Do you dream of playing Beethoven’s Emperor Piano Concerto to a packed house at Carnegie Hall? Do you long to play the graceful slow movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 21 with a full orchestra?
When I was a teenager there was Music Minus One, which consisted of an LP and a score. I had Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto, because in those days, I had grandiose aspirations that I could hack it as a concert pianist, but the set up was never that satisfactory because I had to leap between the record player and the piano in double-quick time in order not to miss my cue.
That was some 35 years ago, and technology has moved on apace. There are a number of score-reading apps available now, some of which are simple PDF readers while others offer more sophisticated interaction between device and user. Tombooks Tomplay is a new app for iPad and PC/Mac which revolutionises score reading and offers musicians a unique experience – the opportunity to play your instrument accompanied by a full orchestra, just like in a concert hall!
The app has a varied and growing library of scores for many instruments, not just piano, including concertos, chamber music, piano four-hands, pop songs and film soundtracks. You can instantly download a score in PDF format to your PC or tablet, and thanks to Tombooks’ unique technology, Tomplay scores are interactive: they scroll automatically on-screen with a special cursor to guide you through the music. The app allows you to slow down or speed up the accompaniment in order to adapt to your level, with no loss of sound quality, and there are also options to self-record and annotate the score. There is also a function allowing you to practise a specific passage of a piece, in a loop, as well as a metronome to help you maintain a regular pulse.
Add the orchestral accompaniment and the playing experience is transformed.
Tomplay can be used by amateur musicians, teachers and students to explore and study repertoire, and to experience playing with other musicians without leaving the comfort of one’s home or practise room. It makes learning music simpler, more enjoyable and more effective
Tomplay is available for iPad, Mac or PC. Further information at