Converting PDF sheet music to MIDI has never been easier with many music scanner apps available today. So in this blog, we’re going to give you some recommendations for the best PDF to MIDI converters. As converting PDF to MIDI can be mostly done online, it’s a more environmentally friendly way of using PDF scores. It’s also adaptable for different users, as we’ll see from the following apps.
One of the most useful apps that converts PDF to MIDI is PlayScore 2. It is the cheapest sheet music scanner and very accurate. You can try it for free just by downloading the app.
With PlayScore 2, you can play any music straight from a photo, a PDF or an image. If you don’t read music, you can hear what it sounds like, or you can have PlayScore 2 accompany you at home as you sing or play your instrument – and in any key. If you sing in a choir, you can isolate your part on its own or with the others in the background.
Not only that, PlayScore 2 exports your MIDI to DAWs and music notation software like Dorico and MuseScore. Converting PDF to MIDI used to be a long task that required the manual input every note of a piece into music software. With PlayScore 2, it’s possible to convert PDF to MIDI accurately in a matter of minutes.
As its name suggests, ScanScore allows you to scan PDF scores and then shows them back in their digitised form. It also has a mobile app but you need to use it in conjunction with ScanScore’s desktop application.
When your PDF music has been scanned, you can play it back in ScanScore, make edits/corrections and convert PDFs to MIDI via almost any music applications such as Dorico or Sibelius. However, ScanScore has some limitations because it recommends that users implement other music software or DAWs for advanced editing.
ScanScore has three editions designed for a range of users and budgets: ‘Melody’ ($39) for scanning one stave/instrument per system, ‘Ensemble’ ($99), e.g., for choirs, and the ‘Professional’ edition ($179).
SmartScore is another programme that integrates sheet music scanning with score editing facilities. It has several editions (e.g., for piano, guitar, bands), however, there is an edition specifically for converting PDF to MIDI. So users can edit staff notation from PDF scores and moreover, they can edit MIDI data from the converted PDFs, using features such as the MIDI sequencer, piano roll and MIDI/Garritan instrument sounds.
There is also a SmartScore NoteReader app which allows you to retrieve PDF scores from your phone and convert them to MIDI files for export into DAWs such as Cubase, Apple GarageBand, or other MIDI-based software.
PDFtoMusic is a Windows desktop application that allows you to import PDF scores from your computer, and convert them to MIDI playback. You can also modify converted PDF music with different instruments and it even sings back lyrics, using its “Virtual Singer” module.
The programme has other editions for additional requirements. Melody Assistant is a score editor with a range of music symbols and options for page setting. The programme even has a digital synthesizer with hundreds of instrument sounds, and no external MIDI device is required! However, PDFtoMusic’s Harmony Assistant is more enriched, with options for full page editing, volume/panning, programming, page setups, and it even creates chord grids and accompaniments
PDFtoMusic’s main limitation is that it only works with PDFs and sheet music in digital formats (e.g., typeset scores) rather than scanned or printed music. However, the programme processes music from a variety of score editors and applications.
When using MIDI files, it’s worth considering whether converting your PDFs to MusicXML might be better as MusicXML is specifically designed to be used with digital sheet music. The PDF to MIDI converters in this blog have free versions to download so why not try them and let us know what you think?