The latest addition to Muse Group’s acclaimed StaffPad composition app promises to transform how composers notate their scores. Driven by AI technology, the app’s new Piano Capture tool is capable of ‘listening’ to real piano performances and converting them into readable sheet music.
With the addition of the new feature, any pianist using StaffPad (or keyboardist with a piano preset loaded) can capture their ideas instantly — it can use the device’s built-in microphone(s), so there’s no need to set up any recording equipment. The app also allows users to import and edit previously recorded audio files and have them transcribed into scores. The process runs directly on the host device rather than relying on cloud processing, so users’ audio remains private, and no internet connection is required for the app to run.
The company developed a machine learning engine specifically for the task, which they used to generate thousands of hours of music using digitally controlled acoustic pianos and sample libraries. It then analysed the results, learning how to recreate the original audio input. As the training progressed, the engine became capable of recognising note pitches and durations, even with multiple instances present within chords, and was eventually able to transcribe new performances that it hadn’t encountered before. It is also able to ’tidy up’ a score, making sure that musicians will be able to read it easily.
In addition to Piano Capture, the latest update introduces a Video Staffs feature that allows users to import film clips into their scores, as well as a real-time MIDI Capture function, which makes it possible to connect a MIDI controller and notate performances directly into the app. The company say that the combination of the new features will lower the barriers into scoring for aspiring composers, as well as allowing newcomers and professionals alike to sketch ideas with Piano Capture in real time whilst viewing content as Video Staffs.
If you’re not familiar with StaffPad, you can take a look at our in-depth review from SOS June 2020.
StaffPad is supported on all modern iPads (where it requires an Apple Pencil) and pen/touch-capable Windows devices running Windows 10 and above. A full device compatibility list is available on the company’s website. It is possible to open, read and preview scores on all Apple Silicon-equipped Macs, but writing notation is not possible due to the absence of touch support.
Pricing & Availability
The latest version of StaffPad is available now via Apple’s App Store or the Microsoft Store, priced at $89.99.