What Software & Programs Do You Use?

Hi Hayden,
Calypso claims to be a sheet music reader/pdf player (amazing, huh?)
The price is only $12 US. But for some reason, there are no reviews and it’s been out a few years.
Forscore is another app that’s very similar and is only $10. US. Users say it imports pdf files and organizes all your music. Both of these apps are found on the apple store and might only be for the ipad? I’m looking for a similar program for the pc, but will settle for one or both of these if I can’t find something …
Yes, the technology is amazing but can be equally distracting as well🤓
Let me know what you find out if you beat me to them.


Hi Del, those are both amazing apps with a lot of great features including the ability to import PDF files, but they do not actually play the PDF files. They allow you to import or record audio and associate it with the PDF files. When they say “play”, they mean “display” the sheet music and follow along in tempo, showing you your place, and automatically turning pages, etc. You can find videos on YouTube that give an overview and go into more depth on the various features.

Hi Mark,
That old adage, " Sometimes it sounds too good to be true," is correct in this instance. I wondered why Calypso gives a pretty good demo of playing back a pdf, yet no reviews on it? I guess the best we can find is a pdf importer (forscore) that organizes sheet music and flips pages.
Hopefully, that technology will be available soon - it would be a great to actually hear the way a song was written and assist those who don’t read well or want to use ear traning.

Thanks for sharing this information guys… I’ve never used anything like this so not much I can add.

One piece of software I forgot to add at the top is the iRealPro: https://www.irealpro.com/

It’s available on mobile (phone and tablet) and also desktop.

Along with Transcribe https://www.seventhstring.com/ - i use these two programs on a daily basis to learn new material and then to practice playing the material over jazz standards.

I advocate the iRealPro in many of the lessons on the site - it can be used to play over jazz standards and also has some great practice exercises.

I guess the software we use, is dependent on our goals and challenges as musicians. For me, each day I want to better my ability to take a solo (iRealPro), and also learn new material from my favourite artists (Transcribe) and so these 2 pieces of software are essential in my opinion.

Many musicians I have studied with/associated with also encourage using these 2 software tools on a daily basis.


For Windows users, here is a link to a page on the iRealPro website where they discuss running iRealPro on Windows.


As you will see, you must install an Android emulator and then install iRealPro from the Google Play store.

I’ve been using the MEmu emulator and it works great.

Awesome, thanks Mark…

I’ve had multiple students ask about the Windows compatibility of iRealPro so this should be very useful… I will reference this thread in the next mail out.

Earlier I posted in the Walking Bass Thread that I’ve just added a new lesson where I demo the iRealPro software in the context of Autumn Leaves walking bass.

Check out the lesson here: https://www.pianogroove.com/jazz-piano-lessons/autumn-leaves-bass-line-2/

In particular, we change the iRealPro metronome to ‘click on 2 & 4’… try it yourself… with practice, you will find your swing feel improves dramatically for any medium to up tempo tunes.

You need to turn off the acoustic bass if you are practicing walking bass lines… because your left hand is the bass player :smile:

But obviously, if you are just practicing rootless voicings over a jazz standard (think Bill Evans Trio) then you do want the acoustic bass in there… I can amend these settings in ‘Mixer’ on my MacBook version… I imagine there will be a similar setting on windows.

We will be further utilising iRealPro for the upcoming ‘12 Bar Blues Tutorial’ section of the website. It is in my opinion, an invaluable tool for any students wanting to improve their time, feel and rhythm. It also simulates a jam environment which is a great confidence builder.

Thanks again for sharing your knowledge on this Mark… much appreciated.

More Information on iRealPro

We’ve mentioned a lot about the iRealPro app in this thread. It’s essential for our study of the blues and invaluable for practicing medium to up-tempo tunes.

I’ve received another question from one of our students and thought it would be nice to post it here:

If you have an iPad/Macbook/iPhone, you can go directly to the App Store and search for “iRealPro”.

There is both desktop version (for laptop/computer) and mobile version (for iPad/Tablets/iPhone).

It’s a one-time time $12 fee to download the software.

Here is their main website where you can find more information: https://irealpro.com/

For Windows and Android Tablets/Phones, you can download the app here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.massimobiolcati.irealb&hl=en

For Apple Users (Mac, MacBook, iPad, iPhone), you can download the app here: ‎iReal Pro on the App Store

The next step is to download the songs. This is free…

If you are using the laptop desktop version, you can simply navigate here and click the ‘1300 jazz standards’ link: Jazz 1350 Standards

This will download the tunes directly into your iRealPro app.

If you are using iPad/Tablet - you need to click on the globe icon, which will take you to the forum, then click into ‘Jazz’ and you will find the jazz standard download.

Click on the blue link and all of the songs will automatically be imported :slight_smile:

(If you are using the iPhone/iPad version… you must click on the globe icon to access the forum… see below)

You can also find practice exercises…. click on the Globe Icon in the app, and it will take you to the forum, you can then go into ‘Jazz’ and find lots of downloads.

I show you how to do it in this lesson: Practicing Rootless 251s with iRealPro | PianoGroove.com

Hello all, I just found this area when looking for the transcription thread.
i am rather illiterate with computer complexities…(it’s generational}
for so long I was searching for ariel pro…ha ha…
still do not have it connected to my Imac…
I had success with loading Transcribe App and have now spent hours searching for a site that may not exist… youtube-mp3.org. and then too many options, ads, confusion.warnings etc…
Thank you for the info here, i need help setting things up, i mean i am not even sure what an MP3 is anyway or a midi file.
i have to study. or find a teenager to help…
I know many say. oh it’s easy, just … and it does become easy when you know the tricks.
any advice appreciated
And then I highlight songs and somehow get them into transcribe??? Amazing

PS. I real pro up and working…well,app downloaded, now to take a breath and connect it…my bad for not perservering earlier,

Hi Cheryl :wave:

Please ignore the instruction to use youtube-mp3 … I need to update that lesson.

With the Transcribe Program, you can pull in any .mp3 or .wav file.

So for example, if you have songs in your iTunes, just drag them into Transcribe and they will open up.

You can then slow down the recording, loop it, and use the other features such as “note guesses” and “chord guesses”.

Does this help?

That’s great you have it working Cheryl… it’s a really useful tool for practicing trio and ensemble performance.

Remember to download the 1300 jazz standards from the iRealPro Forum. You can find the link above.

Any problems with the set up, just let me know :slight_smile:

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Hi Haydn;,

I use

  • Piano Companion (a chord and scale dictionary with user libraries)

  • iGigBook (managing PDF)

  • Notion (notation software, IPad and Mac)



That’s awesome Thomas… thanks for sharing these.

The Piano Companion App looks like a very useful point of reference… I’ll check it out further :slight_smile:

I use Anytune Pro + as an audio transcriber assistant - this is only available for Mac/iOS, though a Windows version is meant to be in the works. It has great functionality for slowing down and looping audio parts like many of the others mentioned here, but you can also isolate parts by frequency (takes a bit of practice, mind) which I use when learning pieces by ear - you can also transpose.

It integrates well with iTunes playlists, handy. It’s quite good value for money and simple to use too. Granted, it is a little bit fiddlier to use on iPhone due to smaller size, but I recommend it overall. Here’s a link - https://anytune.us/

This looks great… thanks James.

I’ve always used Transcribe by 7th String but i’ll check this one out later today.

I’ve been meaning to write an in-depth post on Transcribe for this Software section of the forum.

Similar to this one on the iRealPro: iRealPro Backing Tracks Setup

I will get around to the Transcribe “starter guide” shortly.

Thanks Hayden! I got irealpro when I started having vocal coaching last year, but haven’t really used it so far except to figure out how my favourites in there tick. I’m probably really limiting its functionality! Thanks for the signposts in the link above that actually use it. I had ideas about hooking up a Midi keyboard to my ipad and using this but it never quite happened…:roll_eyes:

I have a Bose Soundlink which I use for the iRealPro.


The Soundlink is bluetooth powered, so no tripping over cables :grin: and it really packs a punch bass-wise considering the size which makes the audio quality perfect for use with the iRealPro bass/drums backing tracks.

It’s also very portable and has awesome battery life - easily a few hours of play time from fully charged.

I’d highly recommend it.

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Yes, I have one - they are amazing bang for the amount of buck. Cheers!

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Hi Hayden. Im new to your pro program,which I just joined. I listened to the 12 bar jazz lesson. You opened up a background drumd and bass program. Where is that? Is that part of your lesson? How do I access that?

Hi Andrew :wave:

Welcome to PianoGroove!

Yes that software is the iRealPro App.

I have created this in-depth thread on how to download and install it: iRealPro Backing Tracks Setup

It’s a fantastic piece of software and I use it on a near-daily basis.

I have included information on how to download, how to install the Jazz Backing Tracks Pack, and also how to configure the app.

If you have any further questions you can reply directly in the thread and I’ll be happy to assist you.