Sightread is a free and open-source webapp for learning to play Piano.

Sightread is great for beginners – you can play songs without needing to learn sheet music. Sightread creates an intuitive Falling Notes visualization of a song, similar to rhythm games like Guitar Hero.

Falling Notes with note labels
Falling Notes with note labels

For those who want to learn sheet music, Sightread offers Sheet Hero (beta) mode. Sheet Hero is a halfway point between the simplicity of falling notes and the full complexity of sheet music. Notes are laid out on a musical staff, but timing is simplified. Sheet Hero represents the duration of notes with a tail instead of beat denominations. Key signatures are also optional in this mode. Sightread will by default display a song in it’s original key, but you may change the key to any that you prefer.

Sheet Hero (beta) with note labels
Sheet Hero (beta) with note labels

Getting started

Plug in a keyboard. Start slow. Gradually speed up.

When initially learning a song, we recommend learning left and right hands separately. You should also take advantage of the BPM modifier to slow down a song by at least 50%. It is significantly more helpful to hit the right notes with good form and slowly build up speed than to frantically practice at full speed and build bad habits. This is especially true when combining hands.

If you connect a MIDI keyboard, you can enable Wait mode – the song will wait for you to hit the right key before progressing.

Sightread works best in conjunction with a Piano teacher. Falling notes will allow you to have more fun with less experience, but it is no replacement for formal education. Learning music theory will help you get a more holistic music experience than learning solely learning how to play songs.

Music selection

The Sightread catalog has three components: midishare, builtin, and local file uploads.

Sightread includes works from midishare, as well as builtin music from the public domain.

You can upload MIDI files to midishare where they’ll be available for the entire community. If you’d prefer to keep them local, you can also upload them directly to Sightread which saves them in browser storage.

If you can’t find the music you’re looking for on midishare, a Google search is your best bet. Or you can send me an email and I’ll try to help out.

Browser compatibility

Sightread is fully compatible with the latest versions of Chrome and Firefox.

Plugging in a MIDI keyboard will not work on iOS or Safari. This is because Apple has not implemented the WebMIDI spec and also restricts iOS devices from using any browser engine but their own.


We have so many exciting ideas, but we have full time jobs so progress is slow. Things we plan to implement in future releases:

  • iOS App
  • MusicXML file upload and full Sheet Music display.
  • Progress tracking and song scoring to see improvement over time.
  • Difficulty scaling for algorithmically scaling the difficulty of a song up and down.
  • Record a performance in free play and share it with a link.
  • Small training tools and games.


Found a bug or have a feature request? Please file an issue on GitHub or send an email.

Product recommendations

Looking for a Sightread-compatible keyboard? We've got you covered.

Sightread needs a keyboard with MIDI-out, usually via USB or Bluetooth. We recommend opting for USB connection because Sightread is latency-sensitive.

  1. Beginner: The Casio Casiotone LK-S250 has 66 light-up keys which can aid learning.
  2. Intermediate: The Roland GO:Piano has a full range of 88 keys with both Bluetooth and USB connections. It has excellent sound quality and is the keyboard we use ourselves.

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