Piano Difficulty Checker

• Aug 3, 2020 - 16:02

Does anyone know of a software or online tool that can scan a pdf or midi file (preferably midi) if the file has only one part (piano), and then output a result based on if it's playable for piano, and if so, how difficult it is? I've been working on a transposition of a film score for solo piano, but I'm not a primary pianist, so I don't know exactly how difficult my transposition would be (also, I've attached my incomplete score's pdf file if anyone wants to take a look at it).
Star Wars Revenge of the Sith for Piano WIP.pdf


Just looking at the score (at work and not at a piano) the there are 2 things that you need to be careful of:
1) having held down notes while other notes are sounding.
2) impossible stretches for a hand.
With issue 1, it's possible to use the pedal to hold down notes while other notes are playing. It is also possible to "half-pedal" where one holds the pedal and sort-of flutters it having notes sustain. But the issue with this can be sometimes the blur of sound is not acceptable.
With issue 1, almost everyone (except the very young) can span an octave. The largest distance that most people can handle is a 10th. It is possible to span more by "breaking the chord" (ie playing it as an arpeggio).
For the most part the piece looks playable. Here's some thoughts on specific bars:
measure 10: holding the half note down while playing the sextuplet may be a little tricky.
measure 15: left hand is OK. This is a playable passage.
measure 26,27: Having the C octave sound may be tricky. The right hand jump of the last 2 notes (F to C) may be a challenge.
measure 40. 41,42,43: half notes are OK. This is playable.
measure 44, 45: holding the tied C half note may be tricky. I'd try to use the pedal here.
measure 46,47: holding the whole notes is playable.
measure 48: The right hand half note being held will be tricky.
... I need to get back to work, but that's my thoughts on this.
Instead of looking for software to do this, just do as you've done and post it and ask pianists what they think. (I'm just a schmoe amateur).
I hope this is helpful. But great job doing this. It's LOTS of work to do this type of thing!!!

Music has so many things going on at the same time: notes, fingering, tempo, dynamics, spacing between notes, etc. I don't think there could be a software that tells you how difficult it would be to play. Looking at that piece, it looks like a typically difficult John Williams score, which means above average, but not virtuoso. I have his transcriptions for Piano for Shindler's List. I think James Horner and Alan Silveresti(?) are more virtuoso piano composers for film.

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