Forscore Vs Onsong: What’s the Difference and Which Is Better?

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If you’re curious about forScore vs OnSong, how these music apps differ, and which is best for you, you’ve come to the right post!

Music Reading Apps

Whatever instrument you play, you live in the best possible time to be a musician. It’s never been easier to learn how to play. There’s an abundance of lessons, resources, and other tools that can help you learn and get better.

In the not too distant past, it wasn’t that easy to find a good music reading app. But today, the market is full of them. What’s more, we musicians have also become picky. But what’s important is that we have a simplified way to learn musical pieces.

There are a few important things that these apps help you with. Firstly, you’ll get the chance to learn music the easier way. They can play the music as the notes or tabs go by. Secondly, you get to learn how to sight-read. And, what’s important to many, you can also write down your original music and play it.

forScore vs OnSong

From the abundance of music reading apps, I’m focusing on forScore and OnSong in this article. And for starters, both are great. But there are some important differences that I will point out.


Essentially, forScore is like a more advanced PDF reader. It’s great for annotation, sharing, and general reading purposes. However, it lacks some advanced features, like changing a key of a downloaded score. As I said, it’s a PDF reader that makes things easier for musicians.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t necessarily a downside. It just makes the app more specific. What’s more, I’d see it as an advantage in some sense. After all, a lot of people just need a reader and other features would get in the way.


One of the main basic features of forScore is its libraries. Its categorization is super-important. Then it also has setlists which is probably the app’s main feature.

In some way, these setlists are like playlists on streaming services. But what makes them even better is that you can order these pieces in interesting ways. For instance, there’s the so-called Fresh feature that organizes pieces by what you still haven’t played after opening the app. This is super-useful for some live performances.

What’s really great is that you can also share setlists with other users. This is extremely useful for bandmates who also use the app.

Sure, the Setlist feature might seem too basic. But this is actually an incredible tool that makes the app very practical.

Of course, the app also allows you to create your own sheet music. The annotation tools are really easy to use. But you’ll need to have the required music theory knowledge to use it. In addition, you have some handy editing tools, and you can add freeform text boxes.

However, some have criticized the lack of a folder-like system. Because of this, it can be tricky to navigate the app while searching for pieces. It’s not impossible, but it takes some time to get used to how the app organizes its content.

In addition, the app also has a metronome and a tuner. But some have been a bit critical about the quality of these features.

forScore Conclusion

At the end of the day, forScore feels like an advanced tool for handling your physical sheet music. That’s forScore’s main purpose, and it does it well.

And if two or more musicians have the app you can connect all the devices and sync turning pages. In short, it replaces your physical sheet music and all the bothers that come with it. 

Here’s a deeper look into forScore and how it works on an iPad.

How I Use My iPad for Sheet Music with forScore


OnSong, on the other hand, uses text files. It processes and formats them for showing them visually. The app also allows you to write these text files and format them the way you want to.

Overall, it’s a very simple tool. The final result is a visual file with lyrics and chords. You can also add different colors to chords for more visual clarity.

OnSong is generally a pretty simple app. It’s really easy to use. However, it’s also very powerful for those who need such a simple format. In short, it’s a super-simple app designed to make things easier for performers.

This video shows pretty much everything you need to know about OnSong.

forScore vs OnSong: How Do They Compare?

While they seemingly serve the same purpose, forScore and OnSong are a bit different. The simplest way to explain it is that OnSong is great for those who need chords and lyrics. Meanwhile, forScore is for more advanced reading, like sheet music.

You can, of course, use forScore instead of OnSong. But you wouldn’t be able to go the other way around. This doesn’t make OnSong a worse app, they’re just different. OnSong is more practical for chords and lyrics. So although possible, it would be a bit impractical to use forScore instead of OnSong.

In the end, it’s important to point out that these are two different apps for different purposes. Sure, forScore is more advanced. It’s also a notation editor, rather than just an adapted text editor. Primarily, it’s a very useful notation reader with some advanced controls.

OnScore is for those who just need a neat tool for chords and lyrics. It’s a much simpler tool. It’s not inferior in any way, it’s just more specific for those who need such an app.

With all this in mind, I’d say that forScore is great for classical, jazz, and session musicians. Meanwhile, something like OnScore is super useful for singer-songwriter performers. Or, it can also be great for beginners who are just doing their first live shows.

Forscore Vs Onsong: Conclusion

I hope this article has cleared up some of the differences between these two apps!

And if you want to read more about music software comparisons on this blog, check out the GarageBand vs Band in a Box blog post!

Lastly, feel free to message me in the comments below if you have questions about this or another music-related topic!

4 Responses

  1. Barbara Webb says:

    I have On Song (I paid $30. For the app) for my ukulele tab sheets with lyrics and chords. My frustration is that when I use my iPad pencil to mark important notes on the page of music there is no way to send a noted page to my group members.

    Will forScore allow my notes to be shared?

    1. Hi Barbara! Yes, according to the forScore website, you can share a permanently annotated PDF file or a special file format (4SC) that includes editable annotations as well as links. You can do this by using the “Share” button in the app’s tools menu. Hope this helps!

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