SM Music Reader User Guide for iOS


SM Music Reader is a free and fully accessible app for everyone to read scores written in MusicXML format. It supports drawing the score, playing and reading with screen reader like Voiceover, so both sighted and blind users can exchange the same score at the same time. In addition, the app is also connected to Sao Mai online music library to give visually impaired users access to thousands of MusicXML scores.

As a non-profit organization, Sao Mai Center for the Blind 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.

Contact us via email at: For more information about Sao Mai, please visit About Us page.

SM Music Reader for iOS 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:
    • Play all, by part, staff, current measure and by highlighted passage,
    • Forward, rewind and loop playback,
    • Adjust tempo, customize metronome options, volume and select instruments’ voices for each part.
  • 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),
    • Options to Speak most details of the score like directions, chords, nuances, slurs/ties, ornaments, fingerings/strings, lyrics, etc.
  • Navigate to a certain bar or line,
  • Set bookmarks,
  • Manage your favorite lists and view the file’s details,
  • Access Sao Mai online music sharing library.


Using the App

On the first screen of SM Music Reader, there are following items:

  • Score list: to browse demo, downloaded and favorite songs.
  • SM Music Library: to connect, search and download scores from our online music sharing library.
  • Settings: to configure options for the app including app access permissions, accessibility (for Voiceover to read score) and drawing options.
  • User guide: quick instruction to use the app.
  • About: brief information about the app.


Reading Score

Choose Score list from the first start screen, it will show demo songs which you can double-tap to open it; or, long double-tap to open its context menu to add selected song to favorite folder, remove from list and view sheet info.

On the toolbar located at the bottom of screen:

  • Download: browse downloaded songs.
  • Files: back to the main score list screen.
  • Favorite: browse added favorite songs.
  • Reload: refresh the score list screen to update recent copied or downloaded files.

Choose one demo song from the list to open. If the song has multiple parts, there will appear a screen to select which part(s) you want to read.

You can tap (or double-tap when using with VoiceOver) on the score to open its context menu to see more options such as to mark the passage you want to play, quickly jump to a particular line/bar, view sheet info etc.

Buttons 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 rewind, play, pause, play current bar, play marked piece, forward and loop playback.

Above those controlling buttons is another line with 2 main items for you to select the part and staff to be read. The part selection button is named with current opened part’s name.

Notes for users with screen readers:

  • By default, SM Music Reader speaks in the note-by-note mode and in the order of voice by voice.
  • Speak all available sheet content details by default.
  • From the main screen of SM Music Reader, choose Settings and under the Accessibility options heading to configure screen reader’s reading options for your most convenience such as toggling to read note elements (articulations/direction/technical/play note etc.), speaking mode and lyrics if available.
  • SM Music Reader uses standard gestures of iOS, 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 item.
  • Some scores are formatted with large page size so its content cannot fit on screen. This causes screen readers to access and read correctly. In this case, the app will alert to change the size level. From main screen, choose Settings , Magnification and select the suitable one. 1 has the largest size. Based on the sheet MusicXML layout is the default choice.


Searching Songs from SM Music Library

Users can search and download music scores shared from Sao Mai online music library. So, the device needs to have internet access to use this feature.

Please note, we create this free music sharing library to help people with print disabilities and whom support/teach/work with the visually impaired to enhance their music-related studies and career.

After choosing SM Music Library from main screen, right below the main tabs bar, there is an edit field to search scores by title or composer options. By default, the app will list most recent posted or updated scores.

Tap to open the score. Long-tap (long double-tap for screen reading users) to open the context menu with additional options such as reporting error and viewing song description.

Buttons on the bottom of screen:

  • Home: go back to main screen page as first access to the library window.
  • Left: list 10 previous scores page.
  • Next page: list 10 next scores.
  • Search: go to search screen page if there was search results before,


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:



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