Do you want to make the most of your iPad as a musician? You should learn about the best free sheet music apps.
That way, you can download more apps to your tablet without having to spend a ton of money. Some apps do different things, so you can choose one for each purpose.
Before we get into the apps, this post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy to learn more.
Best Sheet Music App
Unfortunately, one of the best sheet music apps isn’t free. However, I believe it’s worth investing in the app forScore.
It costs about $20 as of this writing, but that’s a one-time fee. After that, you can use the app for multiple years without paying more.
forScore is a sheet music reader, and it offers tons of features to make it easier to read and annotate your digital sheet music.
Free Sheet Music Apps for Performing
If you don’t want to pay for forScore, I get it. The app is expensive, and I’ll admit that I lucked out when I bought it almost a decade ago for much less that today’s price.
I haven’t tried other apps just for sheet music reading. However, I’ve heard good things about Piascore and Newzik. Both are free to start using, but they have limits such as to the number of scores you can import.
You’ll need to start paying if you want to access unlimited features. For that reason, I still have to recommend forScore since other apps have subscriptions, but you can use all of the forScore features with the initial purchase.
Free Sheet Music Apps for Exploring
One of my favorite ways to use free sheet music apps is to find new music. You don’t have to worry about paying or waiting for music to ship.
Here are some of the best apps that can help you discover new music to play.
The IMSLP app is probably one of the most famous free sheet music apps. It works similarly to the IMSLP website, so you can search for hundreds of public domain works.
You can download new music right to your iPad. IMSLP even has a sheet music reader, so you can sight-read the music immediately. But you can also export the music to read it in another app, like forScore.
Similarly, you can use IMSLP as your main sheet music reader. The app lets you import sheet music. That makes it a great alternative to for Score and other apps that charge a subscription.
The Henle Library app is another excellent program. If you’ve bought and used print Henle editions, you’ll love this app. You can shop for sheet music from the publisher and load it on your tablet.
I bought the Bach flute sonatas a couple of years ago. That meant I didn’t have to wait for the music to ship to me. I also liked how I could buy only the pieces or parts that I needed.
If I bought a print copy, I would have gotten the flute and piano parts to all of the sonatas. However, I only needed the piano part for the Sonata in A Major since that’s the piece I chose to learn, so I was able to save a bit of money.
The Barenreiter app is similar to the Henle Library app, and I first thought it was the exact same. However, instead of buying regular scores, you can buy and download study scores.
That’s a great option if you want to learn more about orchestral works or other pieces you’re studying or performing. If you want to go into conducting, it can also be helpful.
I don’t have a ton of experience with this app. But even if you don’t want to buy music through it, you can still learn about new pieces.
On your computer, MuseScore is a free sheet music notation app. However, the iPad app is more of a sheet music marketplace and reader. I’ve mostly used the Safari browser version, but it works similarly.
Either way, you can search for scores for your instrument. You can find music by up and coming composers and arrangers. Then, you can download the music and learn it.
If you pay for MuseScore PRO+, you can even read official scores of your favorite pop and movie songs. You can’t download them or use them outside of the app or website, but it’s a good option if you like playing pop music.
Sheet Music Plus
Sheet Music Plus is a website where you can buy digital and physical sheet music. The app is the perfect place to read the digital files that you purchase, so you don’t need a separate app for them.
I’ve bought a piece or two of digital music from them. However, I’ll admit that I haven’t tried the app. If you don’t use your iPad for sheet music that much, this app could be a good solution.
The same is true of the Sheet Music Direct app. It’s another website that sells digital files, so you can download the music you purchase right away.
Free Sheet Music App for Notation
I love using my iPad to notate sheet music. Sadly, most of the good apps cost some amount of money. The free versions of those apps have limitations, like the number of parts you can include or the number of files you can create.
While I haven’t found much success with it, I have tried the Sibelius app. You can use it with your existing Sibelius account. So if you don’t pay for the computer version, you’ll get some basic features.
Of course, you may want to pay to get more features and functions. But the app itself will still be free to use.
Should You Pay for Sheet Music Apps?
You may want to pay for sheet music apps. There are plenty of free options, but I don’t think they’re as good (in some cases).
Especially if you want to read music on your iPad, you should pay. That way, you’ll get as many features as possible, so using your iPad will be much easier.
How Many Sheet Music Apps Do You Need?
You don’t need a ton of sheet music apps. At the very least, I’d recommend using a sheet music reader.
After you get used to using your iPad, you can get some apps to download or buy sheet music. And if you want to experiment with arranging or composing, you can get a notation app.
Will You Download Free Sheet Music Apps?
Free sheet music apps are fantastic. You already have to spend a lot on an iPad, so the last thing you want is to pay for software.
Be sure to consider apps for reading music, exploring, and notating. And if you don’t have one, you should invest in a good iPad Pro to get started with digital sheet music!