Hi-tech app Musica Piano revolutionizes music world

Musicians the world over can now rejoice. Something revolutionary has just made the lives of music students and professionals much easier.
An iPadiPhone and HTML app called Musica Piano has released a library of 25,000 free scores — not published on paper, but in a digital cloud — ready for instant downloading. No more lugging heavy scores and stacks of sheet music around the campus or the city, or even on stage.
Musica Piano is the brainchild of European publisher Ludwig KandOnemann, whose idea to revolutionize music publishing germinated in his student days when he visited Budapest. He left that city with suitcases full of music scores which he later resold in Germany. Doubtless, the backbreaking load bothered him then as much as it has bothered many generations of musicians, but the resale of the scores — without the weight — is what he concluded years later as being a possible digital online venture.
Musica Pianoand’s press materials for its Oct. 13 launch in Budapest included a video of 11-year-old child prodigy Misi Boros playing a virtuoso classical piano selection with an iPhone on the music rack instead of the customary score for which he also would have had to turn pages.
Boros told the camera: and”My backpack weighs 5 kilograms, and I have to carry it every day. I have four piano lessons a week and Iand’m exhausted from carrying my heavy bag all the time. With this app life will be much easier, all the scores are available on my mobile in my pocket. My smartphone only weighs a few grams. I was already thinking about attaching a memory stick to the piano so I could read digital scores. Now this app is the same thing.and”
Alongside Boros was Hungaryand’s esteemed 82-year-old pianist Tamas Vasary, who explained: and”This app [were it invented earlier] would have allowed me to connect to many of the world class pianists I had admired so much.and” He performed Debussyand’s and”Claire de luneand” using an iPhone to show how it followed his tempos.
h2 Hi-tech a big boon to classical musiciansh2 In recent years, musicians have been scanning music into iPads for rehearsal and performance as well as downloading sheet music online, on a pay-as-you-go basis. Musica Piano, however, has collected over four centuriesand’ worth of scores and put them in one place for users to research, study and play for free. To go beyond the free-of-charge basic search and identify features, users can access complete concertos, sonatas, orchestra and opera scores, as well as teaching methods for piano, all for the tiny subscription price of 0.99 euros per month.
KandOnemann was on hand at the launch to reveal more about why he felt Musica Piano is the future. and”I had been asked several times andlsquoWhy is this application so revolutionary?and’ The fact is that for the first time ever a publisher has uploaded all their content to a cloud. A free cloud. So for the first time ever there is more classical music in this cloud than in any music store in the world. These 25,000 pages, which would be hundreds of thousands of kilograms of paper, are now in the cloud, and are available on an iPad, an iPhone, or any computer in the world.and”
KandOnemann also wants to keep things affordable to musicians and music teachers. In fact, Musica Pianoand’s built-in recording feature, both audio and video, allows teachers to work with students online, anywhere. They can both access fingerings, texts, instructions, annotations, and a metronome to facilitate all aspects of learning.
One hugely important feature of the app is its ability to turn pages for the performer as he plays. The built-in silent metronome and recorder follow the playerand’s performance throughout, and automatically move the score to the next page. This, for all musicians, is a revolutionary aspect that eliminates the need for a human page turner, or the need for using music sheets that can change position, fall or blow in the wind.
The appand’s engineering uses digital photos that we can call and”smart scores,and” as they are constructed with a system that recognizes music signs and symbols. Oliver Scholz, the appand’s developer who was also on hand at the Budapest unveiling, explained: and”We scan original documents, original music scores. But it is not a simple scan process, we use OCR technology, or andlsquooptical character recognitionand’ and ICR for andlsquoIntelligent Character Recognitionand’. So we scan as we would a normal document, as a picture, but it recognizes the note heads, rests, and other musical signs and puts them all in place.and”
KandOnemannand’s main objective, though, is to direct the profits to the authors and not the publishers, who, he feels, take aantage of financially struggling music schools and students. In Europe, governments are generous in their support of culture, but the publishers of music and books must pass on the governmentand’s high VAT tax, making them often unaffordable to people who by necessity must purchase them for their careers and training. The result has been decades of illegal photocopying of scores and parts, which cheats the authors of their royalties — which are administered by publishers.
Because digital scanners can make mistakes, Musica Pianoand’s koenemann.comand’s headquarters in Budapest has musicologist Livia Hajdu on board to make sure all scores have been proofed and corrected. and”[J.S.] Bach inserted two extra notes after he finished and published this piece,and” she explained, referring to the composerand’s and”Invention in C Major.and” and”In his original manuscript we can recognize two differently shaped notes. The heads of the notes are different, their figures are flatter. As the manuscript is original, we have to accept both variations.and”
Communications strategist Imre Szabandoacute-Stein of Clockwise Productions in Budapest emphasized that there is no proprietary connection to Apple, but that the developers initially chose Apple products because of their superior quality. The app, which now also works on PC format, can be downloaded for free at musicapiano.com.

SOURCE: TODAY”S ZAMAN

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