Although Web-sharing features are nothing new to music notation software, Stockholm-based DoReMir Music Research modernizes the concept with Score- Cloud (Mac/Win), which lets you upload scores to a cloud-based server from your computer or iOS device.
A typical score page after analyzing audio input (visible on the staff at the bottom of the screen) but before editing. Note recognition was spot-on. The contextual Help window on the right makes it easy to locate the editing tools you might want to use. However, the highly touted feature of ScoreCloud is its ability to transcribe monophonic audio input from the built-in mic on your computer or iOS device, while remaining so easy that a novice can figure it out. That’s a tall order, but ScoreCloud delivers.
Audio capture is simple. Select the Record Audio icon, click the Record button, and after a three-second countdown, start playing. You get two minutes of record time. When you’re done, the pitches you played are displayed on the staff at the bottom of the screen (see screenshot). Tap the space bar to hear MIDI playback. To see the notes displayed as a score page, hit the Analyze button. Now you can edit and save your work to the cloud.
I tested the audio transcription feature using piano, acoustic guitar, voice, ocarina, and mandolin, all with great results. The accuracy of Score- Cloud’s pitch recognition was extremely high, yielding very few wrong notes. In fact, failure was largely due to poorly articulated notes or inaccurate timing on my part.
Thus, successful use of ScoreCloud’s audio-transcription feature rests on the musician’s shoulders: You get the best results from clean, well-articulated playing. ScoreCloud’s biggest challenge is recognizing meter: Several times I played straight eighths in 4/4 that were transcribed as 12/8. That’s simple to fix with the editor. And if it doesn’t recognize that you began on an upbeat, it’s easy to shift the notes. (I did that in the piece you see above.) I look forward to having a click when using audio record mode: DoReMir plans to implement that feature soon.
You can also use a MIDI controller or the onscreen keyboard for note input, which lets you use the built-in metronome. Here, too, the more accurate you play, the better the transcription will be. Playing along with the click track, ScoreCloud accurately notated triplets and quintuplets. You can also input notes manually, have multiple voices on a staff, create several parts, add lyrics, and a lot more.
Thanks to its easy-to-navigate editing features, ScoreCloud is great for capturing and developing ideas quickly. It’s not intended to compete with full-featured programs such as Sibelius or Finale, and it doesn’t. However, you can export a ScoreCloud score as an XML file for use in other notation programs, as well as create PDF, MP3, and MIDI files to share with colleagues.
The beauty of ScoreCloud is that it doesn’t take long to figure out. I captured my first audio snippet five minutes after downloading the program. After it was analyzed, I hit Save, named the file, and it went online. From there, I could listen back to it on my iPhone using the free ScoreCloud Express iOS app, which can also record and upload audio, though with limited editing features.
Like all new software, it has some minor bugs, but nothing serious. Just keep in mind that you need an Internet connection to connect to the server and to use ScoreCloud Express.
While it won’t replace my other notation programs, ScoreCloud’s ability to capture ideas swiftly and accurately from monophonic audio input is the reason it’ll get used more often.
STRENGTHS MIDI and notation transcription from monophonic audio input. Easy to use. Free version available. Syncs with iOS app.
LIMITATIONS No click track for audio recording. Cannot preselect time signature for audio recording.
Studio Silver: Free
Studio Gold: $4/month with unlimited online storage
Studio Platinum: $7/month for storage on or offline