Using the iPad to display sheet music isn’t new. Tonara, however, adds some much-needed functionality to these scores which its competitors just can’t mach: it listens to you while you play and automatically flips pages. The Israel-based company competed in TechCrunch’s Disrupt Startup Battlefield last week, but despite its great presentation, the competition’s judges didn’t think there was really a market for a smart sheet music app. I beg to differ. I think Tonara will set the benchmark for 21st century sheet music apps for those of us who play piano, violin, flute or other polyphonic and monophonic instruments (indeed, its flexibility is what makes it so great).
So how does it work? Once installed, the app comes with a number of pre-loaded scores on it already (mostly classical), but also features an in-app store for buying new scores for between $0.99 and $2.99, depending on their length. Then, you simply open up the score and start playing. Tonara uses the iPad’s microphone to follow along and a moving bar keeps tap on where in the score you currently are. Make a mistake and stop? Tonara will notice and just let you pick up from anywhere before that point.
Check out the video below for some of the more advanced features, including the ability to record sessions, how to use the metronome feature and a brief walk-through of the advanced settings:
Some Small Issues, But More Than Worth a Try
I’ve tested the app extensively over the last few days and highly enjoyed the experience. The store could benefit from some additional diversity, though. It’s mostly out-of-copyright classical music right now – which is perfectly fine, of course – but Tonara hopes to get some sheet music publishers on board so it can offer a wider range of scores.
With regards to how well it works, I would say that it’s great about 90% of the time. Sometimes, though, the cursor moves ahead too fast and sometimes it can’t find my place in the score again after I stop and correct myself (something that happens a bit more often that I’d like to admit).
Still, if you are a musician, I can only recommend this app. It’s a great first release and will only get better as the app matures.