The small physical size but contrasting vast digital space of smart devices has become the go-to method for handling densely filled libraries of musical scores. Professional musicians – particularly those engaged in work with a regular symphony orchestra – are likely to have what would tangibly amount to boxes and boxes of paper copies. The elimination of this severe bulk has come as a major sign of relief to many.
Aside from saving space however, the digitizing of scores has led to a further futuristic feature: the development of smart score tracking and playing support for musicians looking to more efficiently use their time to improve their skills. Wolfie for Piano is one such app previously featured here, that helps piano students of varying skill levels to hone their practice sessions and accomplish a wider range of exercises even when no one else is around to coach them. Apps like Jammit sit in this sector of ‘practice tech’ as well, but with a focus on the recorded masters of contemporary rock and band music. Intelligent score reading isn’t a new tool but with each new attempt and exploration via new apps, the better the technology becomes.
Cadenza, an app for iOS (iPhone and iPad) is a newer piece of tech in this vein of music technology that has recently completed an update of its own (8 August); tightening its capabilities and earning the respect of musicians and educators alike. Unlike Wolfie for Piano, Cadenza extends to applications for an assortment of instrumentalists that include: violinists, violists, cellists, flutists, clarinetists, oboists, bassoonists, French horn players and trumpeters. (Ironically, there is no support for piano players.) It’s a tool that was conceived and designed by a combination of business savvy professionals and, of course, a plethora of musicians.
Putting it in an elevator-pitch sized description, Cadenza provides smart orchestral accompaniment. Expounding on this one-liner headline, here’s what an aspiring or advanced performer can expect after downloading this free app:
- 225 scores for practicing, covering pieces from ubiquitously recognized composers like Bach, Beethoven and Mozart, in addition to masters likeSaint-Saëns, Schubert, Schumann, and Tchaikovsky, among others.
- Based on your own recorded “takes” of playing through pieces, you can “train” the app’s intelligent system to better know that’s how you like play a piece (e.g. extending/quickening phrases, more emphasized accents, improvised syncopation, etc.). The app listens as a user play through a solo part, determining by that particular individual’s style, when and how they are likely to play the next notes. As users play more, Cadenza’s engine will anticipate users playing sections and score markings in a certain way, catering the accompanying orchestra’s execution to match you appropriately based on previous recordings –if one chooses to “teach” it that particular take.
- Intelligent score reading technology with backing orchestral support. You play at whatever tempo, in your own style, and the built–in accompaniment follows along accordingly. Missed or the occasional off-notes will not cause the AI orchestra to stop.
An $8.99 USD Pro version of Cadenza also allows for specific start and end measure designation within the score recording; delay or advancement of the accompaniment’s inclusion; tempo and tuning adjustment of the backing orchestra; and even the ability to study and review by listening to the accompaniment without needing to play the solo part.
As is often the case with education heavy technology, Cadenza is also catered well to music teachers –not just for the app’s fundamental functionality but for the educational access to these Pro level tools. The benefit is really placed well on potential students, minus a load of fuss and complex school related application filing to make the most of this personal rehearsal software.
Clearly the developers with Sonation Inc. are not looking to let up with the fine tuning of this AI score app and they are in a prime position to do very well amidst the very active and successful trend. All that’s needed right now, is an unrelenting focus on continuous expansion of the core app’s offerings. More instruments, more scores and even more personalization of use where possible, (think of how many penciled notes are in score margins!) are what determine whether an app like Cadenza become’s a musician’s default digital practice tool or whether it gets passed over for another currently ahead in the repertoire game. The latest update is a hefty move in an upward direction though, so, perhaps one day, when they have enough instruments covered, an entire school ensemble can become skilled at their imminent concert programs using Cadenza. There’s a viral YouTube video in the waiting!
Cadenza is available now in the iTunes App Store.
Learn more about the app through the official website and these social media platforms: