Help Using ToneTap Scribe
ToneTap Scribe from ThingTone Software is a music
transcription notepad. Use it to take down musical ideas or
quickly score a melody, phrase, rhythm, or exercise for a
student. Scribe is designed to sit comfortably on your
music stand or in the palm of your hand, running on an
Android phone or tablet.
What makes ToneTap Scribe special is its ability to convert
notes you play into notes on the score. With support for
woodwind instruments (and an experimental “other” category
for you to play or sing to), a teacher, student, or
songwriter can quickly capture and share a musical idea.
Voice students can use scribe in many ways. First as a
pitch pipe to help find pitches and intervals, as well as
to work through a melody, or even to sing a harmony part
along with a short melody. Just enter a part, set a tempo,
and you can play back and sing along with just about any
music you are trying to learn.
Woodwind players can use Scribe simply to tune up and check
intervals, but for many other things as well. For example,
Scribe can help quickly transpose a part into into concert
key just by playing it, say on an Soprano Sax, and sharing
the transcription. It is often helpful to practice duets
and section parts along with the harmony (or melody) part.
Scribe can be used to play one part while you play the
Melody, scale, interval, and sight reading exercises become
simple to create and use in a lesson, and recipients of the
scores you create can hear them without having their own
copy of Scribe - the shared music is a standard MIDI file,
playable on almost every mobile device or computer and
easily displayed in most score-editing software.
As a teacher, you might want to jot down an interval
exercise, a scale, or arpeggio pattern for a student to
work on. Ordinarily you might set this down on paper and
photocopy it, or send out for another instruction book. But
with Scribe you can much more quickly and easily score your
ideas and share them via social media, cloud storage, or
Shared files can be played on virtually any mobile device
or computer without special software, and these files can
be viewed and edited on a score with free editing tools
like Finale Notepad, MuseScore, and others.
As a songwriter, you might want to show a friend or
bandmate something you are working on. With Scribe you can
quickly note down your idea, play it back for yourself
using one of the built-in instrument sounds, then share it
instantly for others to play back wherever they may be.
What Scribe Does
The focus of Scribe is to help you quickly write down a
fairly short musical idea in standard notation, then play
it back, export it for use in other notation software, or
share it from your device in a standard format that can be
reused or played on any platform.
We think Scribe is unparalleled for ease of quickly setting
down notes and rhythms on a musical staff. It offers live
note transcription right on your music stand and a musical
keyboard for fast and accurate note entry. Editing is as
easy as touching a note, replacing it with another, with a
rest, changing its duration, or deleting it in place like
you would backspace in a word processor.
What Scribe Does Not Attempt
While listening to your playing for live transcription,
Scribe can only recognize one note at a time. Chords or
ensemble playing of any kind are not recognized. Also, note
recognition is intended to be done somewhat slower than at
a performance tempo. If you are looking for real-time MIDI
conversion for solo performance, please see our ToneTap
product for Mac OS.
Since working with a full score, and handling the finer
points of music engraving are really the domain of a full
featured desktop application, we do not attempt to
reproduce those features here. Instead, our goal is to give
you the ability to jot down musical thoughts in a clear,
transferable manner, and in short order.
For now, we have deliberately left out key and time
signatures, bar lines, dynamics, and things like repeats,
codas, endings, and transposition. How can I do without
these, you might ask? Through extensive testing we believe
the rapid musical note taking offered by Scribe will make
you more productive without the extra clutter.
Below is a brief description of each section of Scribe and
how to use it.
The top panel labeled “ToneTap Scribe” with the orange
icon, when activated, will listen for your playing while
showing a live audio waveform. It will convert the notes it
hears you play into a notes on the score (but not the
rhythm). Tap the icon to activate and deactivate this
Before you begin using this feature, there are three
1) Your instrument must be properly tuned in order to get
an accurate conversion.
2) The “input instrument” must match what you play (see:
Settings | Input Instrument).
3) Be sure you are isolated from external noise or talking.
A quiet setting works best.
Note Onset and Hold
To give you an idea of how well Scribe can handle what you
play, the “note onset” indicator shows how loudly you
played at the onset of a note. A good level is anywhere
between two and four bars. Similarly, the “note hold”
indicator shows how stable the note is while held. Anything
above one bar indicates that a note has been clearly
Octave and Note Name
You can use the up / down arrows of this control to shift
the notes you play up or down an octave as they appear on
the score. Also, the “note name” indicator will always show
the concert pitch of each note detected. As you play,
strive to perform each note clearly and hold it until you
see that Scribe has a “lock” on the note in the “note name”
When mistakes happen, use the “Delete” button to backspace
over an unwanted note or notes in your score. Most unwanted
notes tend to occur when you accidentally speak or play
with the waveform panel activated. Tap on it to suspend and
resume listening whenever you like.
Duration and Pitch
Located above the score, these buttons are for input and
editing. The duration toggle buttons will set the duration
for the next note you play (or input on the keyboard), and
can also be used to edit a selected note in the score.
These buttons are marked: 1/1 for whole note, 1/2 for half
note, and so on.
The pitch buttons marked: -1, +1, -12, +12, are used to
alter the pitch of a note on the score. For example, with a
touch you can select a note then tap +1 to move it one half
step higher. Or use +12 to move it one octave higher. The
buttons marked with a minus sign move notes lower in
On the score you will see notes and rests entered either by
playing your instrument with the waveform input panel
active, by entering notes using the musical keyboard, or by
a combination of both.
The score can be manipulated by touch. Scroll left and
right with a steady swipe. Select a note or rest by tapping
on it (it will appear highlighted and sound its pitch).
Position the input cursor at the end of the score by
tapping on the empty part of the staff at the right.
Top - scroll to the “top” of the score, or the beginning.
Clear - erase the whole score and start over (with a brief
undo period for mistakes).
Delete - backspace over the selected note, or the note left
of the input cursor.
Play - play back the score using the selected playback
Rest - insert a rest in the score, or change a note to a
rest with selected duration.
On devices with smaller screens, such as most phones, the
musical keyboard can be accessed by scrolling down in the
app with a swipe from the bottom of the screen upward. On
the larger screen of a tablet the keyboard will always be
The musical keyboard can be used at any time to enter notes
onto the score within a one octave range. To enter a C,
press the C button and so on for each note of the chromatic
scale. When you have a note on the score selected, use the
keyboard to change it to a different note. Seven octaves of
input are possible by using the range control, described
The seven small buttons located beneath the musical
keyboard can be used to set the octave range for editing
with the keyboard. The middle button corresponds to
standard black notes shown on the staff. Each left bracket
(“[“) signifies a lower octave, while each right bracket
(“]”) corresponds to a higher octave. Notes on the score
are colored according to their place within this range.
See: Menu | Show Legend for a visual explanation of this
Volume for playback can be adjusted the way you would
expect, by using the hardware volume up/down buttons on the
side of your device.
1) Help - displays this help page.
2) Show Legend - shows how to interpret color-coded notes
on the score.
3) Check for Updates / Learn about Pro - checks for a new
version or product.
4) Settings - brings up custom settings, see the “Settings”
section below for details.
5) Share Score (paid feature) - allows you to save or pass
along your score.
Score sharing will offer you a chance to send your score
(in the form of a standard MIDI file) to another person or
device. The options shown here will depend somewhat on the
apps you have installed and which of them will accept this
type of file for sharing. For example, sharing via
Bluetooth, Google Drive, Email, and SoundCloud are all
possibilities, as are others.
1) Input Instrument - set the specific instrument you will
Supported instruments include:
-Soprano and Alto Recorder
-Soprano and Alto Saxophone
-Experimental: “Other” can be used with piano, voice, and
Each instrument setting limits the range of acceptable
pitches to the natural range of that instrument. If you use
the “other” category of instrument, bear in mind that the
acceptable range of pitches does not extend below C3, or
bass C on a piano.
2) Playback Instrument - set the instrument you want to
hear on playback.
A menu of built-in instrument sounds is shown, including
piano, choir, strings, and more.
3) Playback Tempo - set the tempo you want to use on
For ease of use, tempo in Scribe is given as a descriptive
term (such as largo, andante, allegro) rather than with a