Sao Mai Music Reader

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SM Music Reader Banner Eng

Brief Introduction

SM Music Reader is a free Android app for everyone to read music pieces, developed by Sao Mai Center for the Blind. As a non-profit organization, Sao Mai Center relies entirely on our sponsored projects and financial aids from donors. Therefore, your contributions, in any manner, will more or less help us maintain and develop this app, as well as other useful tools for the blind.

SM Music Reader’s user interface is designed to be pretty simple, with the tabs to switch between different windows set on the top; right below those are the main contents of the active window and its customizing toolbars on the bottom. On the top right of the screen, there is a More Options button to access the main menu of the app.

SM Music Reader currently provides the following features:

  • Read music files written in MusicXML format,
  • Draw sheet music for exchanging scores among both sighted people and people with visual impairment at the same time,
  • Play MIDI files:
    • Navigate by part, by staff, and by highlighted passage,
    • Forward, rewind and automatically repeat,
    • Adjust tempo, metronome, volume and select instruments’ voices.
  • Support reading with screen readers:
    • View the whole part or selected staff,
    • Speak note by note and bar by bar,
    • Speak in order of by voice (horizontal) and by timestamp (vertically),
    • Speak most details of the score like directions, chords, nuances, slurs/ties, ornaments, fingerings/strings, lyrics, etc.
  • Navigate to a certain bar or line,
  • Manage your favorite lists and view the file’s details.

Using the App

List Window

By default, SM Music Reader saves some example files in its working folder. However, users can search for and download their favorite MusicXML files from the Internet and save them in the “Download” or “” folder on their devices.

Tap the “List” tab to list down the file stored in the “Download” folder. SM Music Reader currently supports MusicXML files with .mxl, .xml and .musicxml extension.

Buttons at the bottom of the screen:

  • Download: view items in the “Download” folder,
  • All: view all items in “Download”, “” and all example files,
  • Favorites: view the favorite items added by users,
  • Refresh: reload the item list when a file has already been copied or added but hasn't been listed.

While browsing files, you can tap and hold to open the context menu of the List Window. This menu allows you to add the current file to your Favorites, delete it from the list and view more detailed information about it.

After you have tapped to open a score from the list, it will be opened in the “Score” window. Please be noted that there will be a notification to let you know the file is being processed. Moreover, when the score includes multiple parts (more than 3 musical instruments), another window will open so that you can choose which part you want to read.

Screenshot XML

Score Window

After you have opened a score, it will be shown in the “Score” window and some reading/listening option buttons will be shown on the bottom of the screen.

You can tap (or double-tap when using with Talkback) on the score to open its menu, which allows you to mark the passage you want to play and quickly jump to a particular line or bar.

On the bottom of the screen:

  • Play options: you can choose to listen to all parts, current part, current staff. You can also customize other settings to select a musical instrument, and adjust the tempo, metronome, etc.
  • Other buttons are used to control the MIDI playback, including fast rewind, play, pause, play the highlighted passage, fast forward and loop.

Above those controlling buttons is another line with 2 main items for you to select the part and staff to be read.

Some notes for users assisted by screen readers:

  • By default, SM Music Reader speaks in the note-by-note mode and in the order of voice by voice,
  • Speak all the content details available on the sheet by default,
  • Activate the “More Options” button on the top right of the screen, tap “Accessibility Support” and personalize your setting,
  • SM Music Reader uses standard gestures of Android, so users can interact with it in accordance with their screen reader’s gestures. For example, swipe right or left to read the next or previous content.

Getting Support

Sao Mai Center for the Blind

Address: 52/22 Huynh Thien Loc, Hoa Thanh, Tan Phu, HCM, Vietnam.

Tel: +84-28-7302-4488



You can also subscribe/join the following channels of Sao Mai to discuss and get the latest news about SM Music Reader: