ScoreCleaner App Notates What You Play Into Your iPhone

By Devon Glenn 

If you’ve ever wished that you could not only record, but also automatically notate your song ideas, that technology is here.

After 20 years of research on music cognition, folk musician Sven Ahlbäck, who teaches at the The Royal College of Music in Stockholm, and bass player Sven Emtell, who studied computer science at The Royal Academy of Technology, have built a practical tool for songwriting.

The DoReMIR Music Research team currently sells the ScoreCleaner Notes music notation app for $0.99 in the App Store.

To see how it works, SocialTimes writer Megan O’Neill played a short exercise on her cello. See the original score below.

The score Megan got back was not quite what she was expecting, but when she pressed the “play” button to listen to her performance, she found that the app had faithfully recorded her mistakes as well as the parts she had gotten right. Note that the app correctly identified the key and time signature of the piece.

Singing into the iPhone was a little more challenging. Megan tried a version of the Christmas carol “Deck the Hall,” replacing the word “deck” with “shech” in honor of her dog Shechi, and came back with a jazzy tune that was written in bass clef instead of treble clef. (Although it’s technically correct, a woman would normally see a low alto part written below the staff instead of above the bass line.) In playback mode, the piano rendering of her voice didn’t quite match her actual performance.

Between the playback option and the notation function, it seemed like the app would speed up the process of writing a new song and would also be handy for evaluating yourself after a practice session—a truly game-changing experience.