MIDI sheet music?

Tuesday 16 March 2004

I like to play the piano. Not very well, but I like to. The problem is finding sheet music on impulse. I hear a song, and would like to play it, but even if good sheet music exists for it, by the time I can get around to finding it somewhere, my interest may have wandered off to another song. Musicnotes has digital sheet music (buy and download a digital file), but their coverage isn't complete (what store's is?)

But there are tons of MIDI files out on the web. For example, Electric Light Orchestra MIDI files (today's song is Mr. Blue Sky). Some are good reproductions, some not so much. But they all are computer-readable lists of notes to play. What if I could convert a MIDI file into printed sheet music? There are MIDI disassemblers out there, but their output is hardly something you could play from.

Lilypond is a GNU music typesetter, and a very powerful one at that. It can turn music notation into a MIDI file, but what about the other way around? Has anyone heard of something like that?

tagged: » 8 reactions


Pensieri Oziosi 6:43 AM on 16 Mar 2004

MidiNotate does a rather good job, provided you run Windows.

Ralph Richard Cook 9:27 AM on 16 Mar 2004

I use Finale Allegro from www.codamusic.com. Just went to the web site and they have a new product, Finale Notepad Plus that says it does MIDI import for $24.95.

caiuschen 11:32 AM on 16 Mar 2004

I used to use NoteWorthy Composer for such, mostly to convert video game MIDI, heh. It is shareware and Windows-only, though.

Greg Watts 12:47 AM on 17 Mar 2004

I haven't used either of them for a while, but I am pretty sure that both Cakewalk and Logic do this automatically - just open the midi file and switch to notation view. Both are pretty expensive!

Marius Gedminas 12:19 PM on 17 Mar 2004

"LilyPond includes midi2ly, a program that translates a MIDI file to LilyPond." (http://lilypond.org/web/about/faq.html)

josja 1:10 PM on 28 Mar 2004

Most of published sheet music is done with Sibelius or Finale. But to interpret midi and notate music is a very difficult thing (as a composer and developer I know). See it as reverse engineering an Windows application and compile it for Macintosh. Impossible to do it fully automated without shortcomings. Notation is done in such a way that humans can read, understand and perform the composition. Sofar I've not seen an automated notation that is readable. In Logic I all ways have to do a lot of editing before I is even readable and can be handed out to my performers. It is the same problem as translating text in one language to another. A human can do a good job but a computer misses important parts of the essence of a text since it only translates the words but without being able to interpret the text as a living human being.

Jason Beals 4:48 PM on 2 Feb 2006

You should also try Sunhawk.com for digital sheet music downloads. There are thousands of titles available and you can preview the first page of each title along with a MIDI sample before purchasing and downloading.

ok 11:24 PM on 10 Apr 2006

My midiman cable came with Cakewalk express which looks pretty fully featured to me. I can play music on the keyboard and print it out as sheet music. I haven't tried downloading midi files from the web to see how they look. All of the samples that came with cakewalk look pretty good. It might do it for you. The cakewalk program does a good job of converting my playing to readable sheet music. After I play I can select the whole thing and round it off (since it records precisely what I played and I'm not on time when I'm reading new stuff.) After I round it to the nearest 1/8th note (or what ever is appropriate) I can make some pretty quick adjustments to anything that didn't work out.

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