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Re: Scanning music OCR to lilypond?

From: Rutger Hofman
Subject: Re: Scanning music OCR to lilypond?
Date: Mon, 02 Jun 2003 11:46:21 +0200
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Graham Percival wrote:
On Fri, 30 May 2003 10:01:43 -0400
Daniel Ashton <address@hidden> wrote:

Is anyone aware of a way to scan music into lilypond format?

I very much doubt it.  The best way I can think (in the near future)
would be to use a commercial windows program (possibly under Wine) to
scan the music, then export that sheet music to midi, then use midi2ly
to get lilypond notation.

Hi list,

I know I already mentioned this previously, but the question crops up
again, and I also made a beta release.

The way I do it is by using a Windows program that is not free or
open source (sure). It is SharpEye, see
The 1.1 version can be downloaded for free, and it does not expire
(but it gives you a reminder that you ought to pay if you use it
for longer than 30 days). It is unbelievably more accurate than
other recognition soft, like the stuff bundled with recent Finale
The snag is that it can only generate NIFF -- a format intended
to be a standard (though nobody talks much about it nowadays).

I made a filter program that lies on top of the NIFF developer
kit, which converts a NIFF file into a lilypond file.

Download the beta release from,
then under the header "Software" see the paragraph on niff2ly.
(It's the only paragraph just now, anyway).

So the procedure is to scan for music to a black-and-white tiff
(SharpEye does not accept greyscale or colour), recognize the
tiffs with SharpEye, correct the glaring mistakes within SharpEye,
save as NIFF. Then go to Unix and convert the generated NIFF to
lilypond with my niff2ly.
(For my own easier use, I stopped rebooting between Windows and
Linux, and downloaded the Cygwin stuff with lilypond. It works

Users and comments are much appreciated!


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