Every musician knows what a hassle of notes can be. It̵7;s easy to place, tear down, spill on and even come back if you lend it to a friend or student. But with a note app, you can keep all your note in one central place, protected from damage, and easily mark it during rehearsals or use on stage in a performance. These are the best notes for all platforms.
Some of these apps have built-in archive libraries that allow you to browse, buy and download, while others use a more organizational method, so you can import your notes and then use the app to view them. Those who have 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, it is better that you buy digital copies from dedicated (digital) notes such as Sheet Music Plus or JW Pepper.
So grab your music stand, your phone or tablet and get ready to take your sheet music collection to a new level.
Best overall: Music notes
Musicnotes (free, with in-app purchases) offer over 400,000 notes for multiple instruments on almost any platform. The app itself is free, but you have to buy each piece of music you want individually. It keeps your purchased pieces organized with folders and setlists and has tools that can help you learn a piece. Musicnotes also lets you scan notes you already own and add them to your library, but you need a Dropbox account to do so.
The app can play a song so you know how it sounds, and it can slow it down to a tempo you are more comfortable playing with. You can even write down your music with the built-in pen and colorful highlighter and make other notes as needed. The app supports transposition, custom hands-free page rotation options and even has different paper background options.
Musicnotes sheet music for notes spans several genres, such as classical, Broadway, pop and hymns – and covers most instruments. That being said, the selection is pretty shallow and is definitely more aimed at casual beginners and intermediate musicians (thankfully it allows you to import your own files). But Musicnote’s practical broad device compatibility compensates for the choice of hit-or-miss notes. It is the only notebook we found that can be downloaded on iOS, Android, Mac and PC.
Best premium choice: ForScore
Although ForScore costs $ 14.99 and requires you to bring in your own notes from elsewhere, it’s incredibly beautiful, powerful and smart. It shows your music on a clean minimalist screen, keeps it organized and keeps you out of the way at every step. ForScore is also not burdened by frilly extras you never wanted to start with.
The app is only available for iOS and iPadOS, which means it is beautifully optimized for all Apple devices that take a clue from Apple’s less-is-more aesthetics. It makes it easy to create setlists, comment on files, rearrange pages, add bookmarks, play along with an audio track and more. Forscore’s powerful tools make it as brilliant in its ability to help newer musicians as playing stage manager for experienced stage artists.
ForScore has powerful import features and supports notes for all instruments (as well as simple chord-and-lyric sheets). It supports side-turning devices, has a simple digital piano keyboard and pitch tube, and even lets you track practice time and goals. Forscore’s artillery with powerful features and its clever design make it worth the cost.
Best for guitarists: OnSong
Notes for apps do not only have to be for pianists or symphonic musicians – guitarists can also benefit from them! OnSong ($ 29.99, with in-app purchases), is perfect for managing all your tabs and text sheets. You have full control over how your music is organized: You can rename files, reorder lists, change font size, add notes or notes, and more. However, the app is only available on iOS (sorry, Android).
During rehearsals, you can transpose or mark chords with the touch of a finger. You can set a metronome with your songs, adjust the speed at which the music rolls on the screen, and even play the song from your iTunes or OnSong library if you need to hear how it sounds. Importing TIFF, PNG, PDF, JPG, Word and Pages files is also a movie, as OnSong can connect directly to Dropbox and iTunes.
The app also supports regular old notes, but it focuses mainly on tabs and chord sheets for guitarists. In fact, one of its outstanding guitar-friendly features is the foot 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, making it convenient for live performances.
Best budget option for iOS users: Paperless music
Paperless Music ($ 4.99) is a simple, easy-to-use sheet music management app. It’s great for sheet music, fake books and guitar tabs too. You can import PDF files from most sites – such as iCloud, Files and AirDrop – and once everything is uploaded, you can search for a piece through filters such as composer, title, genre, key or duration. With the Collection function, you can group music together, for things like reasons, then change or delete them afterwards.
Paperless displays your notes so that they look crystal clear, not obscure, and you can add notes at any time thanks to the handy built-in editing tools. It also uses a rendering engine that enables lightning-fast page turns so you never miss a beat during a rehearsal or performance. Of course, you can scroll or swipe to the next page manually, but it also supports Bluetooth devices (like PageFlip and AirTurn) if you need hands-free pages.
The app has no ads, in-app purchases, subscriptions, third-party tracking and does not even require you to sign up for an account. It just works. The only real downside is that it’s only for iOS; I’m sure Android users would appreciate the streamlined design of the app.
Best for Android users: Orpheus App
While many note-taking apps are iOS only, we were happy to find something amazing that is only available to Android users – the Orpheus App ($ 6.99). The low-key app is about the essential features and keeps things easy to use, and it was carefully designed 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 marked and the app has no bloating so things load quickly. The app is synchronized with Dropbox so that you can store your digital notes there and upload it to the app as needed. It even lets you bookmark pages in super-long chunks so you can continue where you left off without hassle. Flexible note-taking tools allow you to add clues, inflections and faster. In addition, the app is compatible with Bluetooth page-turning devices so you can stay focused on your music.