Ability to convert scanned scores to MIDI or MuseScore format

• Nov 7, 2008 - 06:19

I'd like the ability to convert scanned scores to MIDI or MuseScore format.


In reply to by Andrew Lee

I'm not the main developer. But so far, I think it's very very out of the scope. And furthermore it's very complicated ! You should think about it a minute. Being able to detect note on a image is not trivial at all for a computer.

Back to the subject, I used Photoscore once. It can export musicXML and Musescore is able to read musicXML. Once again Photoscore is not free (at all... 199€). And you will not end up with a perfect result (at all).
You can try audiveris too. It's free. My experience is the result is very bad. But it can export to musicXML too and Musescore can import.

In reply to by [DELETED] 5

When a user of MusicScore wants to scan in some music, all you have to do is:
Make a call to a third party software that will scan for you.
Capture the notes and the import function you already have will do the rest. It may not be a perfect job, but you can at least offer this function to your users. If you need an example, check out PaperPort. PaperPort uses a 3rd party software and makes calls to it. OR - You can get find an OMR program like SmartScore and disassemble it and read it in assembly language. This way you can see how it works. There are functions all ready available in OS systems (Windows/MAC) that make calls to your printer(scanner). All you have to do is read the input. This is not out of the scope. You just have to change your way of thinking. Think outside of the box. This is certainly be a feather in the cap of Musicscore and make Musicscore the number one music software in the world, or at least a very serious competitor.

In reply to by rebelrob

Hi rebelrob,

Feel free to help us a hand and join the developer team. It's out of the scope of the current developers since they are full time on MuseScore core. Indeed, an OMR would be a very nice addon. But MuseScore needs more devs for taking on this. You perhaps?

BTW the name is MuseScore, not Music...

In reply to by Thomas

Hi Thomas
Sorry about the name “musicscore”, I meant “MuseScore”. Sometimes I type very fast and don’t read what I type.

I believed that we should all donate something to make the world a better place, but coding an OMR function a bit much to ask for. I have contributed to MuseScore by pointing out that the math on the input of notes is not correct. The reason for this, is that the memory var that holds the notes value is not reset to false at the proper time. This error causes the music page to display a measure value that does not equal the time signature value. I have even sent screen shots.
Besides, I know some people who are homeless and sleep out in the cold, and are hungry. These are my thought these days.

I went to look at Audiveris and looks like the only Open source software that is license free.
Would that work?
It runs in Java, and I think we need to have a 2 step process to covert the score down to XML and then transfer to MuseScore?

In reply to by Thomas

I struggled with Audiveris and MuseScore for the past 4 hours, but I finally figured out how to make it work without crashing.

By "it" I mean the complete package of scanning a physical score into a JPG, converting it into a digitized score, exporting it to MuseScore, editing and transposing it, and then printing it.

The problem I had was basically that while Audiveris works to import scanned score pictures and clean them up, its MusicXML export feature exports XML files that cause MuseScore to crash, which basically renders it all useless to me because I needed to be able to use MuseScore's additional features (not available in Audiveris) including transposition before I could finally print.

The key was to realize that Audiveris can also export the digitized scores into MIDI format, and it does so accurately (unlike its MusicXML process). Once you have the MIDI, you can import that into MuseScore, and then fill in the minor details that are missing. Yes, it does miss some of the stuff that you would have gotten via MusicXML. But MuseScore kept crashing over and over again no matter how I shortened, editing and otherwise tried to get Audiveris's exported MusicXML into MuseScore.

Using MIDI as the transition format is the best way I've found, and once I figured it out, the details were easy and fast to fix in MuseScore.

Good luck!

In reply to by asleep

A newer non-beta version of Audiveris (v3.4) was released in November 2010.


I haven't got my head round how it works yet. I have downloaded the files to my Windows 7 machine. Can't see an exe file. Anyone know how to install this and get it up and running?

Update. Just found this page with some installation instructions: http://audiveris.kenai.com/

Apparently there is no exe file because it is built with Java. The launch file is audiveris-3.4.jar in the dist folder. When I launch the porgamme with this file, I get a message saying I need the "sToccata.ttf" true type font. Anyone know where I can get this font for Windows 7?

In reply to by xavierjazz

I have vague and distant memories of fonts causing problems in Windows. Hence my caution. I have downloaded sToccata.ttf from


How do I install this font in Windows 7?


Update 1. I found out how to install the font. Right click on the font and select "install" :)

Update 2. I am just trying to get Audiveris to translate a quite poor quality pdf scanned from a 19th Century printed source and it seems to be getting stuck on the "Patterns" step. The progress bar is stuck about a third of the way through this step.

Update 3. Gave up with the poor quality 19th Century pdf and instead tried a very good quality pdf. Audiveris ran through all the steps very quickly. I then exported it to xml and imported it into MuseScore with an almost perfect result! All the notes were the right ones and in the right place. The only problem seems to be the following: the original source pdf is written in D major. The Audiveris translation preserves this. But after the xml file is imported into MuseScore, although the key signature is shown as D major, all the F# and C# notes are given an accidental natural sign and MuseScore plays them back as naturals.

I attach the source pdf file, a screen grab of the translated page in Audiveris, the xml file exported from Audiveris and the resulting exported mscz file from MuseScore.

Attachment Size
Larry_OGaff.xml 41.92 KB
Larry_OGaff.pdf 10 KB
Larry_OGaff.mscz 2.43 KB
Larry_ogaff.png 79.49 KB

One thing to note (heh, see what I did there?), is that I had to get the contrast and brightness of my scan perfect in order to accurately detect the music with audiveris.

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