Making sheet music out of untimed hand played and piano roll midi files

• May 28, 2021 - 15:40

If you look at my profile and scroll through the scores, you'll find that I have made sheet music out of player piano rolls and hand played midi files that I didn't play to a metronome.

MuseScore has an algorithm of some sort that can find the approximate tempo of a midi file and quantify it to that tempo (though the software will remove syncopation and mess up grace notes). I use this to my advantage to make piano roll transcriptions, and sheet music of my own playing.

Unfortunately, the program has a terrible time mapping swing in midi files (especially foxtrots from piano rolls) and I usually have to quantize everything to an 8th note or 16th (depending on if I use normal tempo or double time).

This method is very time consuming and I wish there was a way that the program AT LEAST WOULDN'T REMOVE SYNCOPATION!!!! Correcting the removed syncopation is the most time consuming part of the process.


Have you tried playing wiht the swing settings in the import panel? In general swing shouldn't present any particular difficult - no more so than the usual difficulties inherent in any MIDI import, that is. Can you attach a specific MIDI file you are having trouble with?

But I would also say if the software you are using to record your MIDI file makes the simple act of quantizing "very time consuming", you might consider different software for the recording. Quantizing should be trivially simple in most MIDI recording software (eq, pretty much any DAW).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

It's not that I'm having any particular difficulty but when MuseScore imports a piano roll scan that was recorded with swing (foxtrots played by J. Lawrence Cook are a perfect example) then the swing turns into notes in triplets to simulate swing which is exactly what it is. I have to then select everything except for grace notes, triplet trills etc. and quantize everything else.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Ok here's a midi file of a piano roll that i tried to quantize. It has a constant tempo because it's a timed piano roll puch matrix midi file. I split the tracks to help MuseScore not make an illegible piece of junk but it still couldn't map the swing no matter what setting I used on the import panel.

The second midi file (Your the cream in my coffee) is a straight piano roll scan that is not timed or anything. I've managed to quantify these but only by extensive syncopation fixing and quantization to remove all the swing which in this case is very very badly mapped into a mess of tuplets and augmented notes.

In reply to by Piotr Barcz

Carolina Shout seems off by a fraction a beat pretty much throughout. That is the notes that should be on the beat are not. No doubt that plays havoc with the swing recognition. If you can shift this in your sequencer to coincide with the metronome better, you'll have much better luck I suspect. Also probably better if you can convince your sequencer to output the relevant metadata to the actual piano track.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

It is actually impossible for me to quantify a piano roll without Smart Tempo of some sort. This is a feature only high end paid programs have and I cannot afford to get Logic Pro or Ableton Live, both of which have that feature.

Piano roll scans that I have aren't recorded by me and even if they were there is no way for me to record them to a metronome.

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