Every musician knows what a complicated score can be. It’s easy to misplace, tear, knock over, and even recover if you lend it to a friend or student. But with a sheet music app, you can keep all your sheet music in one central location, safe from damage, and easily annotate them during rehearsals or use them onstage during a performance. These are the best sheet music apps for all platforms.
Some of these apps have built-in sheet music libraries that let you browse, buy, and download, while others take a more organizational approach, letting you import your sheet music files and then use the app. to display them. Those with built-in libraries all had a more general selection of pieces for individual instruments or with piano accompaniment. If you are looking for a specific title, you are better off buying digital copies from dedicated (digital) sheet music stores like Sheet music More or JW Pepper.
So grab your music stand, phone or tablet and get ready to take your sheet music collection to a new level.
Update, 3/18/22: Verified content and still good links. Updated prices for OnSong and ForScore.
Music notes (free, with in-app purchases) offers over 400,000 sheet music arrangements for multiple instruments on virtually every platform. The app itself is free, but you’ll have to purchase each piece of music you want individually. It keeps your purchased songs organized with folders and play lists, and has tools that can help you learn a song. Musicnotes also lets you scan sheet music you already own and add them to your library, although you’ll need a Dropbox account to do so.
The app can play a song so you know what it sounds like, and it can slow it down to a tempo you’re more comfortable with. You can even annotate your music using the built-in stylus and colored highlighter, and take other notes as needed. The app supports transposition, custom hands-free page rotation options, and even offers different paper background options.
Musicnotes’ sheet music database spans multiple genres, such as classical, Broadway, pop, and anthems, and covers most instruments. That being said, its selection is pretty shallow and geared more towards beginner and intermediate casual musicians (thank goodness it lets you import your own files). However, Musicnotes’ wide practical device compatibility compensates for random sheet music selection. This is the only sheet music app we have found that can be downloaded from iOS, android, Macand computer.
Although ForScore costs $19.99 and requires you to bring your own sheet music besides, it’s incredibly beautiful, powerful and smart. It displays your music on a clean, minimalist screen, keeping it organized and out of the way with every step. Nor is ForScore weighed down by frilly extras you never wanted to start with.
The app is only available for iOS and iPadOS, which means it’s beautifully optimized for all Apple devices taking inspiration from Apple’s less is more aesthetic. It makes it easy to create playlists, annotate files, rearrange pages, add bookmarks, play with an audio track, and more. ForScore’s powerful tools make it just as brilliant at helping new musicians as it is at managing seasoned artists.
ForScore has powerful import features and supports sheet music for all instruments (as well as simple chord and lyric sheets). It supports page-turning devices, has a simple digital piano keyboard and tuning fork, and even lets you track practice time and goals. ForScore’s artillery of powerful features and smart design make it worth the cost.
Sheet music apps don’t have to be just for pianists or symphony musicians: guitarists can benefit too! OnSong ($49.99, with in-app purchases), is perfect for managing all your tabs and lyric sheets. You have full control over the organization of your music: you can rename files, rearrange playlists, change font size, add notes or annotations, and more. The app, however, is only available on iOS (sorry, Android).
During rehearsals, you can transpose or highlight chords with the touch of a finger. You can set up a metronome with your songs, adjust the speed at which the music scrolls across your screen, and even play the song from your iTunes or OnSong library if you need to hear what it sounds like. Importing TIFF, PNG, PDF, JPG, Word and Pages files is also a breeze, as OnSong can connect directly to Dropbox and iTunes.
The app also supports old classical sheet music, but its main focus is tabs and chord sheets for guitarists. In fact, one of its standout features for guitar is pedal support. This allows you to connect a compatible pedal (such as iRig, PageFlip, AirTurn and Coda) and use it to switch pages in your music hands-free, which is handy for live performances.
paperless music ($4.99) is a simple and easy to use sheet music manager app. It is also ideal for sheet music, fake books and guitar tabs. You can import PDFs from most places like iCloud, Files, and AirDrop, and once everything is uploaded, you can search for a song using filters like composer, title, genre, key or duration. The Collection feature lets you group music together, for things like recitals, and then edit or delete them later.
Paperless displays your score so it’s crystal clear and not blurry, and you can add annotations at any time, thanks to the handy built-in editing tools. It also uses a rendering engine that turns pages at lightning speed so you never miss a beat during a rehearsal or performance. You can manually scroll or swipe to the next page, of course, but it also supports Bluetooth devices (like PageFlip and AirTurn) if you need to turn pages hands-free.
The app has no ads, in-app purchases, subscriptions, third-party tracking, and doesn’t even require you to create an account. It works. Its only real downside is that it is only intended for iOS; I’m sure Android users will appreciate the simplified design of the app.
While many sheet music apps are iOS-only, we were happy to find something great that’s only available for Android users.Orpheus app ($6.99). The discrete app is all about essential functionality and ease of use. It was carefully crafted by a real musician who knew exactly what needed to be included and how to make it user friendly.
The Orpheus app has a modern intuitive interface. Everything is clearly labeled and the app has no bloat, so things load quickly. The app syncs with Dropbox, so you can store your digital sheet music there and upload them to the app as needed. It will even let you bookmark pages in very long chunks so you can pick up where you left off later without any hassle. Lightweight and flexible annotation tools let you add cues, bow strokes, and more quickly. Plus, the app is compatible with Bluetooth page-turning devices so you can stay focused on your music.