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  • Lee Whitmore

Bring Digital Music Scores to Life

I've been having a lot of fun using Newzik. It is a Paris-based web page and app ecosystem for creating interactive and shareable digital music libraries. While it complements music notation scoring software nicely, Newzik is not like Sibelius, Dorico, Finale, or Notion. Instead, as a musician, teacher, and educator, I use Newzik to scan, import, display, markup, share and teach with scores that sometimes come from software like Sibelius or Dorico or from print music that I own.


Here are a couple of ways that I use Newzik.

Digitize Music and Play


First and foremost, I have lots of printed scores that I've collected since I started playing piano as a child. The scores are in my office, closets, and stored in boxes. I've started to scan and archive in Newzik to have my scores available all the time, from my iPad or any web browser.



When I want to play something from my library, I can easily search in the Newzik iOS App or on the web, put my iPad or laptop on my piano, and play


The scores in my library are:

  1. Scanned from my personal library (so I own the scores)

  2. Digital scores that I've purchased from publishers, like Universal Edition

  3. Digital scores that I created or friends have shared with me as MusicXML

The digital scores in Newzik look crisp and clean. I can easily play them with simple turn pages by reaching up and tapping my iPad screen or by tapping a bluetooth pedal. I use a "silent" AirTurn Duo 200.

Teach Music with Scores, Sound, Images, and Notes


One of the pieces I loved learning and performing in undergraduate school is Sergei Prokofiev's Prelude Op. 12, No. 7, "The Harp". Prokofiev wrote the prelude while studying in Moscow conservatory. Not only have I studied and played this piece, I remember using "The Harp" in classroom general music lessons. Newzik lets me do things with the piece that I wasn't able to do before.


Knowing that I can add media to my Newzik scores, I did a quick web search for "The Harp". Guess what I found:

  1. An original audio recording of the composer, Prokofiev, playing the piece on YouTube

  2. A high-quality audio recording of the piece by Lukas Geniušas that I purchased from the iTunes Store

  3. A video performance of the renowned Ukrainian-born pianist Emil Gilels on YouTube

  4. A video performance of harpist Anna Verkholantsava on YouTube

What did I do with all the audio and video media I Found? I scanned my copy of Prokofiev's "The Harp", so it resides in my Newzik library. From web.newzik.com I added hyperlinks to each of the three pieces of YouTube media, and I uploaded the MP4 file that I purchased from Apple's iTunes Store. I then "Recorded" page turns in my digital music score to match each of the four performances. Take a look:



I also added a couple of my own markups of the score made on my iPad with a Logitech Crayon, and by typing in text.



So cool and so fun. Now that I've attached audio and video links to the digital version of my score of Prokofiev's "The Harp", all performances and score are available to me in the cloud. I can add more media and annotations if I choose. Next, maybe I'll record my own personal audio performance, of "The Harp", upload it to Newzik and attach the MP4 to my score.



Check back next month for another SYNC Blog installment of Newzik. I will be testing cloud-based collaboration with my friend and composer, Pedro Osuna.



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