• Aug 30, 2010 - 19:07

I am totally new to MuseScore, I am using the 9.6 version and despite being such a novice I m getting on with it. At percent I am coping note by not and producing scores, great.

I realize that a Midi keyboard can input directly into my computer and MuseScore can work of that.

My big problem so fare is I have several so-fa peaces I want to put into a score, but don’t understand so-fa.. However, a friend can play so-fa, could I make a recording in midi format and use that as an input and play it back into MuseScroe?



In reply to by Nicolas

Thank you very much for your answer. Yes it is solfa we are talking about.

I have seen the to web pages you have suggested.

So what are the mechanics of getting a recorded midi file, for example a piano peace into MuseScore. I have attempted to get a piano Midi file from my computer into MuseScore.

The way I attempted it was to left click on the “s-video” icon at the top of the screen then started the midi file play back on my computer. Nothing happened!! Is there a different process to achieve this.

Should I have done something else?

Or do I need to have the recording on a CD which could be played into my computer?

I have discovered that I can have two files open at the same time in MuseScore and then the process of adding the rythem and one by one placing the notation on the new file is reasonable.


In reply to by Wena D Parry

How would you imagine this working? Are your documents just plain text files containing the solfege syllables? How do they represent rhythms? Is this some sort of "official" format or just something someone decided to try off the top of their head? Can you post an example?

One could probably come up with a way to convert a text file containing solfege syllables into something standard like ABC, then import that into MuseScore.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Solfa was a very popular way of notating choral and other music in the first half of the 20th century.

I have in my possession some hymn books which contain solfa notation in addition to conventional notation, and when I first became Director of music at st Michaels one of the tenors in the choir was fluent in reading this.

The main advantage is that it is not subject to key so the symbols remain the same whatever key it is decided to sing the piece in.

I would reckon there must be thousands of these pieces of music floating around, but this means of notation had gone out of fashion before even I had begun my musical training!

But yes, it is a standard format, and could probably have a plugin written to convert it for use in MuseScore, provided it couild be put into machine readable format.


In reply to by Wena D Parry

I've never been able to quite fathom the rhythm notation - but I'm guessing that : . and , have some meaning here and also possibly -

One thing I do know that octave is denoted by vertical dashes in super or subscript - Superscript means octave up and Subscript means octave down. This means the system is capable of notating choral music within 3 octaves.

How the time signature is given is anybody's guess :)

But the key is always given at the beginning - eg G major or as in Wena's example - Doh G

I'm afraid the relevant hymnbooks are at my new cottage, but once I get properly moved (Friday) I will scan some pages so that solfa and notation can be compared for production of a plugin should someone feel the urge.

In reply to by Wena D Parry

Interesting! Assuming someone can figure out the notation, it does seem like someone could write a utility to convert that into ABC - or, with rather more work, into MusicXML - and thereby get it into MuseScore. Might even be possible to write a plugin to read a text file and build a score directly.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

As I said, 2 years ago, here is an example :
As it's text and not image, it would be possible to process it and convert it to MusicXML. Making a plugin would be nice, but would limit it to be use with MuseScore only. It would be a lot better to create a webservice like abc2xml or nwc2xml.

If the corpus in text format is big enough, the musicologists at Music21 could be interested to import it and support this notation as import. They already have MusicXML export.

A start of specification is
"The notes of the major scale are named (in ascending order) doh, ray, me, fah, soh, lah, te, where doh is the tonic, other notes being thus related to the tonic of the moment, which changes if the piece modulates. Minor keys are treated as modes of the relative major, the minor scale being solmized as lah, te,doh, ray, etc. In notation, the notes are abbreviated as d, r, m, f, s, l, t. Sharps and flats are indicatedby change of vowel, sharps to e, flats to a (pronounced aw); e.g. doh sharpened is de; me flattenedis ma. Colons (:) separate one beat from the next, single dots (.) are used when a beat is divided into two half-beats, and commas divide half-beats into quarter-beats. Horizontal lines show that notes are to be held over a beat (or sub-beat) boundary; blanks indicate rests."

In reply to by Nicolas

Just to clarify, Don G is in deed telling the reader it is in the key of G major.
I have found only one person hear in Wales that reads So-fa.
And he has refused to help. He had lost the copies that I gave him, a good job that they where photocopies.
These I feel are National treasurers.
Thank you all for your input in this matter.

In reply to by Nicolas

If they are still in paper format, then your first job should be to transfer them to text files.

I would think that a Text OCR program given suitable training should be able to help here - there are a couple of open source versions around which a Google search should bring up for you.

I agree - these are national treasures - maybe you should apply for a Heritage Lottery grant to provide money to get them transcribed, but be warned the application process is extremely arduous.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Yes, they are in paper form, and I have a good OCR program, I will do just a whole row at first to see if, its good or not and it will probably needing some editing.

I cant see how that would help, but I will.

Thank you for the suggestion of applying for a grant, as a Christian I would not want a Lottery money.


In reply to by Wena D Parry

I have done the OCR into word and have put a shot of it in an attachment. It will be seen it is creating a lot of mistakes. Attempting to correct them makes more as it tends to put things into little frames as if one was using a spread sheet. I have also attempted to save the file into "TEXT" and that is just as bad in other ways.

The big problems I see in it are the bars are missing,
we have no comers facing the other way
The OCR is not producing consistent text size
because of some of these problems it is also miss formatting the text which would not help to produce a plugin.

But I am hoping there are some bright spark amongst us who can overcome these problems.

By the way, let me complement the forum's activate, it was a job to get information some two years ago. It is great NOW.

Thank you.

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In reply to by Wena D Parry

What OCR software are you using?

You may also find that the scan resolution is relevant.

I usually find that the optimum size is 300dpi saved in 1bit TIFF format.

You need to be using OCR software that you can train to recognise what you want it to for your specific purpose.

I use an ancient version of TextBridge which came with my equally ancient scanner, but which is the best scanner I have had before or since :)

Finally saving into Word is not a good idea for this purpose - you should be saving the OCR output as a txt file.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

I am using Read&Write Gold, that came with my computer some 5 years ago. I always scan at a minimum of 300dpi. But I will look for TexBridge. My OCR will not let me save into txt fil. I did save it into PDF and that allowed me to convert through Adobe into editable txt, but that wasn't much better.
It is them characters that are missing the wrong way round comers and that. I am still open to suggestions.


In reply to by Wena D Parry

I've been digging out some of my old books and I've transcribed your sample. I'd be willing to transcribe some more for you. It seems that if you found some more volunteers and had a go yourself you could tackle this project.

What with the vagaries of OCR and the difficulty of writing the plugin you'll be looking at just as much work proofing the OCR output and the plugin output as you would have transcribing the hymns from scratch. How many hymns are there? If you're talking thousands then it's probably worth it. If it's less than a hundred then I would look for volunteers. You could oversee and edit the project and maybe produce a template you like so that we are all singing from the same hymn sheet (sorry!).

You could send us scans so we are not duplicating someone else's work and we could post odd passages we are having trouble with for other people to make suggestions.

The rhythms of all the parts will almost always be identical, the voice ranges will not be extreme, and the modulations wil probably be fairly standard.

Are you planning to publish them in hard copy or on the internet, or use them with your own choir?

I am surprised that there are no notation versions of your hymns. What about brass band parts?

Anybody else keen to have a go?


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In reply to by ChurchOrganist

In compound time each quaver would be notated as one beat using a colon. The thin upright line would mark the secondary stronger beats. The rhythm at the end of each bar (and beat 2 in bar one) are definitely dotted quaver-semiquaver rhythms. The triplet in bar one is indicated by the inverted commas.

I think the third note in the tenor part is a misprint and should not be in the lower octave.

Do you think the dotted rhythms would be softened like a foxtrot? They're not notated that way. Is there anything similar in Ancient and Modern? I haven't used mine for so long. It must be in a box somewhere.

In reply to by Myer

It's possibly my jazz infulences coming to the fore :)

But popular music of the early 20th century was often notated with dotted quaver - semiquaver rhythms but intended to be performed in swing tempo ie compound time.

Myabe this convention extended into music for Welsh choirs? I'm no expert on this kind of music so am willing to be enlightened :)

Sadly my copy of Ancient & Modern doesn't include tonic sol-fa, although I remember seeing copies that did from wayback :)

In reply to by Myer

I am overwhelmed Myer at your offer of help, I don't know how many there are of the So-fa ones as I have been able to find some of them in the Salvation Army Books, I HAVE one for 1889, 1900 and one of 1925. Although they are to English words. Some of the tunes I get from which is a great site for this sort of thing.

Others I have found in other places. I will if you don't mind post one at a time, or I have some interesting ones as the authors are people I know about as one who has made a study of the Welsh Language Salvation Army from its beginnings in Wales. I will include a information about the hymn and there backgrounds.

The big problem is that it is over 657Kb

So hear is the first one

The first send a batch of a few of them, later today. Although I would like to learn how to do it myself in case I get some more.

But any volunteers

Wena D. Parry

In reply to by Wena D Parry

If someone can work on a plugin then that's a great idea as well even if you have to retype the original Sol-Fa. I haven't gotten round to working out how to write a simple plug-in yet though I'd like to try. I haven't found the need to use them anyway except out of curiosity. I'm just in awe of our developers and how they can write the code for such a fantastic program. I've only been using MuseScore since 1.1 on a Macbook and Windows XP and it's already better in almost all respects than the commercial program I was using before. (Not one of the Big Two but a very well written product not available for Mac). And to be able to use it as a Portable App on a memory stick is fantastic when I'm at school. I am really looking forward to 2.0.

I'll take the first hymn. Shall I repost it here or In Made with MuseScore? Do you like the four-part choral layout or would a two stave layout be more practical?

By the way, are the syllables of achubywyd, achu-b-wyd or a-chu-bwyd or some other division? And you'll probably need to work out how to fit the other verses yourself. I find that hard enough with English texts!

In reply to by Myer

Thank you very much Myer.

First I will need to add the words to each hymn.

As I have said I have hundreds of the Welsh hymns by the Salvation Army but about 30 to 60 are in So-fa.Some of the above tunes I have been able to get in other places.

I have been collecting them for years. I hope to publish the whole collection.

By the way I am not a member of the Salvation Army but a retired Welsh Minster of the Independent Congregational Church.

Wena D. Parry

In reply to by Wena D Parry

Myer, I am overwhelmed at what you have achieved from the So-fa, not only the music but having placed the words in the right order, -- IN WELSH. And separating the voice parts, is most amazing.

Was that all in the So-fa?
I will be taking it to our Church on Sunday, will have some people there who will like this.

You have done such a wonderful job of it.
Did you make a plug-in for this?

A tutorial on this would be great.

I have too many questions but will leave it there.

Yours Very Thankful


In reply to by Wena D Parry

Well the information is all there in the tonic solfa once you've learnt how to read it.

If I wasn't so committed with doing stuff for my own church I would gladly transcribe a few for you, but I'm currently committed to providing a sung Gradual for every Sunday, which will keep me busy transcribing plainsong using the Common Worship texts for the next 12 months or so.

If there's anything left to do after that - do please let me know.

In reply to by Wena D Parry

Thanks Wena.

Yes, all the information was in the scan. As usual with these things it would be easier to work from the original than a copy. I printed out your scan and made some notes on the page then worked by hand and keyboard. It didn't take long. I proofed it by stepping through the notes in MuseScore while reading the scan. I spotted some octave mistakes I had made and also suspected that the third note in the tenor part should not have a 1 subscript indicating a low d.

The rhythms are fairly repetitive so I used a lot of cut and paste. As we can't cut and paste lyrics yet I entered all the lyrics for the soprano part first then copied all the notes to the alto part with the lyrics. I then stepped through the notes with the right arrow key and adjusted the pitches by ear with the up and down arrow keys whilst reading the sol-fa. I did the same thing with the tenor and bass parts and then edited the lower parts in the chorus where the antiphonal effect occurs. It's also possible to enter the notes and rhythms on a dummy stave, paste the notes and lyrics from the soprano part, and then cut and paste the notes and rhythms from the dummy stave. This doesn't overwrite the pasted lyrics.

I didn't make a plug-in. I wouldn't know where to start. I'd be keen to learn. Can you write plug-ins?

Is the open score format appropriate or are the notated scores you already have in two stave short score form?

I'll work on a tutorial. Watch this space.

Great credit to the developers as usual. And a great forum, for musical discussion, tips, workarounds as well as for bug reports and future development features. Very helpful members, mostly civilised, and very little off topic. Although I like the occasional neutrino or Higgs boson joke or a comment about the tennis, Tour de France or the weather. And I do like it when people say thank you if they have received the answer they were looking for.

It would be good to meet the developers and users next time there is an event within easy reach.

All the best


In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

I think being able to automatically interpret the sol-fa notes and rhythms would be a good start.

Wena tried scanning a sample for OCR but I think the mistakes would take a long time to edit. I'm not sure if it wouldn't be quicker to re-type the sol-fa notes and rhythms into a stand alone program which then output a MuseScore file (or an XML file for universal use).

Are you a programmer? Is such a thing possible for amateurs using modern programming languages? Years ago I wrote some Basic programs for my own use. What would I use on a Mac?

In the meantime I'm working on a Tutorial which our members will be able to use.



In reply to by Myer

For a quick and dirty script I would use python and music21. Pass Doh as a parameter with a file
Read a line, determine if it's lyrics or note.
Split it in measure.
Split it in beat
Decode beat and create notes using music21 tiny notation
Export the result as MusicXML

I twitted Michael Cuthbert, leader of the Music21 project.

@mscuthbert Hi! Can music21 parse something similar to… Some MuseScore users are wondering

— Nicolas Froment (@lasconic) July 5, 2012

He answered

@lasconic music21 should be able to parse it (putting __ on the same line as Key is uggh though) - I'll put someone on it!

— Michael Cuthbert (@mscuthbert) July 5, 2012

In reply to by Nicolas

I am no programmer ether. I don't know So-fa.

I have been looking for some book to see if I can get to know what the symbols are in so-fa hoping to mechanically be able to place the right notes and length in the right place.

What is music21 mentioned above?

Any ideas how I can overcome this problem?


In reply to by Nicolas

Shouldn't be too hard to do with music21; there are a few tricky cases that always make such things hard (pickups, lines that share beaming information for the line below with text information for the line above, etc.); a good set of solfas would be great to have to test our output. All my programmers are on other tasks today and I'm finishing a complete rewrite of our lilypond output today, so it might need to be a task for next week, I'm afraid.

Outputting tonic solfa from music21 would be even easier if someone cares about having that.

Best, Myke

In reply to by Wena D Parry

I can see that this tune is in the key of “C” “Bywiog” means “Lively” and it declares that it is 2 beats to the bar. So I think I have the starting information so that there is no need for any sharps or flats to begin with. Dose the 2 beats means to quavers?

The “:s” so I understand it is the note “g” but then the “:” Means it is a little longer. Then I have a “:d׀” with a little bar at the back of it and a column in front, what dose that mean?
Please tell me the reason for the individual symbols.
Between these two notes I find “:-” would that be lengthening the notes to lengthen the notes to the start of this bar to the end of it?

In the second bar of the music there is an underline between the “m ׀ :-:r ׀

After that the only thing will be the “:de ׀” in the third bar.

I am most grateful for your help thus far.


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In reply to by Wena D Parry

Try opening the files attached in this post
They explain everything your need to know about the signs. You can ask questions on this other thread. It will be easier.

You are right. In C Major so s means G. The : is the beat limit. So :s is a quarter note G.
d' is D. The ' is for an octave raise. So D one octave higher. The : -- means it goes over the beat, so it's a half note D and so on.

In reply to by Wena D Parry

did you read my tutorial?

Two beats, means quick two in a bar not six. I would transcribe it in 6/8.

|d :- is a crotchet.

The | : : | : : will be the quavers. Quaver upbeat, crotchet, quaver for the whole of the extract except the bass in bar 2 which is dotted crotchet, crotchet, quaver.

The first two notes in the soprano part are 2nd line G and 3rd space C. The superscript 1 means upper octave.

The underline in bar two means sing both notes to the one syllable. Write a slur.

de means doh sharp, so a top c sharp.

Lasconic suggests we continue this on the other thread underneath the tutorial.

See you there


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In reply to by Myer

Myer, I have been looking for your Tutorial, you say some where that it is in a PDF form, I have read everything I can find on the net to do with this subject.

Is there a direct address to the tutorial?


In reply to by Wena D Parry

And this is the MuseScore I have done.…

This the address of my cloud where I have put a peaces of So Fa music and the mscz. I have converted it to Staves in MuseScore, on lessening to it by a good musician I am tolled that the So fa sheet has errors in it. So I am not a musician and cannot correct my score.

The peace is a Folk Music for Children but I cant get a full score in Staves.

Is there any one who will be able to do the job of converting and correcting it to Staves in MuseScore, at a fee!

Wena Parry

In reply to by Wena Parry


Hi Wena

Nice to hear from you again. Here's my version. I think two notes are incorrect. I've printed my suggestions in blue. Change them back to black before you print.

I've changed a few octaves where I think the octave marks are wrong, or missing on the scan.

Your understanding of the rhythms is much better. Most of the pitches are correct but some octaves are a bit wayward. Missing out the key signature in the bass was the main error. Keep at it. You're doing well.

All the best


In reply to by ChurchOrganist

It is very popular in Africa especially in Ghana and Nigeria. Here in Ghana, most instrumentalist don't get the rudiments of staff notation and because there are not much musicians who read staff notation. As such the Tonic sol-fa notation which is easy for memory, its the order of the day. With the tonic sol-fa, about at least 3 songs can be learnt at rehearsal. I for one, have can read the tonic sol-fa and the staff notation very well because I play highlife, jazz and classical genre. I still have the belief that in the near future, tonic sol-fa can be transcribed into staff by a software cause as of now, its done manually. A typical situation can be found in the file below. song is Adom bi by James Varrick Armaah in staff notation then in tonic sol-fa.

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