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Music OCR

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Title: Music OCR  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Music information retrieval, Sheet music, Optical character recognition
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Music OCR

Music OCR or optical music recognition (OMR) is the application of optical character recognition to interpret sheet music or printed scores into editable or playable form. Once captured digitally, the music can be saved in commonly used file formats, e.g. MIDI (for playback) and MusicXML (for page layout).


Early research into recognition of printed sheet music was performed at the graduate level in the late 1960s at MIT and other institutions.[1] Successive efforts were made to localize and remove musical staff lines leaving symbols to be recognized and parsed. The first commercial music-scanning product, MIDISCAN (now SmartScore), was released in 1991 by Musitek corporation.

Unlike OCR of text, where words are parsed sequentially, music notation involves parallel elements, as when several voices are present along with unattached performance symbols positioned nearby. Therefore, the spatial relationship between notes, expression marks, dynamics, articulations and other annotations is an important part of the expression of the music.

Proprietary software

  • capella-scan Info capella-scan
  • ForteScan Light by Fortenotation FORTE Scan Light
  • MIDI-Connections Scan by MIDI-Connections MIDI-Connections SCAN 2.0
  • MP Scan by Braeburn Music Publisher Scanning Edition. Uses SharpEye SDK.
  • MusicReader by Musicreader MusicReader PDF 4.0
  • NoteScan bundled with Nightingale NoteScan
  • OMeR (Optical Music easy Reader) Add-on for Harmony Assistant and Melody Assistant: Myriad Software OMeR (ShareWare)
  • PDFtoMUSIC by Myriad PDFtoMUSIC
  • PhotoScore by Neuratron PhotoScore Ultimate 7. The Light version of PhotoScore is used in Sibelius. PhotoScore uses the SharpEye SDK.
  • ScoreMaker by Kawai Scoremaker (Japanese)
  • Scorscan by npcImaging ScorScan. Based on SightReader(?)
  • SharpEye By Visiv SharpEye
  • SmartScore By Musitek SmartScore. Formerly packaged as "MIDISCAN". (SmartScore Lite is used in Finale).
  • VivaldiScan (same as SharpEye) VivaldiScan

Free/Open Source Software

External links

  • Optical Music Recognition (OMR): Programs and scientific papers
  • Optical Music Recognition Bibliography: A comprehensive list of papers published in OMR.
  • OMR (Optical Music Recognition) Systems: Comprehensive table of OMR.
  • Assessing Optical Music Recognition Tools Authors: Pierfrancesco Bellini, Ivan Bruno, Paolo Nesi
  • Optical Manuscript Analysis University of Leeds research project.

See also


  1. ^ Pruslin, Dennis Howard (1966). "Automatic Recognition of Sheet Music" ( 
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