Manage your giant music library by learning how to digitize your sheet music with ScanScore.
Musicians have a habit of collecting hundreds or even thousands of pages of sheet music. If it’s not organized properly, it can be a huge problem.
It is not as simple as just scanning images of your sheet music, either. A lot of musicians want to make edits and other changes to the sheet music. Maybe you want to make a mash-up of Bach and Paramore. But do you really want to have to type every single note of a Bach Gigue into Sibelius or Musescore? There has got to be a better way!
With the innovation of advanced computer technology, this method of music entry has become easier and easier. But why does it somehow still seem so prehistoric and painstaking? And anyone who’s tried to digitize their library with typical sheet music scanners will tell you this:
- It’s not very simple to scan your music for editing.
This is where ScanScore comes. We change everything. No more note-by-note input. No more scans with 50% inaccuracies.
Keep reading to learn how to digitize your sheet music with ScanScore.
How to Digitize Sheet Music: Step By Step Instructions
In this section, we’ll guide you through the steps to digitizing your music collection. It’ll be second nature to you in no time!
PC: Holiday Gems
#1 Pick Your ScanScore Product
To start, you need to pick which version of ScanScore you’d like and purchase it.
Doing this is easy; just go to ScanScore’s webpage and pick the product you’d like. Then, go to the cart and checkout.
There are three versions of ScanScore currently available. Here’s a quick rundown on the three options and who benefits the most from each:
The “Melody” option is the most affordable, but it can only read scores with one stave. This is perfect if you’re a band director who only needs to edit or transpose one part at a time. It’s also great if you play a one-line instrument, like the flute or saxophone.
Are you an SATB choir director, or leader of a woodwind or string quartet? Another option is the “Ensemble” subscription. With this, you can scan up to 4 staves per system. This is useful for small ensembles or condensed score work.
The premium choice is the “Professional” line. This costs the most, but it can handle any full score. Bring on the Wagner! Our Professional scanner can process up to 32 staves per system. This is perfect for composers who like to write for the full romantic orchestra.
#2 Download ScanScore
ScanScore requires a computer with Windows 7 or higher. Apple systems are also supported!
Once you’ve purchased ScanScore, you need to download it. This option pops up automatically after your purchase is complete. Your computer will walk you through the steps. ScanScore downloads in just a few minutes! This is what the icon looks like on a desktop once the program is successfully downloaded:
If you have any technical problems, we are happy to help. Just contact us here.
#3 Choose Your Scanning Method
After ScanScore is downloaded, it’s time to get into it.
Open up your ScanScore program, and you’ll see four choices. The three buttons you can use to help digitize your music (from left to right) are:
- Import from scanner
- Import from image/ PDF file
- Import from app
Import from scanner is the most accurate option. You need an actual scanner to do this. Simply click on this icon, and the scanner will read the sheet music and open it up in ScanScore.
Import from image/ PDF file is the second button to the left. It’s easy to import PDF files from IMSLP and other free sites, into our program! When importing an image or PDF, double-check to make sure that the file is crisp and that the ink on your PDF is dark enough (this especially goes for older scores). Crisp PDFs get an accurate read from ScanScore.
If the image or the PDF file that you import isn’t crisp, there are going to be more mistakes. But don’t give up now! It’s still faster to import a score and edit out its mistakes than to start with 120 blank measures in a new notation file.ScanScore’s editing features can fix most major mistakes that are related to low-quality files. See step #5 for more details.
Import from app This option requires an iPhone or Android. That being said, most of us are walking around with devices in our pockets every waking moment! This button is the most convenient option. The app sends the image directly to your desktop program. It even offers helpful hints and guides you through how to get a good picture.
#4 Scan/Import The Sheet Music
Once you’ve decided on a method, it’s time to scan the sheet music. Click the desktop button for the method you’d like to go with. ScanScore will walk you through what you need to do.
- choosing the scanner option requires a scanner
- choosing the app option requires internet and a phone
- choosing an image/PDF requires a file to already be on your computer.
After you click the button and follow ScanScores steps, the file pops up on your desktop in a matter of seconds. Check out the score of Paganini that I just imported via PDF:
#5 Correct Mistakes
Once the file is read by ScanScore, you will see a split screen with a double of your score. The one on the left is the original version from the scanner, file, or app. The one on the right is the new editable version ScanScore created. This can be seen in the Paganini Caprice above.
No program can convert images into digitally editable documents perfectly, but ScanScore’s programming gets really close. The Caprice I imported transferred wonderfully. It only needs a little editing in the text for bowing directions and a few note adjustments.
ScanScore itself helps you with the editing step by predicting where problems may have come up. It highlights potential issues in purple and blue.
If you’ve found a set of notes where the pitches need fixing, here’s the next step. Drag a rectangle over the area and fix it with the toolbar or your arrow keys. Another one of ScanScore’s helpful features is the zoom function. If you zoom in on one side, it zooms in on the other. This makes fixing mistakes simple!
Pro-tip: Use the playback function to hear and see both sides playing for a final check.
#6 Save The File
After everything is just how you want it, you need to save the file in an organized way. You also have the choice of saving as the ScanScore file or exporting to music XML. I recommend saving as both, but I would only export to XML once you’re sure everything is correct. Choose “save” or “export” from the left side of ScanScore’s program.
Your Digitized Sheet Music Needs a Filing Cabinet
Your sheet music needs a virtual filing cabinet! First, choose a file location. Pick a location that makes it easy to navigate through your many pieces of music. Here’s an example of folders you’ll want to set up to keep everything organized:
- Inside Documents create a new folder labeled “sheet music.”
- In this folder create a folder for each instrument or composer.
- In this folder, save your file.
Another way of looking at it would be like this:
Documents >>> Sheet Music >>> Tuba >>> Die Meistersinger
Doing this now will make it easier to find everything when you have your entire library digitized.
Pro-tip: It’s always a good idea to save the file under a name that helps describe it. I recommend using the format “piece_composer_part.” Here’s an example: “FugueGminor_JSBach_organ.”
#7 Repeat As Needed
Once this is done, you can go back to step #4 and repeat the process with the next piece of sheet music. It may take a little practice, but after a few times, you’ll be a pro. Once you’re familiar with all the shortcuts and ways to edit, you’ll be digitizing sheet music quickly.
Congrats! You just digitized your sheet music with ScanScore!
For more information on how to use ScanScore, check out the following helpful video.
Digitize Your Sheet Music: Wrap-Up
We hope you enjoyed learning how to digitize your sheet music with ScanScore. Being a professional musician requires some organizational skills, but ScanScore can help.
Just remember to follow these 7 steps:
- Pick Your ScanScore Product
- Download ScanScore
- Choose Your Scanning Method
- Scan/Import The Sheet Music
- Correct Mistakes
- Save The File
- Repeat As Needed
If you need additional help with the ScanScore program, check out ScanScore Support.
Do you want to know how to use ScanScore in combination with notation software? Then check out our helpful articles on the ScanScore blog.
There, you can find info on how to use ScanScore with:
Happy digitizing! Come back and visit us at the ScanScore blog again soon!