The omnipresence of mobile devices and the seemingly bottomless pit of apps out on the market nowadays, translates into the creation of just about any way one can dream of, to hold onto a musical idea when inspiration unexpectedly decides to strike. Everything from complex apps capable of covering layered songs down to the accent, to the one touch record and save function of the “Voice Memo” default app on the iPhone has helped the seasons songwriter and average civilian to better transform the songs in their heads into substantial compositions viable for performance and or recording.
One area however, where many of these impressive apps and tech can sometimes fall short, is in the complicated space of of digital notation and audio recognition. Reasons for this among specific software programs can vary but, on the whole, time and lack of accuracy are two recurring issues. Luckily, the ongoing improvement of technology sees new developments all the time and this is where ScoreCleaner establishes its promising niche in the music and tech worlds.
An intensely researched undertaking of a program, ScoreCleaner has been around for a while in the European music market but its U.S. launch was announced this week by its development company, DoReMIR Research. Quoted from the “About Us” section of the ScoreCleaner website, “the name [DoReMIR Research,] was a marriage between music and technology. DoRe, from do re mi fa so la ti do, combined with, MIR, the abbreviation of Music Information Retrieval.” The two gentlemen behind ScoreCleaner, who invested more than 20 years of time into making an effective notator, are Sven Ahlbäck and Sven Emtell.
ScoreCleaner, as well as its sibling program, “ScoreCleaner Notes,” were promoted and demonstrated during this year’s NAMM show. The most crucial of selling points to ScoreCleaner as opposed to a similarly purposed program like Finale, is its standout level of accuracy and speed that make the end user experience much more seamless and natural; not interrupting creative flow with the need to stop, click and manually adjust converted notes or rhythms. Emtell and Ahlbäck’s collaborative research in designing and perfecting ScoreCleaner sought “to explain how humans understand music on a basic level,” as divulged in the program’s press release.
The coming together of ideas that formed the basis for ScoreCleaner as a functional end-product was a coincidental result of the two men’s respective academic prospects –music cognition (Ahlbäck) and computer science engineering (Emtell)– being the perfect “solution to a problem” kind of fit. The sibling program, ScoreCleaner Notes runs on the same kind of innovative cognition supported structure and is a great logical evolution past simply humming and saving a rough tune to your phone and takes users’s ideas right to music notes they can use or share across social media.
Some aspects of how ScoreCleaner (Notes)’s analysis and conversion power rises above its competitors feels similar to that of the progression from earlier versions of voice transcription programs like Dragon, versus their present day incarnations, as well as the current capability of software like Apple’s Siri. While the specific mechanics behind tech like Siri isn’t broadcast openly for all, its almost flawless ability to account for human linguistic context from regular speech to get proper word conversion seems like the verbal equivalent (at least in practical use) of how ScoreCleaner doesn’t need users to program their playing patterns into the software to improve transcription accuracy –it’s built in for the benefit of the user.
The U.S. distributor for ScoreCleaner and ScoreCleaner Notes is the company ILIO, a company that specializes in music software. Currently, ScoreCleaner can be purchased for $139 USD (full price), $99 (Educator Rate) and $69 (Student Rate). Additionally, a 14 day trial can be downloaded right from here and ScoreCleaner Notes can be downloaded for iOS here. ($0.99)
Below are demonstration videos, the first for ScoreCleaner and then ScoreCleaner Notes:
Kira is an old school music nerd with a love for all things creative; always searching for music’s common ground. She graduated with an M.A. in Performing Arts Administration from New York University. Drop her a tweet @shadowmelody1