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Music to Midi programme

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bill\sables 24 Apr 00 - 11:41 AM
KT 24 Apr 00 - 12:04 PM
Malcolm Douglas 24 Apr 00 - 12:23 PM
Lesley N. 24 Apr 00 - 03:37 PM
Joe Offer 24 Apr 00 - 04:45 PM
Jon Freeman 24 Apr 00 - 08:21 PM
SDShad 24 Apr 00 - 09:29 PM
Lesley N. 24 Apr 00 - 09:51 PM
GUEST,Racer 24 Apr 00 - 11:02 PM
Night Owl 24 Apr 00 - 11:21 PM
John in Brisbane 25 Apr 00 - 08:39 AM
GUEST,Racer 25 Apr 00 - 09:56 AM
Jon Freeman 25 Apr 00 - 10:07 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 25 Apr 00 - 05:54 PM
Joe Offer 25 Apr 00 - 06:05 PM
Alan of Australia 25 Apr 00 - 08:41 PM
John in Brisbane 26 Apr 00 - 03:33 AM
MMario 26 Apr 00 - 09:03 AM
Ed Pellow 26 Apr 00 - 09:31 AM
MMario 26 Apr 00 - 09:40 AM
John in Brisbane 26 Apr 00 - 09:57 AM
Steve Parkes 26 Apr 00 - 10:45 AM
Lesley N. 26 Apr 00 - 04:52 PM
MMario 26 Apr 00 - 05:08 PM
M. Ted (inactive) 26 Apr 00 - 08:02 PM
John in Brisbane 27 Apr 00 - 08:21 AM
GUEST,Brigid in the mountains 27 Apr 00 - 08:41 AM
John in Brisbane 04 Jul 00 - 09:55 AM
Lucius 04 Jul 00 - 11:15 AM
GUEST,guitarist 05 Jul 00 - 12:34 AM
M. Ted (inactive) 05 Jul 00 - 10:59 AM
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Subject: Music to Midi programme
From: bill\sables
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 11:41 AM

Does anyone know of a programme whereby you could scan a piece of sheet music into the computer, push a few buttons, and play the tune in midi format. I don't know if it has been done but if not surely some computer wizard out there might be able to think of a way to do it It would be very handy for the players amongst us who don't read music but are able to learn a new tune by ear. Cheers Bill


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: KT
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 12:04 PM

I don't know about that, but I have a related question...What are the 'Catters recommendations for music software? I know there is a lot out there....what are your favorite programs and why? What are they capable of? Also, I have been told that there is a program in the works, where you sing the notes which will then be translated into musical notation. (great idea for those who can't play the keyboard) Thanks, all, and have a great day!


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 12:23 PM

I believe that there is software capable of converting an OCR scan to midi, but that it costs an arm and a leg!  I use an old version of Cakewalk Express (3.02) which came free with a magazine that the publisher sent me by accident; you place notes on the staff using the mouse, and the program plays the note.  With practice you can get quite quick at it.  It's possible to produce complex arrangements with it, though I use it mainly as a learning tool.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: Lesley N.
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 03:37 PM

There is midiscan and smartscore (www.musitek.com) and there's an inexpensive one named Sharpeye (I think). There was an earlier thread about this with some great feedback. Try search for midiscan or sharpeye in the forum search - should turn it up (hopefully!)

None of them perform perfectly - there's usually a lot of fixing up to do afterward, depending on what the quality of the page scanned in was.

Keep in mind if you scan something (American) that is post 1927 without the publisher or author's permission and put it on the web you are violating their copyright.


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: Joe Offer
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 04:45 PM

John in Brisbane keeps leading me to different programs that are supposed to scan printed music and produce MIDI files, and I can't say I'm happy with any of them (but I have to say I certainly appreciate John's efforts and enthusiasm and have nothing but the utmost respect for him even if I like to tease him a bit). Lesley, who posted the message above, has the best folk MIDI site I've found, http://www.contemplator.com.

Maybe I'm a Luddite, but I prefer transcribing MIDI files by hand, using Noteworthy Composer. Noteworthy is a neat, sweet program that seems to be very reliable and stable. I've never had a problem with it.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 08:21 PM

I was one of the ones who tried Sharpeye at John's reccomendation and although I have no software to compare it with, I was quite happy with the accuracy of the scans I tried. I did have a little bit of trouble geting the midi to save - on one I tried, it got the time signature wrong an although it showed all the notes, the "extra" notes were in grey and it took me some time to work out how to do the necessary editing and I found the editor a little quirky to say the least. As I felt the acutal musical translation was good, I will continue to try to learn how to use it.

Jon

(Who feels the same way as Joe Offer about contemplator.com)


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: SDShad
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 09:29 PM

And I'll second Joe's high praise of Noteworthy Composer. It's cheap ($40 registration fee shareware), it's compact (< 800k install file), and has more features than a program its size and price has any right to. It doesn't have the fancy Serious Composer of Complex Orchestral Scores features of Cakewalk or Finale, but it's done just about everything I have wanted it to. Maybe the first version I downloaded didn't, but the current 1.70 beta has added staff layering, which makes it much more versatile.

So even if you use one of the scan-to-MIDI programs mentioned, you could do far worse than pulling the MIDI into Noteworthy to clean it up. It's a nifty music editor that will both open and save MIDIs, and take direct MIDI device input.

Shad


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: Lesley N.
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 09:51 PM

Thanks guys!

I do the same thing everyone else seems to - that is scan it in in one program and clean it up in another. SmartScore was supposed to fix that by having both scanning software and sequencing software - and the result was that both only work 1/2! Despite my years of experience in this, there are still sometimes glitches in midis that I can't understand - where they came from or how to fix... Like Jon, I'll just keep struggling to figure it all out!


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: GUEST,Racer
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 11:02 PM

While we're on the subject, what are the benefits of all of the separate music programs? I use Cakewalk now, but I'm thinking of moving to a more guitar oriented program. I found one that can apparently read tablature; it can also apparently simulate different guitars. I wonder if anyone else has ever used such a program. It would be nice to hear something about it before investing in it.

--CS


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: Night Owl
Date: 24 Apr 00 - 11:21 PM

Racer....what's the name of the program you found that can read tablature????


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 08:39 AM

I'll push Joe's good natured jibes to the side of the plate for the moment and adda few thoughts.

I really like SharpEye. For a lot of music scores, but particularly for those with multiple staves and notated chords, it is much quicker for me than the other alternatives. But it is unusual in some of of its processes and like some tricky programs you will benefit from lots of practice. Having said that though, you can also make a reasonable fist of it the first time you use it.

There are plenty of times when you will need to use NoteWorthy Composer or similar to put the finishing touches on a piece. I prefer NoteWorthy on the basis of value for money, the quality of its on-line support team and the existence of a user forum that is really helpful. It is capable of producing scores of far greater complexity than I will ever need.

NONE of the programs that I've tried (with the possible exception of SharpEye) cope with lyrics in an easy and satisfying way. NoteWorthy is just passable in this regard. The real issue here is the shitty nature of the current MIDI Standard. That's a bigger issue than this thread allows. If anyone feels the urge to start a new thread on the subject of new Standards I'll happily contribute.

KT asked about voice to MIDI converters. The idea is excellent but also somehow flawed. If you can sing/whistle/hum with perfect pitch and keep very close to metronome timing without variation then this sort of program could well be for you. Some of the blurb I've digested seems to come from snake oil salespersons suggesting that anyone can easily do this with their various wares. I haven't seen anything yet that even begins to live up to the hyperbole.

Racer asked about providing some form of comparison of sequencer software. I'll need to think about that one, but my first thoughts are that it might be possible if we restricted the range to a half dozen or so products. One of the problems is that some companies produce such a wide range of products and associated price range. If you restrict the ceiling price to (say) $50 US you won't find too many contenders. I've seen a number of these comparisons on the Web but they become outdated very quickly.

Bye for now, John

PS Lesley's site is of course just sublime
PPS Joe, you'll keep!


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: GUEST,Racer
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 09:56 AM

The name of the program that can work in tablature is Guitar Pro. The information I've found is at www.triplets.com/gp/

I don't know if it'll actually work with a scanner, but from what I've seen, it would be a good program for those that don't read music very quickly.

My music reading ability is piano based (which is stupid because I'm a guitar player), so I have a hard time converting between tablature and regular music.

This program can apparently convert between standard sheet music and tablature. I have no idea how it is able to do this effectively since most notes can be found in multiple places on a guitar's neck.


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: Jon Freeman
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 10:07 AM

I can't answer the guitar-orientated question but a search at http://download.cnet.com/ for guitar lists some shareware and freeware products that may be worth downloading for evaluation. With refrence to the CakeWalk range, it looks to me as if you would have go for Guitar Studio 2 to get the tab features. Cakewalk list this product at $249.

Whith regard to comparisons, NoteWorthy always seems to come off favourably and I would susect that it is one of the best in the $50 category. Another roduct that I would like to hear more feedback on is Melody Assistant which is $15. The biggest attraction with Melody Assistant seems to be the mumber of file formats it can handle.

I use CakeWalk pro audio 3 which is quite old but I find it much easier for arranging MIDI's than Noteworthy. The current version, Pro Audio 9, is $429 but even their "entry level" Home Studio 9 is more capable than mine and costs $129. This is still quite a step up from $50 but it may be worth considering by those who have a little more money to spend.

One important note, the strengh of the versions of CakeWalk I have used lie in their MIDI editing capabilities. They provide a very easy user interface for dragging notes onto a staff, and adjuting MIDI features like track volume, pan, chorus, reverb, temo changes, etc. but are geared towards the MIDI standard which as John has mentioned does have limitations in some areas and I have seen notation (including lyrics) produced by programs like Noteworthy (using it's own file format) that are simply impossible to produce using CakeWalk. The way things stand at the moment, it seems to me that a user has to be clear on what their main aim is, ie. produce notation for printing or to be played as a MIDI sequence before making any software discisions.

John, I would be interested in hearing your (or any other) comments on the MIDI standard but I am not sure where to begin in starting a new thread. Is there a new standard being proposed?

Jon


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 05:54 PM

Just to throw my two cents in--I use Opcode MusicShop (formerly E-ZVision) to write, then I import it to Finale, though I am completely fed up with Finale(too many screens, too many tools), and soon am going to try Overture--

I have Vision, which is the the standard studio sequencing program, but for writing to transcribe, it MusicShop is better because you can see and edit all tracks at once (in either notation or piano roll format)--

I have not done much transcription of guitar arrangements, mostly because I dread all the nitpicky work that you have to do to account for fingerings and strings--

I have found that the easiest thing to do, in terms of converting sheet music to MIDI, is to find a pianist who is a good sight reader and sit them down at the MIDI keyboard-

I think I had a demo of Guitar Pro at one time, and it was more of a tutorial application--you had a guitar neck and you could do various things with it--enter fingerings, etc

I have generally been disappointed with the guitar related software that I have seen and tried, most was much narrower in what it could do than what they led you to believe, and most oriented toward teaching very basic things, without the flexibility to allow more advanced stuff -

My general complaints about software is that it is never as simple as it seems like it ought to be, and it tends to allow you to do complex things that you don't really want to do, but doesn't let you do simple things that you do want to do--

(IMPORTANT !!EXPRESSION OF THANKS) I suppose I should admit that I have grabbed a good many of the MIDI files from Lesley's site and converted them to sheet music for one nefarious purpose or another--

It is hard for me find words to express my appreciation for all the work that you've put into this project--In my opinion, it is one of the most wonderful things on the web--I use it almost every day--

I am a passable sightreader, but like most everyone else, I can memorize melodies much more quickly from listening than from reading--and once I have memorixed, it is relatively easy for me to work out a guitar arrangement--

I also confess to simply sitting and listening to the MIDI files as I read or sing through the lyrics--I have been know to do this late into the nite--

It may not sound like much of a life, but I like it--thanks for making it possible--

Ted


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: Joe Offer
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 06:05 PM

One other advantage of Noteworthy is that upgrades are free, once you pay the $40 registration fee. The registered Noteworthy I have now is far superior to the version I bought a couple of years ago - although they say the registration fee only covers upgrades within version 1.xx, and they may charge once they go to version 2.xx (there's on a Beta for 1.70 now). Cakewalk isn't as generous.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: Alan of Australia
Date: 25 Apr 00 - 08:41 PM

G'day,
I've tried Sharpeye briefly & found it to be quite accurate, but as someone who learnt piano 40 years ago & gave up 37 years ago, I can still sight read well enough to play a tune into a sequencer faster than I can use a scanning program. An entire score would be different, but for melodies only I recommend this method - even a bad keyboard player can get a MIDI file quickly this way.

Cheers,
Alan


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 03:33 AM

On the subject of Guitar TABs I must admit to seeing some better possibilities have seen the following TAB Software Comparison site at http://www.execpc.com/~pgkuchar/tabsftwr.htm The author points out that it is perfectly legitimate to notate tunes using the familiarity of the fretboard and then convert this into normal music notation and finally MIDIs - or start with conventional dots to produce TAB and MIDI. I note that the prices are around the US$75 mark - not too bad if your brain works best around a fretboard. All have downloads to try out.

The other cheap alternative is Power Tracks Pro which starts at $29. Basically it seems to do all/most of the things that normal notation editors do PLUS it prints TABs - PLUS it allows you to record (say vocals) digitally alongside any MIDIs that you create or import. I have a much older version which was not as strong in the notation and recording areas, but still a very good piece of software. It can be downloaded from http://www.pgmusic.com/powertracks.htm - the same mob that make Band In A Box.

Hope that this helps an fretted instrument players out there. Regards, John

As an aside I'd forgotten that I had some freeware written by two students in NZ called RandyTab. It was far too raw to be usable in its earlier life, but I will check whether they've done any further work on it. In the unlikely event that anyone else knows, could you please let me know.


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: MMario
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 09:03 AM

A search for randytab on google pulls up a lot of sites, but their home page is one where I can't go.


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: Ed Pellow
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 09:31 AM

The Randytab homepage is here, but it doesn't look they've done any more work on it.

Ed


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: MMario
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 09:40 AM

Has anyone tried Digital Ear?


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 09:57 AM

I've just had a little play with RandyTab. It's certainly easy enough to load and use and a bit of fun but it doesn't allow you to save your files as MIDIs. It has some basic musical shortcomings (like not allowing dotted or tied notes) but it is probably worth every cent you don't pay for it. As a means of getting notes into a PC I believe the concept is quite exciting - after a few jazz guitar lessons I know the notes and scales on my fretboard moderately well, but I can't play a tenth as well as lotsa others who don't know any notes at all.

MM, I've tried Digital Ear.

Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: Steve Parkes
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 10:45 AM

There's a fantastic all-singing all-dancing program called Sibelius. It does everything, including tab for just about anything. Only snag: it costs about £300 (UK pounds), and the upgrade to the built-in scanner utility is another £250 or so. When I win the Lottery I'll buy it, meantime you can download a 30-day demo.

Sharpeye isn't bad, but doing it by hand is more accurate and probably less frustrating, even if it takes longer. Noteworthy is Utterly Brill - I've actually bought a copy (an Offer I couldn't refuse!), and TablEdit is very good too (I'm saving up for that at the moment). It has a lot of tabs you can download, and handles lots of different instruments (not just strings), even several at once.

It's well worth downloading the demo versions of these programs and trying them out - you can get adept very quickly. When you have, let us know what you think.

Steve

P.S. I ought to add that none of this is a substitute for learning to play an instrument!! Some very useful accessories, though.


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: Lesley N.
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 04:52 PM

M. Ted - I'm glad to hear people can actually convert the midi to sheet music! I'm listed on several "free sheet music" sites - so I get tons of mail saying, "Where is it?" I finally put some info in my intro page about how to do it. As I've never done it myself I'd be curious to know how well it works and how long it usually takes.. I play around with them so much sometimes with tracks, transposing, etc. I didn't think much of it would be useful!!

I too don't have much of a life - the kids and the midis! I'm very glad that my lack of a life has contributed to making someone else's lack enjoyable! It too often sit singing along!

I've used both Midisoft Studio and Cakewalk Home Studio to sequenced stuff - have stuck with Cakewalk. I agree absolutley with Jon as to it's strengths - and also with his summary that the decision on what to use depends a lot upon what you is most important to you - including cost.


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: MMario
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 05:08 PM

Lesley - with Noteworthy it takes about 5 seconds to convert midi to sheet music, and maybe another 30 seconds to delete the non-melody tracks....which I do almost automatically as I am normaly going for the melody only; and I assume with any midi arrangement for PD works that the melody is PD but the rest of the arrangement is not...adding in the lyrics can take longer, but if you have the text where you can cut and paste, it take only a short time as well.


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 26 Apr 00 - 08:02 PM

Lesley,

With the Opcode programs, you basically just open the MIDI file with the program, and there it is--and it is very clean, meaning that there very little that needs fixing up--I have just been using the melodies, so I haven't added lyrics to my sheets, which is not possible, anyway, in the Musicshop(it is basically a sequencing program). Finale is automatically puts the syllables under the proper melody note, which is good, but, like everything else in Finale, there are too many screens and tools required--

I *have* noticed that you tend to fool around with stuff--it takes me more than thirty seconds to clear out the extra tracks, because I tend to listen to each and try and figure out what parts I like--Your melodies are nice and clean, I can not say that for everybody who has had a mind to post MIDI transcriptions of folksongs--

MMario, even though the melody is public domain, the transcription of the melody line is theoretically copywritable, if it has enough differences from other existing transcriptions--since it is a MIDI, it also copywritable as a performance--However, if you note the comments above, we have permission to use them!!


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 08:21 AM

One of the RandyTab authors informs me that they're currently working on MIDI output plus other unspecified refinements. I had also pointed out the inability to handle dotted notes and rests as well as the lack of ties. If anyone else has the urge to try it out please let the authors or myself know of any major deficiencies. I believe that their current freeware product has some potential for Mudcatters to use to notate tunes for the DT. Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: GUEST,Brigid in the mountains
Date: 27 Apr 00 - 08:41 AM

Apparantly there is a brilliant programme called MUSICIAN' CD PLAYER. I have registered it but have not gotten round to ordering it yet. you have to send cash and it comes from Sweden.I will try and find (again) the internent address for you. but basically what it does is you can put in an normal CD in your computer drive and play it. Then with this programme you can make it go slower and pick out particular instruments or voices, which makes itmuch esier to write out or just learn. Do you have cakewalk.? You can download the neew cakewalk score writer from the internet. www.cakewalk.com try it out.


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: John in Brisbane
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 09:55 AM

This is probably as good a thread as any other to provide some updates on useful music software.

The folks at Noteworthy Composer have released Version 1.7 which is a free upgrade for registered users, and of course you can still get exceptionally good use from the free shareware download. Notable among the new features is the ability to alter the number of measures printed across the page to match the lyric line length. Anyone working with vocal harmonies will appreciate the new stuff which allows you to paste staves together for display/printing AND then pull 'em apart again at any time in the future.

Sharpeye has also gone through a number of mods to make it more accurate but the feature I like is the ability to set it to work in batch mode. Just point it towards 20 pages of scanned music images, watch The Bill on TV and come back to see that it's done a lot of the hard work - registered version only. The unregistered version requires you to click on an icon at the end of each page, even so this works very well. In my opinion this program just gets better and better. If you haven't got a scanner I can always mail you some sample images.

I have to admit about changing my views somewhat about the concept of using guitar TAB programs as the foundation or complement for notating tunes. I've been playing with a number of them including MusEdit, Muse, Tabledit and Encore and a couple of others. The jury is still out from my perspective, but if you're one of those who thinks of frets when you're visualising music I can now see that they have a lot going for them.

End of quick update. Regards, John


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: Lucius
Date: 04 Jul 00 - 11:15 AM

Bill Sables, how ya' doing? There is software available, as Leslie N. indicated, it does need cleaning up. Probably would be easier to do as M Ted suggested, and have someone play it in. If you are looking for a particular piece of music, let me know. I have a ton of MIDI files, ready to share.

I've used Finale and Overture and dabbled with Noteworthy and a couble of ABC format programs that are best forgotten. I was heavy into Encore, but now I use Sibelius exclusively. It is a great program, though probably a bit on the pricy side for converting sheet music to MIDI files.

M. Ted, what is your platform? How committed are you to trying Overture?

Lucius


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: GUEST,guitarist
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 12:34 AM

Encore has been great for me, I've used it for all kinds of guitar arrangements -- classical, jazz chord/melody, folk songs w/standard notation and tab, etc. It's insanely easier to use than Finale -- supposedly Finale is "more powerful", but I found the Finale user interface completely exasperating. Generating a tab staff from standard notation takes a few mouse clicks, you can define any tuning for the tab, and it has a good set of guitar fingering and articulation symbols.

Dunno what the status of Encore is these, Passport went under a couple of years ago and the product line was bought by those marketing geniuses behind the G-vox, which can't be good.

(no, it doesn't do sheet music to midi -- it does great midi to sheet music, though)


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Subject: RE: Music to Midi programme
From: M. Ted (inactive)
Date: 05 Jul 00 - 10:59 AM

Lucius, I use Mac, and I am currently running System 8.6--I am hesitant to jump up, because I regularly open things that were written in programs for System 7.0 and earlier, and every upgrade seems to make some function or even a whole program un-useable.

I have been using Overture for a while, (since May 4, to be exact) although just to generate lead sheets from midi files(I am still in the process of setting up my office again, so I can't use my MIDI keyboard, so I just do keypad entries) I don't like the way the staff looks as much as I liked the Finale staff (I can change it, but haven't really had time to fool with it yet) but the notation doesn't need much work at all--

The thing that makes me sick, is that I have gone back and turned MIDI pieces that I have written into Overture Scores that required basically no work to be playable, and it is stuff that I spent many hours cleaning up after converting to Finale, years ago, when it was first written.

I tried Sibelius a while ago, and probably still have it somewhere--I had some sort of techical problem with it, though I don't remember what(may have been running a PPC version on a 68k machine) but I do remember that it at least looked like it would be fun to use (Not a small point,remember, I was using Finale a lot at the time).

I has been a while since I have done any serious work, and I am in the process of getting ready to do a couple of big projects, so I will be remediating my tech skills, and getting up to date on the technology fairly soon (I hope!!)--

Then, I will start to have a sense of what I can manage and what I can't--


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Mudcat time: 23 January 9:44 AM EST

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