes of apps out there for pianists at the moment, ranging from piano-learning apps to sheet music apps, to composing apps. All seem to claim they are the ‘perfect’ resource for pianists.
Some of them are brilliant resources, but others fall way short of expectation.
Tomplay sheet music doesn’t feel the need to make such bold statements. The app lets its extensive sheet music app do all the talking. With almost 30,000 piano sheet music scores available within the app for pianists to play and practise, it’s not hard to believe that it already has over 1 million users across 60 countries so far.
Let’s take a look at some of the app’s best features.
1: 30,000 downloadable sheet music scores for the same price as a book of 20 scores
We all know sheet music books can be pricey – as well as taking up a lot of space in our houses.
The Tomplay sheet music app gives you access to around 30,000 scores for just EUR 8.99/month or EUR 83.99/year, which is roughly the equivalent to buying a sheet music book full of around just 20 scores. You are definitely getting more than your money’s worth.
As you, the pianist, plays through the score, the app automatically scrolls for you in the tempo you have set prior to playing. There are options to play solo, duo, four-handed or to be accompanied by an orchestra. This allows for a lot of flexibility in practice. It might be that you need to focus solely on your left hand, or maybe you want to duet with your teacher, or perhaps you want to imagine yourself playing with a large orchestra or band. All of these options are available on the app.
The accompanying orchestras are impressive. All parts are recorded by professional musicians, although it’s difficult to find out via the app’s website exactly who.
What’s included in the catalogue of scores?
The app offers an impressive variety of different genres. Classical, pop, rock, jazz, film, electro and world music scores are all included. They are very easy to navigate, and only take about ten seconds to download. Here are some examples of what you can find:
- Brahms Hungarian Dances
- Gardel Por una Cabeza
- Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No.1
- Beethoven Concerto No 5 ‘Emperor’
- Schubert ‘Ave Maria’
- Scott Joplin ‘The Entertainer’
- John Lennon ‘Imagine’
- Game of Thrones Theme
- Einaudi Nuvole Bianche
- Yiruma River Flows in You
There are a selection of Hanon and Czerny exercises also available on the app.
2: Easy to edit and annotate scores
For those of you that love scribbling notes, fingerings and annotations all over your score, the app is very accommodating.
Once you’ve selected ‘Annotate the score’ in the top right corner, a host of options appear:
- Annotate: Add fingerings, sharps, flats, naturals, dynamic markings, articulation markings and more
- Draw and highlight: Choose a colour and pen weight, and start drawing, circling, underlining… whatever your heart desires
- Text: Ideal if you want to add lyrics or comments
3. Record your performance
It’s important, as pianists, that we try as best as we can to hear our performance from the perspective of the audience. A performance can sound so much different to an audience member than to ourselves.
The Tomplay app allows you to record your playing. Again, it’s easy enough to find at the top of your screen when you have a score open. Once recorded, the app allows you to name the recording, adjust the backing track volume and your recording volume, and also adjust or decrease the latency if needs be.
This latter option is especially useful for those of you that use either Bluetooth or Airplay speakers, or headphones. These accessories can cause a delay to the synchronisation of your playing and the backing track.
4. Loop over difficult sections
This is one of our favourite features.
If you’re struggling with a specific bar or two of music, simply select ‘Loop’ and drag the brackets around the bars that you want to loop.
The app will count you in and will then repeat the phrase you have selected as many times as you like.
It’s a brilliant little feature, in fact, it’s a brilliant app all-round. High marks for usability; the app is very easy to navigate, with the key features all easy to find and easy to understand. This is one learning app that we would highly recommend.