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Author Topic: Music software  (Read 3521 times)

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Chris Brimley

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Music software
« on: August 15, 2014, 06:05:17 PM »

Does anyone know of any software, a bit like OCR for text, that can recognise notes on a stave, and translate it into music software (such as MuseScore)?  It would seem to be technically feasible, and possibly easier than OCR.

The particular benefit of this would be that you could then transpose music quickly into your favourite standard box keys, rather than spending hours rewriting it all manually.   And then you could play it in the original key using a suitable transposing instrument.

You'd have thought players of transposing instruments such as brass or saxophones would probably have thought of this years ago.
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malcolmbebb

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Re: Music software
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2014, 06:08:39 PM »

They tried one for poetry but it didn't scan.
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Steve_freereeder

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Re: Music software
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2014, 06:22:09 PM »

Yes - music scanning / optical music recognition software does exist. I've tried a couple of demo versions with mixed results. You have to be prepared to do a fair bit of post-scanning editing. I suspect that the more expensive software is more robust and gives more reliable results.

Try these for starters:
http://www.myriad-online.com
http://www.musitek.com
http://www.neuratron.com/photoscore.htm
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Re: Music software
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2014, 08:49:35 PM »

Several years ago the Japanese made an organ playing robot that read music via camera and played on real keyboards and pedals with mechanical hands and feet... So music OCR can be done.
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Sandy Flett

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Re: Music software
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2014, 10:53:50 PM »

I have PrintMusic which is budget software made by Finale. It has OCR and if you have a very clean, clear page it does a reasonable job, but even then there is always some editing to do. Bit like the dog walking on its hindlegs - not so much surprised how well it can do it than that it can do it at all.
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Lyra

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Re: Music software
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2014, 11:08:00 PM »

PDFtomusic can export the tunes from pdfs of music made with music software (ie not scans of printed) which you can import into, eg melody assistant or harmony assistant and manipulate there. Harmony assistant will also let you create  melodeon tab from your own defined layout (it says).
The exports are .myr files which you can probably use in other applications?
These are all cheap stuff. I know pdftomusic works - for the rest untested.
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JohnAndy

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Re: Music software
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2014, 11:56:37 PM »

I have tried using Neuratron Photoscore Lite which came with my copy of Sibelius.

You scan a sheet of music and get Photoscore to convert it to Sibelius format. You have to give it a bit of help along the way.

It does sort of work, but it makes so many mistakes that it is actually easier to type the music in from scratch. Particularly because the mistakes it makes usually seem to be things that are really hard to fix in Sibelius :-(

Anyway, I gave up trying to use it a long time ago. The technology would need to get *much* better to be worth using. Given the length of time that's elapsed since then, I suppose it probably will have...
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Bob Ellis

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Re: Music software
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2014, 11:24:43 AM »

I use Personal Composer. You can't scan sheet music with it, but it doesn't take long to type in a tune once you get the hang of the programme. Once it's in there, you can transpose to any key at the touch of a button. It's not as all-singing-all-dancing as Sibelius, but it does everything I'm ever likely to need and it has the important virtue of being only a fraction of the price of Sibelius.
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strad

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Re: Music software
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2014, 11:25:21 AM »

The Scanning version of Music Publisher seems to work OK. Not overly expensive and a very useful program to have anyway. Just google for an overview.

Nigel
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Music software
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2014, 08:30:36 PM »

Thanks all for your helpful suggestions.

I tried Myriad-online first, but noticed it doesn't scan pdf files except those produced by composing software, which rather limits its use, I would have thought, and doesn't allow me to do what I wanted.  (In fact, that hardly seems to qualify as 'scanning', does it?)

Next, I downloaded the demo version of Musitek's stuff, and tried it out scanning a cleanly printed bit of music.  Yes it worked, with not too many errors, but took a long time.  You need to convert it to the Musitek music software, which again takes some time.  I couldn't see how I could then convert it to the MuseScore that I'm familiar with (maybe via a midi file?), but I can see that it may be feasible.  However the price at $399 is perhaps not worth the candle, just for the scanning function.  The other thing is that I compared the time it would take me to input manually and directly into Musescore, and yes, as others have said, that's actually easier - for the purposes I would want it for, anyway.

The Neuratron system again promises to scan well, but again is quite expensive at £199 (may need the full version at £299, not sure).

So I'm going to go back to the manual method, I think.  I think also that greater familiarity with the MuseScore shortcuts will probably bring me speed benefits, anyway.  I was going to try creating a midi file with my FR18, but that's another direction!  Thanks for your help everybody, though, greatly appreciated.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2014, 08:32:11 PM by Chris Brimley »
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Idelone

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Re: Music software
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2014, 11:48:39 PM »


Chris, have you tried TablEdit ?  I realise it will not fulfil your quest for scanning music, but once you've sorted out the keyboard entry method it is relatively quick to produce a score in Musical notation and tablature. It offers the facility of entering tablature in two systems either via notation or by melodeon keyboard numbers, and you can also enter guitar tab as well. Keyboard layouts are also customiseable as well, which is pretty handy. I originally tried their free version, and liked it enough to purchase the full version (a very rare thing for me to do); included in the price are unlimited updates, and from memory it was about £50.
You can source it via the internet, or pm me if you need further details, and if you haven't come across it before, I would be happy to send you copies of music that I've produced using the system.
Ian
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Music software
« Reply #11 on: August 18, 2014, 08:35:43 AM »

Ian, no I haven't tried it, but for those functions I use MuseScore, which I'm very happy with - entering notes is really pretty quick to do on that too.  Incidentally a feature of MuseScore that I do also like is the ability to stretch or compress lines easily, as I always like to have dance music set out so that the repeats come at the end of a line.
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Chris Ryall

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Re: Music software
« Reply #12 on: August 18, 2014, 10:58:22 AM »

If I need a score I use a free graphics app such as mspaint, and chop/change an old one. Better in often something created by one of the Web ABC sites as the music often comes in that way in the first place.  Yes, you often do need to tighten those bars up.  If I need a transpose I'll do it at that stage (freebie on the ABC sites) and also check it's right "by ear".

My point? That the software doesn't need to understand the dot's, you do! :|glug
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The Blues Viking

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Re: Music software
« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2014, 11:14:46 AM »

Am I the only one that still uses staff paper and writes music notation with a pen?

TBV
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Lyra

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Re: Music software
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2014, 11:48:52 AM »

I mainly use a pencil.
And a Moleskine notebook to be posh
but sometimes ....
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Music software
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2014, 01:03:39 PM »

Not at all, TBV - I have some beautifully penned scores from way back, written out by a friend a long time ago with a special italic pen, that I greatly cherish.

But perhaps unfortunately, time moves on.
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Music software
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2014, 01:14:42 PM »

Quote
My point? That the software doesn't need to understand the dot's, you do!

You lost me there, Chris! - isn't that the problem, the software doesn't understand the dots?  Scores were created in an age where artistic expression came first, and reliable data entry a very poor second.  I understand what you mean about pure graphics systems, and some people are clever enough to be able to transpose at sight, but I see the point of scores (or I suppose, ABC) as being a way to communicate a musical meaning as quickly as possible to the performer, to ease his or her task.  Pre-transposition really helps.
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Idelone

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Re: Music software
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2014, 05:46:57 PM »

Chris (Brimley),
The features that are available in TablEdit are too numerous to mention, but it does have the facility to print a fixed number of bars to a line or allow one to alter the spacing at will to suit whatever layout you require. By the way, I'm not trying to sell it to you, and I don't have shares in the company, but it is a very well thought out programme, and I do prefer it to MuseScore.

As for manuscript, many years ago I used to spend hours transposing and writing scores by hand, and what a task that was. I eventually purchased Notator/Creator for recording purposes (running on an Atari, which should date it), and I used that to print out scores. It could be a bit fiddly, but was still quicker, and more visually pleasing, than penning them by hand.

The added benefit of these packages is that you can hear the notes as they are input, and then play back the finished result, thus ensuring that all is correct prior to printing.  The resultant score makes reading, tab or notation, a lot easier.

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Chris Ryall

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Re: Music software
« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2014, 09:15:56 AM »

Quote
My point? That the software doesn't need to understand the dot's, you do!

You lost me there, Chris! - isn't that the problem, the software doesn't understand the dots? k

Well, I am a byearist in music, and a lot of my input comes from snathched field recordings, and of course CDs (also nearly obselete)? But I do occasionally have to communicate outwards. For me that is internet, and Chris Walshaw's invention of ABC is a real boon. It is of course just mustly a typeable verion of dots, but … I type.

As for dots, I convert from ABC if I can. I can read input dots, but it's a bit slow. Machine reading of dots into some internal coding (which could be ABC), understanding it? I guess even playing it for you? Well for me that may be the "step too far" in what is a bit of a dumbing down process.
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Chris Brimley

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Re: Music software
« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2014, 10:00:15 AM »

Idelone, I've checked out TablEdit - it seems remarkably similar to MuseScore in most of its functions, at first sight.  It seems to have been mainly created for stringed instruments, hence the guitar tablature function that MuseScore doesn't have (though MuseScore will give you chord diagrams if you want).  I'm interested to see that you found it easier than MuseScore - any particular respects, or just familiarity with one system rather than another, would you say?

(Just clarifying, neither system will do what my original query was about, but hey, we've moved on a bit.)

The easiest note entry technique for me with MuseScore is where you use a right hand for the mouse to click on the desired note length, and the left hand to specify the letter of the note (a happy feature of a qwerty keyboard being that all the note letters happen to occur under the LH fingers).  (It's not as quick as playing it, but it's not bad.)  An interesting point occurred to me on reading your post, Chris, and that is that isn't this very similar to what you would do with ABC? - and in fact MuseScore will convert ABC.

Drifting again, but another feature I've learned to appreciate with MuseScore is the intuitive way you can quickly arrange the layout of lyrics and chords so that's it's easy to read at the right point in time.  Earlier software (and I think earlier versions of MuseScore) used to get itself into horrible tangles trying to do this sensibly.

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