app for performance notation

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    Hi all! I am a general music teacher for PK-8 in an urban district. I do not have any notation software due to huge budget issues, but I do have some basic keyboards. This year 2 of my 7th graders are doing amazing and have written their own song; it sounds beautiful and puts me to shame! They have done it in their spare time with a little help from me, but I would love to get it written out for them. Is there an app (they have ipads) that they can play their song and it will notate it for them? I found one online (scorecleaner notes) but I can’t seem to find it. Any suggestions?? Bear in mind that I have a $0. budget.


    Hi: I’m sorry that it has taken me a while to respond to your post; you submitted it before I signed on as the Composition Mentor, and I just noticed that no one had replied to your question.

    I’m not a great source of info about the latest updates in music technology; so hopefully someone else might have a better answer for you.

    I do know that there are a number of programs available that will transcribe played sound into notated music. However (and this is a BIG however), there are two issues which probably make them impractical for your situation: 1) the ones that I know of are high-end programs, which are somewhat expensive; and 2) any transcribing program will only do a rough estimation of what is played, and the notation has to be “cleaned up” by someone knowledgeable about music notation in order for it to be legible. (The main problem is with how precisely it transcribes little variances in the way that humans perform rhythm; if the “quantization” is too picky, you end up with triple-dotted notes, 64th rests, weird ties, etc.) Plus, any transcribing program can only handle one line of music at a time; they can’t pick apart a complete band with multiple parts and split them into individual parts automatically.

    Again, I’m not on top of the newest things in music technology; perhaps someone else knows of a new program that does what you’re looking for.

    My suggestion is that you can work with the students to help them notate what they’ve written. Even though it sounds like a tedious process, doing so will help teach them about music from the inside out, i.e. it will help them consciously understand technical aspects that they seem to already intuitively understand. Of course, many great musicians work solely by intuition, and many don’t read music notation very well (nor do they need to); but starting from self-composed pieces can be an engaging “backwards” way introducing students to music notation, basic theoretical concepts, etc.

    Good luck with your project.

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