4 best software to play music sheets from printed and handwritten pages

Tashreef Shareef
by Tashreef Shareef
Windows & Software Expert
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Ever wondered if you could play every song that you saw in a book or web page instantly? This is where the sheet scanning programs help you to scan printed or digital sheet music from computers and smartphones.

Whether you want to compose a complex score or start with a basic one,  music notation programs can help you to create an original composition using different file types and offers music playback and edit features.

The sheet music scanning software takes the traditional sheet music scanning to a whole new level using the Optical Music Recognition technique.

To make things a bit easier for you, we have reviewed the best sheet music scanning software and came up with this list consisting of only the best software depending on the price and features on offer.

In this article, we take a look at the best software that scans and understand the standard music notations and can play all kinds of sheet music and score.

Top 3 tools to play sheet music for newbies and pros

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Notion 6

Notion 6

  • Price – $149

Notion 6 is a feature-rich music notation program available for both Windows and Mac platform. It comes with all the important editing tools including support for MIDI keyboard, virtual piano, and guitar fretboard.

The program is easy to install but requires registration. It will instantly recognize your connected hardware such as the MIDI keyboard as your fire it up.

You can write the notation by hand and convert it to digital notation and also scan the pre-written notation and start playing from it automatically.

The One Native Effect Limiter, Compress, and Pro EQ plug-ins allow you to process the audio with precision. You can perform scores using Notion as a live instrument and save performances.


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In addition, you can send audio and MIDI data directly to and from Studio One anywhere on the network, use the video window to compose pictures and import/export files from Finale and Sibelius suing MusicXML.

On the flip side, Notion 6 is not the easiest to use for beginners. And the fact it costs $149 doesn’t help with being pocket-friendly as well.

However, for anyone looking for a professional-grade software with tons of features, Notion 6 can fit the bill just fine.

Download Notion 6

Forte 10 Home

Forte Home 10

  • Price – Free trial / Premium $99

From music hobbyist to the choir director, and advanced music students, Forte Home offers something for everyone. The program offers immediate access to its advanced music notation features thanks to its easy to use intuitive user interface.

Downloading and installing the program is easy. You can begin with downloading the free trial that is available on the official website to try the software without any risk.


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The latest version of the tool comes with a virtual piano and drum notation making it an almost complete music composition program for basic to advanced users.

For playing sheet music, Forte Home 10 offers ScanScore. This feature allows you to scan in printed or digital sheet music in no time. Apart from music sheet scanning, it also offers all the tools you need to create, edit and perform music with a score notation engine.

Other notable features offered by Forte Home includes the ability to import audio to play in conjunction with your composition, export data in MP3 or WAVE format, customize text alignment for adding lyrics to your score and more.

Download Forte 10 Home 

SharpEye Music Reader

SharpEye 2

  • Price – Free trial / $169

SharpEye is a music scanning software that scans music from the sheet and delivers high-quality scores and instrumental parts. It can also create music arrangements by scanning and converting printed sheet music into printable music notation or MIDI files automatically.

SharpEye uses OMR (optical music recognition) technique to scan and convert the printed music sheets into music notations or MIDI files. It can also make changes to the OCR results to correct any errors or add additional symbols.

You can use the SharpEye Music Reader with MagicScore Maestro 7 to edit music notation on the fly. Apart from MagicScore, it is also compatible with other music notation software from Forte and MuseScore.

Learn more about SharpEye Music Reader

Avid Sibelius

Sibelius

  • Price – Free / $19.92 a month (yearly subscription)

Avid Sibelius is a music notation programs that comes in three versions. Sibelius First is the free version of the software while Sibelius and Sibelius Ultimate comes with a monthly and perpetual license with more features.

For music sheet scanning the software uses a free scanning program called PhotoScore Lite that comes integrated with the Sibelius program. It can scan simple music from small ensembles. For complex scanning, it offers PhotoScore Ultimate that can read text such as dynamics, chord symbols or lyrics, articulations, slurs, hairpins, etc.

Sibelius allows you to input notes from a computer, virtual piano, guitar fretboard and also MIDI keyboard. Sibelius automatically adds the correct rests and note appearances to speed up the composition process. You can begin with any of the 40 genre-specific templates to spark your imagination.

Sibelius Ultimate is for more advanced users who need more voices per stave, support for all symbols, customizable page numbers and instruments, graphics file support, multiple audio recording export format support and more.

Download Sibelius 


Conclusion

There are a variety of reasons to use sheer music software. Beginning with, its ability to transpose music by changing keys through sheet scanning easily.

You can also convert sheet music to MIDI files, scan and play only specific parts of the notion, convert handwritten music into a publishable digital or print format and play sheet music back on a virtual instrument.

All the software listed in this article makes it easy to convert handwritten or printed music sheets into chores with a simple click.

While the accuracy of these programs may not be 100% accurate all the time, you can always edit missing notes after scanning music sheet.

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