Being a musician of the future, you have more than likely ditched paper chord charts and/or sheet music in favor of a paperless option. Beyond being way easier on the environment (and your wallet), they simply make practical sense.
Most of us carry around a laptop to rehearsals and gigs. And if we do, we already have 90% of what we need to use chord chart and sheet music apps.
Gigging musicians are always finding ways to carry less gear to gigs. Maximizing every instrument case, bag, and road case. Yet there are still some rogue musicians out there carrying a binder full of paper!
If you already have an Apple laptop, why would you also carry a binder? But I'm getting off track. You already know the benefits of paperless chord charts and sheet music. That’s why you’re here after all.
So let’s get to it. What are the best chord chart and sheet music apps specifically for your Mac?
Website : https://powermusicsoftware.com
Price: Up to 5 Macs for £10.00
Trial version includes unlimited purchased songs, but a Product Key is required to add more than 10 of your own songs.
Power Music is probably the most complete app on this list. For any song in your library you have the option of choosing a chord chart, sheet music, or both of them. The view settings are pretty flexible, so you can adjust what you see.
As you’d expect the search capabilities are standard and thorough. One thing that will help the church musicians is the ability to find a song by Bible reference.
All chord charts are transposable (think Chord Pro format), and the app accepts Word documents, PDFs, .rtf, and .txt files.
One really interesting feature is the melody search. Anyone with Presque Vu will appreciate this. If you know the melody of the song you’re looking for, but can't remember what it’s called, you can do a search within the app.
They also wrote a really nice review of STOMP (aw shucks).
Website : http://linkesoft.com/index.html
Price : $17.99
If you’re a utility player/multi-instrumentalist you’ll appreciate the diversity of instruments the app supports. Beyond your standard guitar chord diagrams, you’ll also find diagrams for ukulele, mandolin, and many more.
In line with the band dynamic, you’re able to change the keys of charts on the fly (either temporarily or permanently). This is because the charts are in the very popular and very useful Chord Pro format. Set lists are really easy to put together and save, so you don’t have to spend a ton of time on them.
And if you’re on the road and can’t connect to WiFi, then you’ll appreciate the full offline mode. Just make sure you save your setlists to your device to use this feature.
MusicReader PDF 4
Price : 3 Year Package: $10 USD/year .
1 Year Package: $15 USD/year .
Offers In-App Purchases .
MusicReader is a sheet music app that should be on every Band & Orchestra musician’s Macbook or iMac. Beyond your typical playlists and Bluetooth foot control (with pedals like STOMP), you get really detailed annotation capabilities.
When you step up to the Professional package you get access to a bunch of practice tools. You get a metronome, tuner, and music player to really get those parts nailed. Use the sound recorder to listen back and see what parts might need a little more attention.
In addition to those tools, you also have access to Dropbox synchronization and Bluetooth file transfer (yes please!). That way you can easily get the music out to the rest of the musicians. And perhaps my favorite tool is being able to display your sheet music on an external monitor.
The interface is easy to navigate and easy on the eyes with its daytime and nighttime views. And instead of a monthly subscription you just pay a low yearly price.
Website : https://irealpro.com/
Price : $19.99 (Offers In-App Purchases)
Having a deep library of charts will allow you to easily prep for your live and studio gigs. With the expansive library built into iReal Pro you can search through thousands of charts. This is especially useful if you’re rehearsing for a cover band gig. No need to reinvent the wheel (chord charts) for every song.
If it’s not quite right you can edit the chart as you need to. If you’re composing some avant garde Midwestern Shoegaze Indie tracks, you can quickly create a chart of your own for the other musicians.
For practicing you have the ability to play along to backing tracks in 50 styles (and every key) with varying accompaniment instruments. If you’re dabbling in other instruments you’ll enjoy the ukulele and piano chord charts.
And of course you can control everything on this app with Bluetooth pedals like STOMP.
Website : https://musescore.org/
Price : Free (Offers In-App Purchases)
MuseScore has perhaps the largest library of sheet music on the planet. Possibly in the solar system. (you know something is happening on Pluto if they took away its status as a planet. So what is it government?! What are you hiding from us!). You won't just find Bach and Beethoven either. The library is jam packed with the classics, latest hits, and even independent music.
The scores come in all instrumental flavors. Piano, trumpet, violin, percussion, flute, etc. You’re able to listen to them for their respective instruments, which is a pretty useful feature if you’re unsure of the notations.
You can go farther and listen to the score with all instruments and control the volume of each independently. The loop feature lets you loop a single section to fine tune it.
And lastly, you can do all of this offline once you download the score/music.
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