Video of the Day: iPhone App Plays Sheet Music in Real-Time

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Ignore the obnoxious music playing in the background, which, as one commenter on the YouTube page for this video notes, probably makes for the worst way to present a new application of this sort, and focus on the magic happening on the screen.

Developed by Kawai, a Japan-based musical instrument maker, this iPhone application uses your smartphone's camera to scan sheet notes and play the music back to you in real-time. The app can recognize both handwritten and printed score in any color and even under weak lighting, according to Kawai. "[It] also offers a few other bells and whistles, for example a function that allows you to store the notes you scanned first and play the melody afterwards," according to TechCrunch.

Named Gakufu Camera, the app isn't perfect: While it can read the notes and play tones back, it can't yet get the timing right. But expect the product to improve as Kawai releases new versions. Right now, the app is only available in the Japanese App Store ($4.50/350 yen) for iOS 4.0 and up. "But as Kawai is a global company and the app is already available in Japanese and English, expect it to hit other markets rather sooner than later," TechCrunch notes.

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Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

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