Pdf to music score

• Jun 6, 2014 - 08:30

I can't find a recent thread on this, so apologies for starting a new one. The alleged presence of a pdf converter in MuseScore doesn't seem to do much, so I started looking around. To the best of my knowledge, MuseScore does convert Midi files, so I started looking for "pdf to Midi" and got recommended to this one:
"In its trial version, that can be downloaded for free on our site, PDFtoMusic enables to play only the first page of a PDF document, and to export only one page at a time.
You can use it freely with no limit in time, and if it fits your expectations, you can then purchase a personal license for US$ 49 (or 40 euros), in order to process more easily multi-page documents."

So only one page at a time, but otherwise the free version lasts for ever.

I'll probably have more to say after I've tried it, but I thought others might have better products to suggest.


Not sure which PDF facility within MuseScore you are talking about. There is nothing built in to MuseScore itself. But the musescore.com score sharing site *does* incorporate a PDF conversion facility, powered by Audiveris, the open source PDF-to-MusicXML converter. it works reaosnably well, if your expections are set appropriately low. You have to realize this an extremely complex problem; much much harder than simply character recognition. But for sufficiently simple scores, it should give you a reasonable starting point.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I just tried the converter again (the one whose link appears at the top of most MuseScore pages), and again I got the result "unsuccessful". I do realise this is not a simple process, but I hate copying music note by note. In fact, converting jpgs or some other photo format would be even more useful that pdf.

In reply to by rhban

Ok, that is indeed linked to the service on the score sharing site musescore.com. If it's having temporary issues with the server for some reason, you could always install Audiveris yourself and run it on your own machine. But again, don't expect miracles.

As for other formats, they tend not to support multiple pages, which greatly limits their usefulness. They also tend to encourage scores to be score as many different shades of gray rather than black & white, which makes the job many times harder. Most scanning software can convert to PDF for you in one step, so there is really nothing to be gained by supporting other formats. Still, feel free to suggest that to the folks at Audiveris.

In reply to by rhban

I am using Photoscore Ultimate to convert my PDF's into Musescore, it is supposed to be the best, although a bit pricy.
As Marc has already commented, PDF to musescore converters not alway give you what you expect.
I have converted a number of PDF scores with mixed results, nearly all of them I have to go through it measure by measure to seach for errors, and you will find many.
There have been cases, when the PDF is of bad quality, when correcting of errors has just been as time consuming as entering the score note for note.
Even the best quality PDF will not be a straight forward conversion.
Good luck anyway.

In reply to by murray45a

I have had a reply from Nicolas Fromont that looks promising. I confess the trial I made above was dodgy to start with because it contained two tunes, but I made a very quick search for anything I still had in pdf - usually, I painstakingly copy them out or just delete them.

Basically, he was saying I should try a bit harder to find abc versions, which, for the kind of tunes I use for Morris, are likely to be somewhere. I confess I have two sites I do use a lot, but it a tune isn't there, I tend to give up too easily.

In reply to by rhban

none of ocr softwares provides 100% as original scores,
voice 1,2,3,4 (piano part), irregular notes over bars, miscalculated beats per bar
will drive you CRAZY and FRUSTRATED during editing!!

i re-input many pieces of violin & piano d/l from imslp,

some lazy way I used to:-

1. finding midi files online, some midi files exactly what you are looking for.

2. most of ocr programs allows to export to XML format, make a copy of XML
file and use text editor, combined 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 voice or 8,7,6,5,4,3,2,
that means you could copy from mutli-voice or single-voice file.

3. change the page width to 2000mm, show each single bar numbers
will also help to edit.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

After trying some programs like MuseScore import PDF facility (on-line), PDFtoMusic and PDFtoMusic PRO, I realized that there are 2 kinds of PDF scores:
1. Scores made with any music editing sw and saved as PDF file
2. PDF files scanned from a printed score.

Only the first kind works with these programs because the PDf itself contains every separate "score element".
The second type of PDF contains only an image of the scanned page.

To distinguish the two kinds of PDF, simply open it in acrobat reader and try to search a word.
If the search button colors the whole page blue, then the PDf contains only a full page image.

So what we need is a REAL OCR reader made for scanned scores and not for scores saved from other editing programs.
I still haven't found any.



In reply to by pmulazzani

You are right that there are two sorts of PDF. But only PDFToMusic (Pro) is specifically created to deal with the first kind and work on the glyphs and graphical elements (line, ellipse etc..). MuseScore Import PDF inherits from Audiveris, and it's supposed to work with both types of PDF equally well (or bad) since it works at pixel level.

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