Music OCR

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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[edit]

Free/open source software[edit]

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  1. ^ Pruslin, Dennis Howard (1966). "Automatic Recognition of Sheet Music" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-01-24.