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My daughter is learning to play recorder and cello. She gets sheet music home to practice.

Is there any way that I can scan the sheet music onto my PC, and play it on the PC?

It would be useful to know about both ends of the price scale. My own aim is for purely amateur purposes, so cheap and cheerful is best for me. I simply wouldn't buy an expensive option.

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@Calum - this is such a specialized thing, scanning sheet music, I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a low end. SharpEye costs 165USD. Recognizing musical characters on lines is very hard to do with a computer, and it's a bit of an art and takes lots of tricky programming to get right, so you're paying for the R&D time. The 30-day trial is likely worth your time, though. :) – J. Polfer Sep 17 '09 at 14:29

The music program Sibelius is good at this sort of thing. They have a package called PhotoScore Lite that will let you scan in sheet music, and turn that into a MIDI composition that you can play within the Sibelius music editor.

You can find it in major music stores. The learning curve might be a little bit steep. I'd recommend asking the person at the music store if they can provide a brief tutorial on how to do what you want to do (I find they are usually pretty friendly). They also might know of a simpler program that can do what you are looking for. Also note that, in general, music scanning programs tend to be expensive because of how specialized they are (Sibelius was, at the time of this writing, around ~300USD).

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From what I can see on the Sibelius website, Photoscore Lite seems to be bundled with Sibelius, rather than being a separate product. also seems to have a product called Photoscore Lite, which is for sale. I'm not sure what the relationship between them is. – Calum Sep 16 '09 at 20:54
+1 For Sibelius. I can't read music, but over the years I've set up computer and audio systems for many professional, talented musicians, and they all use Sibelius. – Collin Allen Sep 16 '09 at 21:12
Sibelius is awesome. Glad I don't have to pay for it though! University labs for the win. – Alex S Sep 30 '09 at 1:54

Have a look at SharpEye.

SharpEye Music Reader converts a scanned image of printed music into a MIDI file, a NIFF file, or a MusicXML file. It allows direct scanning from TWAIN compatible scanners.

alt text

SharpEye is shareware, try before you buy.

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There is an excellent, free program called MuseScore

They will direct you to the free scanner that will output a file that in XML format that then can be imported into musescore.

However, it is in Beta, so there are occasionally unexpected problems and, as with any music software, there is a learning curve.

This program is Open Source and therefore free.

There is wonderful support by the developers and the community.

EDIT: XML not MIDI format.

Good luck.

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Thanks for the link. However, I couldn't find anything about a free scanner. Can you point me in the right direction? Thanks – Calum Sep 28 '09 at 21:45
Try this Link. Sorry to take so long. – Xavierjazz Dec 23 '09 at 15:24
The above link is dead, try: even better is which uses audiveris behind the scenes – sorrell Feb 14 at 16:54

Finale also has this capability

share|improve this answer – Xavierjazz Dec 21 '14 at 21:55

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