Virtual sheet music?

Posted: 10/13/2009 9:49:36 PM
Dave H

From: Sedona AZ

Joined: 7/12/2009

Anyone have any experience good or bad with getting sheet music from ?
(Before I sign up.)

I know that you can get many of these scores for free as they are public domain.
But the ones that I have seen, they let you see the first page, at virtual sheet music are really cleaned up from the public domain versions and look that they would be easier to use with a program like photoscore.

I have tried scanning quit a few public domain scores that are just copies of the originals with poor results.

Here’s the first page of some cleaned up scores:

Vocalise for Violin with Piano backing. (

The Swan for Cello with Piano backing. (

Meditation from the opera Thais for Violin with Piano backing. (

Posted: 10/14/2009 6:11:22 AM

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

I don't see the problem... Why should one (re-)scan sheet music which one has already in a clean and printable pdf format?

I use mostly free public domain sheet music which I printed directly out. I never needed to scan anything. In one case (Debussy's Clair de lune) I could only get a 9-page pdf document with solo voice and piano together. I imported this pdf in Gimp and cut the solo voice out and put it together so that I have only 3 pages now on my music stand.
Posted: 10/16/2009 3:26:28 AM
Dave H

From: Sedona AZ

Joined: 7/12/2009

Sorry I did explain the problem very clearly.

I take sheet music either in printed form or from PDF files.
I use these scores to create accompaniments as well as hear the theremin part as played by violin or cello or any instrument of my choice by using the score to create midi data with all the nuances contained on the score including dynamics, trills, bowing, slurs, etc.

Often the public domain “free” version works very well when read by a human but does not convert to midi data very well when read by a computer.

If scores are printed I must scan them to allow photosore to convert them to midi data and send the results to Sibelius.

If they are PDF files photoscore will convert file directly to midi data without re-scanning and then send the results to Sibelius.

Once in the Sibelius I can assign real “sampled insturments” to play any stave that I like. I can transpose instantly for any instrument or any key. Sibelius also warns you if the part goes outside of the tonal range for that instrument. I can also print the “new” arrangement which looks very professional.

There are many reasons that during the conversion process to midi that
a printed score or a PDF score may require more editing before I get good “realistic” midi data including but not limited to:

Skewed scores, staves not straight on page.

Errors caused by contrast variations etc.

Non-conventional markings.

Poorly scanned documents are easily readable by humans musicians but photoscore, smartscore or other programs don’t do so well, This creates errors which must be fixed by hand editing.

Final comment is that the “cleaned-up” version that a company will charge some fee for can reduce the conversion process from hours to minutes.
Posted: 10/16/2009 4:53:44 AM

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

Thank you for explaining this procedure which was unknown by me.

I'm a pure human scores reader and I never worked with midi data. I've been fortunately been given the ability to hear the music in my inner ear when reading sheet music. This allows me also to practice without physical accompaniment - I hear it also when playing the solo voice.

Although this works fine for me alone I have sometimes to play for my extended family. For this purpose I purchased several high quality piano accompaniments online from a pianist in Great Britain. Paul Gardner has the advantage that he has an after sales service. So when I'm not satisfied with what I downloaded I have to tell him my wishes and some days later he sends me a version which is more pleasant for me. But I had to use this service only once when I bought the accompaniment of a piece from F. Poulenc which was originally written for flute and piano. The original accompaniment was best fitting for a flutist who has to breathe from time to time. I felt that when playing it on the theremin I would prefer a slower speed in order to enjoy more the epic/romantic character of the piece. Paul's accompaniment took 4'00 while the music in my inner ear took almost 4'30. I told this to Paul and three days later he sent me a version which fitted perfectly my requirements without charging an additional fee.
Posted: 10/18/2009 11:33:40 AM
Dave H

From: Sedona AZ

Joined: 7/12/2009


It’s very fortunate that you have found someone that is willing to provide high quality accompaniments as well as adjust them to your needs.

For now midi scores, and I’m not talking about the typical Karaoke midi type accompaniments, can sound fairly good. As I am just starting my studies of theremin the flexibility of instantly changing tempo, key, etc is nice.

When I have my real repertoire chosen it would be great to have high quality accompaniments done for those scores. The feel of a human performer is not replaceable.
Posted: 9/28/2010 7:35:19 PM

From: Portsmouth, OH

Joined: 9/23/2010

You may want to check out the International Music Score Library Project at . They are compiling a library of many many pieces. The library is already very vast and worth checking out if you're looking for music that can be printed and which is free.

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