By Carolyn Heneghan
To musicians’ delight, augmented sheet music apps have begun popping up in their mobile devices’ app stores over the past few years. The app developers’ intentions are to improve upon the practicing experience by providing playback, feedback and adjustable settings to personalize practice sessions for professional, intermediate and beginner musicians alike.
One such app, Weezic, is now available for free for iPad, following up their Weezic Web app. Weezic aims to offer musicians real time music recognition and analysis by providing a variety of features alongside an interactive composition and live scoring system that evaluates the musician’s performance as he or she goes along.
To begin, click on a piece of music from the catalog on the app’s home screen, and it will download to your device. When it opens, the music page will fill your screen except for buttons and statistics along the bottom and a salmon pink cursor at the beginning of the piece. Press play and the orchestra will begin playing the music while the cursor turns blue and follows each note of the piece as it is played. When the music reaches the end of the page, the app will automatically turn the page for you until you reach the end of the composition.
Selecting the loop option will start the piece again once you reach the end, or you can select certain portions of the piece to be looped for practice.
In terms of what you can play, there are currently 14 pieces available in this free app with a catalog of thousands more on the way. These tracks include several Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart pieces such as Haydn’s “String Quartet No. 35, Op. 42” and Mozart’s “Clarinet Concerto, K.622.” There are selections from other composers as well, such as Gabriel Fauré’s “Dolly Suite, Op. 56” and Franz Schubert’s “Schwanengesang, D.957.” There is usually one movement included, except for Benedetto Marcello’s “Recorder Sonata No. 2, Op. 2,” which has both the first and second movements, and Vincent d’Indy’s “Choral varié, Op. 55,” which is the piece in its entirety.
There are many adjustable features which can be brought up or hidden by hitting the settings button at the bottom-right of the screen:
- Evaluation. One of the most valuable features of this app is that it evaluates your progress as you perform with the orchestra. For example, it tells you how many notes you’ve played out of the total, and it gives you a red, yellow or green rating based on how many notes you hit correctly as well as how on time you hit the notes. This is a unique feature for practicing musicians, who normally don’t have anyone “grading” their alone or at-home rehearsal time. This can give you a better idea of what notes or sections you need to work on in the piece. You can toggle on and off the evaluation mode using the last button at the bottom of the screen.
- Accompaniment. You may not want the featured instrument to play, as you may want to practice those notes on your own with only the accompaniment. Conversely, you may want to play without the accompaniment to match the featured instrument’s playing. Or you may not want either to play with either so you can solely be graded on your performance without any other instruments in the background. For whichever way you choose, the app allows you to toggle on and off the other instruments so that you can select or mute the tracks as you wish.
- Pitch and Tempo. You can play around with the pitch and tempo of the playback. If you want the accompaniment to be adjusted a few pitches or higher or lower, it is easy to do that before and during the song. You can also slow down or speed up the composition’s playback to suit your practicing needs. In that same screen, you can toggle on and off a metronome countdown before the song begins.
- Page Turns: You can select the mode of page-turning—for example, if you prefer the pages to turn based on a certain number of bars or seconds. You can adjust these up and down as you wish to suit your own playing style.
This app has a handful of unique and compelling features that can be handy for musicians as they practice. The Weezic iPad app is currently free to download with more catalog and feature expansion to come in the future. In the realm of augmented sheet music apps, this one could be a great addition for any musician, pro, beginner or anyone in between.