Downloadable Piano and Music Software
John M. Zeigler, Ph.D.
ome of the best software written is distributed as "shareware." Here we provide a selection of currently available shareware and freeware that you can download to try for free. Note that, while we do not charge for anything on The Piano Education Page, shareware is not "free." You may try shareware at no charge, but if you like it and continue to use it, you must send the author a registration fee. The amount of the registration fee is described in the documentation accompanying the software, as well as the terms under which you may legally use the software. Registration often provides additional benefits, beyond the ability to legally use the software.
We do not endorse or warrant the software here as suitable for any purpose. Although the overwhelming majority of shareware is reliable and safe to use, we specifically disclaim responsibility for any problems that may arise from your use of it, since we cannot control that use. In cases where we have reviewed the software, clicking on the REVIEW! link will take you to our review. If you know of other useful music shareware or freeware, please let us know by e-mail where we can find it and we'll add a link.
Downloading the Software: The programs below can be obtained just by clicking on the underlined title. If your browser generates a message when you click saying that you haven't defined a helper application to handle the ZIP file type, choose the option Save to Disk. If you get a message "Anonymous user access denied", it simply means the server is busy; try again later. Because programs are constantly upgraded and the archives restructured frequently, we cannot guarantee that even our monthly checks of all the links on the site will keep these links current at all times. If you get a "link not found" or similar error, chances are good that you can find the current version of the program by simply deleting the file name at the end of the full URL and connecting to that URL. You should be able to identify the correct file name from the directory listing.
Installing the Software: Note that the programs in the ZIP format are compressed archives that must be decompressed and installed. To unzip ZIP archives in Windows or Windows 95, you should get WinZIP or WinZIP for Windows 95. Programs that, when downloaded, have an EXE extension are also compressed but do not require a separate decompression program. In that case, just run the file and it will decompress itself. Essentially all the Windows programs will decompress into a series of files, one of which will be either SETUP.EXE or INSTALL.EXE or a similarly named file. Run that file to install the program in Windows. Some of the more modern downloadable software with an EXE extension will decompress and install itself automatically in any of the various Windows versions.
Compatibility Notes: Windows95/98/NT/2000/XP/Vista - a 32-bit application that will run only with the Windows 95, 98, 2000, XP Windows NT and/or Vista operating systems on IBM compatible PC's. Windows 3.1 - a 16-bit application that is designed to run under Windows 3.1 graphical operating environment on IBM compatible PC's. Most Windows programs will also run under Windows 95, 98 and NT. DOS - a 16-bit application written for the MS-DOS command line interface on IBM compatible PC's. Most DOS programs will run in a window under Windows 3.1, Windows 95, 98 and, to a lesser extent, Windows NT, 2000, XP and, to a variable degree, 32-bit Vista. 64-bit Vista generally will not run 16-bit DOS software directly, though it will run much of it with a DOS emulator like DOSBox.
Mac - applications specifically for the Macintosh. Some require system versions after System 7, some do not. Applications written for the Macintosh generally will not run on an IBM-compatible machine. Applications written for an IBM-compatible generally will not run on a Macintosh machine. Recent Macs with Intel processor chips may be able to run IBM software, natively, or with an emulator program like DOSBox.
Where possible, the descriptions we give below were taken from the author's description of the program as provided in the downloadable file archive. We do not warrant the accuracy or completeness of these descriptions. In most cases, we have not examined the programs with any degree of thoroughness, except where a REVIEW! link is present.
Computer Sounder (Windows 95 shareware) - a computer synthesizer that has an interface similar to a piano. The program can simulate the sounds of many musical instruments, and it enables you to use the keyboard like a piano.
EarMaster 2.0 is an advanced musical ear training software program for Windows 95 and Windows 3.1. EarMaster 2.0 contains exercises within the areas: Chord, Intervals, Scales, Rhythms and Melodies. EarMaster 2.0 offers a wide range of setup possibilities. You can define your own ear training levels and save them for future use. This makes EarMaster ear training suitable for both beginners and demanding users.
EZPNO Tutor (DOS shareware) EZPNO Tutor shows you how to play your favorite songs step-by-step on a 3D piano! Import MIDI file tracks, or enter your favorite sheet music using the powerful EZPNO Editor. (REVIEW!)
KeyNote Music Drills (Version 1.76 for Windows95/NT 3.51) and KeyNote Music Drills for Windows (Version 1.51 for Windows 3.1) were designed to help music students learn to identify the notes of the bass clef, treble clef, and grand staff, and to locate their positions on the keyboard or guitar fingerboard.
MidiNotate (Version 1.1, freeware for Windows 95, 98, or NT) converts MIDI files to musical scores. Prints entire MIDI file as notated score. Extracts instrument parts, optionally transposed. Displays score to fit window at any zoom level. Highlights notes on screen as they are played. Automatically turns pages during playback. Offers control of tempo during playback. Supports any MIDI sound card, and any number of MIDI devices connected via sound card MIDI Out connectors.
Mozart 3.1 (Windows 3.1 shareware) is a Music Processor for Windows. Using only the computer keyboard, you can create and edit sheet music. This can be printed with high-quality TrueType symbols on printers supported by Windows, and appears on the screen in standard notation as a WYSIWYG display.
A Musical Tutorial Version 1.3 (DOS shareware), A Music Tutorial Version 1.6 (Windows 3.1 shareware) and A Musical Tutorial Version 2.0 (Windows 95/98/NT shareware) A way to encourage musical study using a graphically oriented environment. Treble / bass note & chord sight reading. Associate notes to piano keys. Chord dict. Musical games. Play, view and print scales, chords and triads. User log. Play classics. Print sight reading test papers. Intervals, ear tests, key signatures, etc. Makes music lessons fun for children or adults. (REVIEW!)
Musician's CD Player (Windows 95 shareware) - allows you to transcribe and record music directly from your computer's CD player. With Musician's CD Player you may repeat any section of the music at full speed or at a lower speed by stretching the length of the music--anywhere from 20 percent to 200 percent--without changing the original pitch.
Music Teacher's Secretary (Windows 3.1 shareware) - designed to help with the running of a small private music teaching business.
Muzika (Windows 3.1 shareware) - music notation program
NoteWorthy Composer (Windows 3.1/95 shareware)- NoteWorthy Composer is an award winning music composition and notation processor. It provides for the creation, play back and printing of you own musical scores. Notes and rests are added simply by selecting the item from the dockable tool bar and pressing a key. Use the included tools to automatically transpose, beam, and arrange accidentals in your score staves to make them look professional, create up to eight lyric lines per staff, and add various performance expressions, such as crescendos, fermatas, breath marks, and accelerandos that are recognized and performed during play back.
Piano Professor (Windows 3.1 shareware) - Piano Professor for Windows was designed to help you learn how to read music. Among it's features are: The Note Tutor [teaches the student how to read music and identify the corresponding keys on the piano keyboard], Chord Encyclopedia [a full complement of over 450 chords using sight and sound], Key Signatures Screen [shows the many keys that music is written in], Name that Note [helps you to recognize notes by sound and train your ear], Keyboard Teacher [aids the beginner by explaining the basics of the piano keyboard] and a detailed help system. (REVIEW!)
Play the Blues, Now! (Windows 3.1 freeware) - interactive instruction that guides the beginner through the basics of playing the blues on the piano or keyboard. You'll learn with the benefit of diagrams and charts. And unlike print based instruction, you will be able to hear the examples as well. Everything needed to grasp the basics of blues is presented in the course of five lessons that explain the material in an easy to understand way that everyone can benefit from. The program covers the blues scale, blues chords, 12-Bar blues progressions, theory, turnarounds and more!
Sweet Little Piano (Windows 3.1/95 shareware) - allows the computer keyboard to act as a piano keyboard. Pressing a computer key generates a MIDI note and sends it to the selected device. Different aspects of the generated MIDI message may be changed with different menu commands, keyboard commands, and control bars.
WinOYE (Windows 3.1 shareware) - An ear training program. The program plays melodic intervals, harmonic intervals, short melodies, and two- and three-note chords, which you must play back by pointing to keys on a keyboard it displays
Mac files linked here are primarily from the Arizona Macintosh Users Group FTP site. Additional music shareware can be found there in several of the directories.
ChordLab 1.6 (Mac shareware) - If you ever wondered how to spell a C#maj.7/#11 chord or needed to improve in harmonic ear training ChordLab is for you. ChordLab 1.3 is a utility application that spells and plays chords correctly in music notation. It handles all triads and common seventh chords. Additionally it shows piano keys, guitar tablature or guitar chord diagrams. No more fear of double or even triple sharps and flats. Where grammatically required ChordLab will take care of it. The chords being polled can be displayed in the standard voicings.
Complete Note Speller 1.0 Demo (Mac shareware) - This is a demo version of the complete Note Speller. The Note Speller is part of the on going Music Lab Series which uses computer resources to accelerate traditional musical training and development. The complete Note Speller covers both the Treble and Bass clef as well as chromatic and diatonic notes. Students will be asked to play notes on the computer simulated piano. You may play the piano with the mouse, computer keypad or optional midi keyboard.
Melodic Ear Trainer 1.3 (Mac shareware) - Melodic Ear Training v1.3 is a powerful music sight reading and ear training course for the Macintosh. Students will learn to play and recognize melodic patterns at sight. The Melodic Ear Trainer will play a random pattern of notes on the grand staff from the range that you select. Toggle between diatonic or chromatic notes. Adjust the length and tempo of the melody to match your skill level. Students must play the melody back on the computer piano or optional midi keyboard.
1.1 (Mac shareware) - MusicMentor is a shareware
HyperCard stack to help music students learn to read written music quickly. It shows a
note on a music stave and asks the user to click on the corresponding key on the three
octave piano keyboard within a certain time. The user can change the amount of time
allowed for each note, and also decide whether to be tested on whole notes, sharps/flats,
or both. MusicMentor remembers and tests more frequently on the notes which each user gets
wrong. This version of MusicMentor remembers test results and missed notes for any number
of different players, so that in a class or home situation where there are several
MusicMentor users and only one computer, each user can still have his or her own results
stored. MusicMentor 1.1 requires a 640x400 or larger screen, and HyperCard or HyperCard
Player 2.1 or later.
Take Off With Music1.0 (Mac shareware) - Take Off With Music uses color graphics, sound and animation to arouse people's curiosity and make learning music fun! A random note will be played and highlighted on the piano keyboard. The corresponding notes for the keys will appear below as note buttons on the musical staff. The player must click the correct note button to answer the question. As you answer the right question, the notes on the musical staff light up. Its up to you to set the range, the time and the mode of entree. Young children may type the letter keys on the computer keypad until they learn how to use the mouse.
The Talking Piano Teacher v1.5 (Mac shareware) - The Talking Piano Teacher is a very powerful and complete music note teaching program for children and adults. Learn how good the Macintosh is for teaching music!
Tunefinder 1.4 (Mac shareware) - Tunefinder will search through 8,000 of the most often heard melodies from classical and semiclassical music and show you the source of such a remembered melody. Just click - play eight notes of the melody on a piano keyboard diagram on the screen. If the melody is in the database, Tunefinder will show you the name of the composer, the composition and the movement where the melody occurs. You can also add your own melodies. Great for educators, students and music lovers. Requires HyperCard.