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Digital Sheet Music: The Times Are A' Changin









Digital Sheet Music: The Times Are A' Changin
Written by Yair Lavi, CEO of Tonara - September 10th 2012

As an up and coming independent artist, chances are you’ve fully joined (or at least embraced) the digital revolution. Long gone are the days of analog multi-track cassette recorders or the need for workstations that filled up an entire room. New digital technologies, powerful affordable computers and the rapid rise of mobile tablets have given birth to a mind-boggling array of innovative music products and applications for creating, recording and sharing your music.

As a musician, chances are also good that there was a band or artist that influenced you. Every successful musician can point to several groups or styles that helped shape his or her music tastes and career. So, as much of your time is spent writing and performing your own music, what do you do when it’s time to play those tunes from the famous bands and recording artists that have always inspired you? Sure, you can pull out the dusty old stacks of music books you’ve had since the 80’s or head to the music store for new songs, but just as with other aspects of the music industry, there are also powerful new platforms pulling sheet music into the digital age.

Interestingly, sheet music is one area of music that remained untouched for hundreds of years. While e-book readers have become highly popular platforms for you to enjoy Bob Dylan’s biography or peruse the latest issue of Rolling Stone Magazine, musicians are still largely using printed music scores to bang out that old Beatles favorite or take a stab at Beyonce’s latest hit. The same goes for the sheet music publishing and distribution side. Music print publishers are seeking out new sales channels that meet consumer demand for digital products and solutions.

Early attempts to modernize the sheet music industry included scanned PDFs, which eventually lead to apps that allow musicians to play along with digital scores. The most recent advances in digital sheet music take the music playing experience even further with interactive elements. For example, Tonara, the sheet music app we developed actually listens to the music you’re playing, shows exactly where you are in the score and automatically turns the pages for you – even if you slow down, speed up, stop, or make a mistake. Tonara’s innovative polyphonic technology allows for example, you to play the piano and someone else to sing while each of your scores listens to and follows you both.

The exciting part about the continued convergence of music and technology is that we’re seeing just the tip of the iceberg. The digital music hardware and applications available today are only a taste of things to come. New portable media devices and applications powered by increasingly advanced algorithms and even artificial intelligence will continue to provide new and creative ways to learn, play, record, produce, distribute and enjoy music in all its many forms. Although Dylan was talking about social upheaval in his iconic 1964 album and song, when it comes to music/tech, the times certainly are a-changin’.   

You can learn more about Tonara by visited their website here.





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