nkoda certainly occupies the same ballpark as forScore, but there are a few aspects that distinguish the two services from one another. Some of nkoda’s strengths also play to the areas where forScore might improve, making it a good first port of call for those on the hunt for an alternative.
It’s fundamentally another digital sheet-music service, striving to facilitate virtual access to content and empowering musicians to interact with it as practically and as naturally as possible. It does this through two apps as opposed to one, each specialised in its remit. The nkoda library sees to the access side of things, while the nkoda reader concerns interaction.
The library is really where the divergence between the services occurs, for while forScore functions as a kind of gateway to external content, nkoda actually provides it directly. The sheet music itself, sourced from the catalogues of 140 publishing partners - including the likes of Breitkopf & Härtel and Faber Music - is an inseparable part of the package.
On the other hand, although forScore's app closely matches the functionality of nkoda's e-reader, a key difference is that the latter is completely free. It still enables users to upload, organise and utilise all their sheet-music materials, but you don’t have to pay anything for the privilege.
- Instant access to 140 publishers’ sales and hire catalogues, comprising 100,000+ titles - scores, parts, tabs, educational texts and more, for players of all instruments, skill levels and styles
- Manage and share personal materials through playlists, offline storage and unlimited uploads, and make use of cutting-edge score-reading facilities suitable for practice and performance, including annotation toolkits and widgets
- Access to a thriving worldwide community of musicians, including publishers, educational institutions and performing institutions
Positives of nkoda
- Opting for nkoda means that you’re instantly supplied with over 100,000 premium titles of sheet music, editions from over 140 of the world’s leading publishers - as soon as you enter the menu
- nkoda also entails cross-platform availability, but unlike forScore the app's compatible with Android phones and tablets, as well as Windows computers - on top of Apple devices
- Makes more sense financially - not only is the score-reading software completely free, but a small subscription fee will also grant you unlimited access to an entire library of sheet music, bypassing the need to pay for individual titles
What could be better
- Despite the high tally of publishers who have licensed their materials to nkoda, you won’t find content there from some major players in the game, such as Hal Leonard and Henle
- You’re also restricted to what’s in the library, so if what you’re looking for isn’t there, then you’ll either have to wait for nkoda to license and digitise it or find - and perhaps buy - the work in question elsewhere and upload it to the music reader yourself
- It is still a paid service, but unless you’re happy with public-domain content only, which will massively restrict what you can play, then you’re always going to have to pay something