Software to transpose non-digital music?
May 5, 2012 5:28 PM   Subscribe

Is there free or affordable software that can transpose scanned sheet music?

I want to buy a song for an audition that's perfect for me, but it's in a key too low and is not available except in hard-copy form. Is there software that will allow me to transpose it?
posted by lemoncakeisalie to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
What you're a really asking is if there's software that can read sheet music (like, scanning it) into the actual logical notes, right? If there is, I'm not really aware of one.
posted by RustyBrooks at 6:12 PM on May 5, 2012

PhotoScore claims to be able to scan and transpose your sheet music. USD 250.
posted by pmdboi at 6:36 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Do you mean transcribe? Try googling Music OCR (wiki)
posted by Bonzai at 7:11 PM on May 5, 2012

MuseScore (free) ? While I've only used it to transcribe music (as I lack a scanner and have no need to transpose), it should be able to transpose scanned music.
posted by jlkr at 8:16 PM on May 5, 2012

Best answer: I have PhotoScore (which works in partnership with Sibelius), and in my experience it's a massive pain just to get the scanned music into PhotoScore. It'll miss things like the dots on a dotted crotchet and freak out, so you have to go through the whole score and fix everything, and unless you're very familiar with how to enter music in Sibelius, it can take a really long time. It also often misses accidentals and fudges key signatures so your music just sounds weird until you can figure out what it's done wrong! I actually find it easier to just sit there and input everything into Sibelius, note by note.

Once you get it into Sibelius and transpose it, it'll do funny things like adding multiple double sharps instead of moving the notes up, which is going to be hell for your accompanist. You need to be fairly confident with music theory to fix everything up after it's been transposed.

So, as far as I know, there's no magic solution as of yet. If this really is a great audition song for you, think of how many times you'll use it - and offer a musical friend $20 to transpose it manually for you. If you don't know anyone capable of that, perhaps put up a job offer somewhere like and pay a freelance musician to do it.
posted by lovedbymarylane at 9:20 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you! As a singer I have a pretty good grasp of music theory (enough to know things like E#=F, etc.), so I think I can do it if I use a program.
posted by lemoncakeisalie at 11:55 PM on May 5, 2012

You might want to look for your song at Musicnotes. They have a feature that transposes songs to the key of your choice, and it's included in the price of the sheet music (downloadable).
posted by DandyRandy at 10:54 AM on May 7, 2012

Response by poster: I ended up finding my songs at and transposing them as needed - and I got the role! :)
posted by lemoncakeisalie at 4:11 PM on June 5, 2012

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