Importing printed sheet music into MuseScore

• Oct 1, 2020 - 15:52

It is possible to convert printed sheet into MuseScore (.mscz) file format for playback and editiing.

You will need a music-scanning program like SmartScore (
SmartScore converts scanned and/or PDF image files to the MusicXML format which can be imported into MuseScore. Imported scores appear as the original printed sheet music and are fully editable in MuseScore.


This is a prpriatary commercial software though and costs 79$ to 399$ depending on version and as such your post comes across quite spammy. And it is not available for Linux.
Audiveris does this too and is free and open source

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

There are quite a few "music-scanning" applications out there both commercially available as well as free and open source. MuseScore users who are looking to convert and import sheet music should be made aware that the technology is out there. And by all means, they should be able to test any or all of them free of charge and decide on their own if one or the other program serves their purposes.

The Linux version is under development according the folks at Musitek.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

I have uploaded 4 PDF files (simple to more complex) to the MuseScore PDF conversion page ( Processing was quite slow and eventually, each file failed to convert (Unsuccessful)... this an even stronger argument to interested folks that they should carefully test scanning programs against one another before committing. Finale used to include a light version of SmartScore and was about to add a newer iteration with the release of Finale24. They posted a video showing an accurate conversion from a mobile camera to Finale (via the SmartScore plug-in) which caused an uproar among publishers and composers who came down hard against it. Finale was forced to pull it out before Finale24 was released... not because it wasn't any good, but because it was too good.…

In reply to by Kittifer

And Jojo's point was that you are advertising a product which is not permitted in the forums. I'll let the administrator decide if your posts are considered spam unless you continue to advertise your product, in which case I will report it and you as spam.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

My point here is that MuseScore users ought to be aware that the technology is out there and that testing one system against the other (whether free or commercial) is the best and only way to decide whether or not to spend time and/or money on the effort.

I'm going to assume this is all in good faith, but frankly, this is the forum for MuseScore, not for other, only tangentially related software.

If MuseScore users want to be aware of the options for music-scanning software, they need only perform a quick internet search.

I appreciate that you took the time to post here, but I'd advise deleting this post, since it's really just off-topic.

edit: I see that this is your product, making this post simply an advertisement. In that case, this definitely goes against the spirit of this forum, and I would strongly suggest you delete this (it'll probably get removed anyway).

In reply to by TheOtherJThistle

You are correct. My main purpose is to clear the air regarding music scanning and PDF import into MuseScore. I have searched musescore/community and other forums and found so many layers of confusion and disinformation regarding this technology that I am forced to speak out. See:

Music recognition technology has developed to such a level today that there is no argument whether it works or not. You are also correct that I am associated with the company that publishes SmartScore. I encourage all MuseScore users interested in converting their sheet music (whether scanned or in PDF format) to investigate and rigorously test what is out there today. Here's a place to start (Wikipedia):

In reply to by Kittifer

You might not be aware, but there is a distinction between the .org and the .com site (see and it might be better to continue/keep discussions from one platform on that same platform.

I have no doubt that you continue to develop your product, just like your competitors do as well. I also don't contest that you've likely made major improvements, just like they did. But there is a difference between answering to a relevant topic and creating a topic just for the purpose of advertising your product. Without mentioning the competition, such a post becomes harder to regard in the spirit of "encouraging all MuseScore users to investigate and rigorously test what is out there today".

There is no issue with mentioning your product or the advanced made in it at all, but do it in a relevant place.

Now here's the fun part:

If you read linked topic (apparently the reason for you to be forced to speak out) then you might've come across this particular comment. It explicitly mentions your product.
Or the comment right below it, also evaluating your product.

Now I'll admit that those aren't the most favorable comments about your product. And given that they're from over a year ago, likely (and hopefully) your product has improved since then.

Which brings me to my two main points:
1. Obviously the users are aware of your product, so this post is not just about informing them that your product exists.

  1. If that topic (even if it's just an example for one of the many discussion that happened in the past) compelled you into replying; Why didn't you?
    Why not simply hit that reply button right there? Invite those that have tested your product x time ago to redo their testing; show them what/how you've improved? Perhaps inquiry them for sample scores that didn't work before and show them the current result of using your current version?

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Since you have removed our shoot-out challenge specifically requested by jeetee, I suggest you, jeetee or someone else post a list of Music-OCR/OMR, Music-scanning, PDF-to-XML programs out there and invite interested MuseScore users to download, test and compare respective demo versions. I'll be stepping away from this discussion. Cheers.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

"The folks at Musitek" are SmartScore developers. They are contractors, not employees. They call the shots as to when and how a project is completed. I'm curious... what is your motivation Jojo? Root out potential competitors of MuseScore? I would have thought promoting a TECHNOLOGY (which remains misunderstood by a vast number of folks) that works hand-in-hand with MuseScore would be a boon to your user base. Feel free to delete this thread and any mention of alternative technologies other than Audiveris.

In reply to by Kittifer

I can't speak for anyone but myself, but here's my take:

First, SmartScore in no way competes with MuseScore. It's a technology that can add value for MuseScore users, just as Audiveris can, with different plusses and minusses. We here on this community-driven forum are happy to see information posted that can help MuseScore users discover and use technology that is potentially useful to them. And it's fine by me for employees of the companies providing these technologies to be providing some of this information. But, since it is a community-driven forum, I think it courteous and best for all concerned if people are upfront about their connections when doing so.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Mea culpa. I am associated with Musitek and have said so in this thread. It's true that I didn't state that fact at the outset since there is much sensitivity that a company might use this platform to "advertise" their products and therefore, risk that the topic, as important as it is, would immediately be removed. Yes, I included a pitch for SmartScore. My intent remained the same... to promote music-scanning technology for those who might not be aware that it exists or who misunderstand it. I probably should have announced that I am associated with Musitek and will proceed to pitch SmartScore 64. But I didn't. So call it "spam" and delete the thread. Or sit tight and let's see the results of a music-scanning shoot-out. We'll take the risk of being eviscerated by folks who find SmartScore inferior to its competitors.

In reply to by Kittifer

Again, I can't speak for anyone else - and I should clarify that while I am one of the many volunteer developers of MuseScore, like almost everyone else who can say that, I don't "work for" the company. But anyhow, as far as I am concerned, there is still good information here in the thread, so I wouldn't be in favor of seeing it removed. If it were just generic advertising copy posted week after week that would be another matter - that would seem like spam. But I'm happy to see you continue to contribute information of value here. It just feels better to have things out in the open a little more.

I wish you success, and I hope your product serves the needs of interested MuseScore users well!

May I add one thought to this music-scanning story, for anyone who might be interested?
I own a music-scanning software (it is not important which one) and it works quite good.
However, a musical score can be and often is very complex (even a piano piece, let's not mention the orchestral score). Thus, you have to edit manually many, many things even before you end with the correct MusicXML which you can import in MuseScore and continue with the editing. I do not speak here about some smaller layout issues, but things like the correct total rhythmic value of measures. This editing have to be done using the user interface that is provided by the music-scanning software. The quality/usability of this user interface, of course, is much lesser that the quality of the MuseScore user interface. And that is the weak point.

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