• Sep 25, 2011 - 23:33

Hello everyone

I long wanted to learn the piano part for Coldplay's "Fix You" (acoustic arrangement for piano+voice), however I only found a single version of it on the Internet, on a paid site (sheetmusicdigital.com). I just bought the score of this song from there, and because the score was rendered with the Scorch format, I assumed that I'd be able to also download the music file (in Scorch/Sibelius/MIDI format), however all I got was the PDF, which is of no use to me right now, since what I wanted to do was to transfer the MIDI file to my Yamaha keyboard and to learn how to play this piece using the keyboard's Waiting/Learning Mode .

Is there a way to convert my PDF file into MIDI format (a type of musical OCR, I suppose), while also maintaining the different channels (one channel for the left hand staff, and another channel for the right hand), or would I just have to get the original music file that the sheet music was rendered from?

Many thanks in advance for any suggestions!



"Since you have a clear PDF print of the song, the quickest method is to type the score
into Musescore. "

I am not sure why you say that. The fact that the PDF is digital (i.e. created probably with some music notation software, perhaps even MS, rather than scanned from paper) should make it much more easily readable by an OMR program, because after all it would just be the reverse operation. Typing everythig manually into MS is exactly what I am trying to avoid (i'm also thinking in the longer term, if I'll want to buy other songs in PDF format and convert them to MIDI).

I have tried PDFToMusic, however it cannot convert the file to MIDI.

In reply to by longtalker

"because after all it would just be the reverse operation". In general, a reverse operation isn't always as easy as the original operation. Not all information is necessarily passed to the new format during the original operation, so reversing the operation may start with incomplete information.
In this particular case, OMR is much more complex than creating a PDF from notated music in MuseScore.

In reply to by Jon Foote

I agree - I hadn't thought about it as a reverse engineering feat, which I guess is what it really is.

I've tried SharpEye2 as well in the meantime, and it doesn't seem to do anything useful with my PDF (I've tried several others as well)

I've also tried Smartscore X, which seemed to actually do a pretty decent job. However, it is *very* expensive software so I think I will just start typing the music into MuseScore manually :(

In reply to by longtalker

Unless your PDF is in FAX format (300dpi black and white Tiff) Sharpeye will struggle with it.

Personally I have had very good results from Sharpeye providing the image file is right.

It might pay you to print out the PDF then rescan it in 300dpi black and white.


In reply to by longtalker

PDF2Music will convert to music.XML which is a more sophisticated format. Besides the playing information a midi file will give you, it will retain formatting, text etc.
I am sure, this will make you even more happy as it is extremely useful.
musescore can import music.XML - so this is the option for the professionals.

In reply to by ozcaveman

PDF2 Music works excellently.
The PDF Lontalker is asking about is not a scanned image, it is a PDF produced by a music notation software - so it has vector graphics inside, which means: it is the perfect source for PDF2Music and will work very well.
@longtalker: please have a go at PDF2MusicPro and tell us here about your result.

In reply to by kbundies

This is fascinating, and could be useful to me. I didn't know anything about the creation of PDFs and the use of vector graphics in them. If I can convert a PDF produced by Sibelius (a version without MusicXML export) to MusicXML and import it into MuseScore it may save me some work. It's a pity that PDF2MusicPro isn't apparently available under Linux. I'll have to borrow my wife's Windows PC and try it out.

In reply to by longtalker

PDF2Music Pro does very well export to MIDI too, even if I would suggest to use the Music.xml format (as it will give you more of the original contents).
You can use the Software without restrictions for free.
When it comes to exporting, the unpaid version does it too, just single page by single page - but that’s not ay problem as you can stitch them together again later.

And the cool thing is:

It will even play the song by a virtual singer, reading the song text and converting it into a song with real sung words. You may choose the language of the song text (italian, english, french, german ...)
It is really cool - worth to try !

Attachment Size
PDF2MusicPro exports to MIDI.png 289.64 KB

it might be interesting to know, that Sibelius in its most recent version 7 is able to do the music.xml export.
If it is only a limited job for you, you could even download the fully functional Sibelius 7 demo and do the file conversions in the 30 days the demo is working without registration.

Hi, I'm a computer vision engineer and was wondering whether this is a solved problem? Was thinking an advantage of the CVPR approach would allow user to also take photos of scores for convertion, not relying solely on having the pdf format. If theres a need for it I'll create some open-source software as I have some potential solutions with similarity learning on my mind. What do you guys think?

In reply to by paul.2007@hotmail.it

I purchased SmartScore 3 years ago because it had a specific edition for Guitar, Yey! I pay for that app and it is not easy at all and worse you quickly realize, even as a beginner, that it will only do so much.

That so much was so little that if you want a program that will actually do justice to what was advertised I had to upgrade to the SongBook Edition and quite a bit more money, but I was already caught with one edition and no return.

I have to say that Misitek did give me a bit of a brake, but I paid a lot to this point. However, learning curve was too steep for me and had not touched it since almost my purchase date. Nothing was simple as they would lead you to believe and nothing came out right.

I have been wrestling with purchasing Music to XML put out by the same Musitek and they won't even give you some type of discount to purchase the $100 USD app (App Store). They will, however go the other way and let you buy the full laptop edition for something like half price if you buy PDF-to-XML or Musict-to-XML, I forget the exact name.

Seeing this app got my attention as I played with SmartScore enough to remember the files that were able to export. Using a copied PDF from my laptop I was able to convert the pdf to first a .tif or to the .enf (or the other way around) then from that to .xml file and out came an .xml file that was not exactly accurate but workable I thought. I then imported into Guitar Player Pro.

GPP seemed to give me what I got from SS, but then I got it to also give me tabs as well, but there was a lot of jumble to be fixed. I only spent one night with it, but plan to get back to it and try some different tricks. This is much like what was said above for Finale or Sibelius and the free trial.


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