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Tech: Looking for transcription software

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michaelr 03 Apr 05 - 04:01 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 03 Apr 05 - 04:12 PM
JohnInKansas 03 Apr 05 - 04:20 PM
michaelr 03 Apr 05 - 04:39 PM
GUEST 03 Apr 05 - 04:44 PM
michaelr 03 Apr 05 - 04:56 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 03 Apr 05 - 05:02 PM
GUEST 03 Apr 05 - 05:24 PM
pavane 04 Apr 05 - 03:12 AM
GUEST,Jon 04 Apr 05 - 03:40 AM
s&r 04 Apr 05 - 03:58 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 04 Apr 05 - 02:47 PM
GUEST,Jon 04 Apr 05 - 03:00 PM
Jim McLean 05 Apr 05 - 12:45 PM
Bill D 05 Apr 05 - 02:11 PM
pavane 06 Apr 05 - 08:31 AM
Jim McLean 06 Apr 05 - 05:30 PM
GUEST,Jon 06 Apr 05 - 06:52 PM
JohnInKansas 06 Apr 05 - 07:43 PM
JohnInKansas 06 Apr 05 - 08:09 PM
pavane 07 Apr 05 - 03:37 AM
Jim McLean 07 Apr 05 - 04:00 AM
JohnInKansas 07 Apr 05 - 06:32 AM
pavane 07 Apr 05 - 09:20 AM
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Subject: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: michaelr
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 04:01 PM

I'm forever telling my fiddle player, "Check out this great tune on So-and-so's CD, you ought to learn that one!" and he's forever answering, "Jeez, I don't have time to sit there and figure out tunes from recordings!"

So I'm thinking there's probably software out there that can print out notation from CDs. Can anyone recommend such a product?

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 04:12 PM

If you know the tune name, you could go to:


JC's Tune Finder
The Session

They both have great scoops of tunes with lots of information.


Another excellent place to get tunes is Ceolas. They have PDF and masses of GIFs with tunes.

Back to your original question, what kind of computer? Windows? or Mac? or Unix?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 04:20 PM

There are a few programs that claim to be able to do this - sort of....

None of them actually work except on extremely simplified sound inputs. Typical CDs will produce little but garbage wrappers.

There is a system that actually works, called "pen and staff paper."

An alternative that works nearly as well - for some people - would require playing the music on a MIDI instrument and feeding the resulting .mid file into almost any notation program. Unfortunately, since the .mid file records exactly what you play, the transcription to notation usually looks like someone attacked the paper with small pellets from a large-bore shotgun.

Several of us can probably dig up a couple of the programs that claim to be able to do some of this, but I doubt that you'll find anyone "recommending" one, except as a play-toy.

But of course - something new may have come along that I haven't heard about...

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: michaelr
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 04:39 PM

George, I use Windows 98 SE.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 04:44 PM

No time to learn how the tune is really played in an actual performance?

Get a new fiddler.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: michaelr
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 04:56 PM

John -- pen and staff paper, would that be software or hardware? LOL
Trouble is, I don't read or write music. And to play the tune on a Midi instrument, I'd have to be the one to figure it out first! And I'm just a lowly guitar player.

Also, many of the tunes I'm interested in are recent compositions by the likes of Michael McGoldrick, Sharon Shannon, Charlie McKerron, Kevin Crawford etc., therefore unlikely to be in any established collections.

I recall a Mudcatter who has a program called, I believe, Harmony. Would that do what I need?

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 05:02 PM

I don't think Harmony would do what you want. But certainly check with the Lyrics/Knowledge Search up top. You can download it and try it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Apr 05 - 05:24 PM

So I'm thinking there's probably software out there that can print out notation from CDs. Can anyone recommend such a product?

Learn a lot about music, and a lot more about computing, and try to work out how it might be done...

When you find out, let us know.

At the moment, you're asking something akin to: "Isn't there some someware that can turn my car into a Space Shuttle?"


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: pavane
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 03:12 AM

No, my program HARMONY will not do that. As John says, it is hard enough making sense of MIDI files!

Various people have experimented with WAV to MIDI or similar, but with very limited success as far as I know, and on very simple input.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 03:40 AM

Ditto to John and Pavane. I'm not aware of anything that could work on more than simple input. I don't envisage anything being developed in the near future either.

If your only choice is to learn from a CD, one thing that might help is to slow the music down. There is for example a plug in for Winamp that will slow the music without the pitch changing, although you can change the pitch as well with it.

Even if the stuff is newish, I would try John Chambers' site. He runs an "abc spider" and indexes abcs from a number of sites. You can get Gifs and pngs from there for sheet music.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: s&r
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 03:58 AM

John Chamber's site
(I know it should be Chambers')


Stu


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 02:47 PM

That's the JC's site I listed. In addition to GIFs and PNGs, he also has MIDI and PDFs available. Wonderful site.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 04 Apr 05 - 03:00 PM

I'd forgotten he had pdf!!!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: Jim McLean
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 12:45 PM

In 1990 I was doing a degree couse on Electronic Engineering and for my final project I designed and built a unit which was connected to a BBC B computer. If one whistled or played a flute into the microphone, the result was staff notation on the monitor screen which could then be printed. I demonstrated the machine by using a small portable electronic keyboard with its output set to flute. I won the engineering prize and was told to 'patent it immediately'. Suffice to say it still lies on one of my shelves as the accomplishment was my satisfaction. I would have thought there would be something 'out there' which would do what I did 15 years ago. The university actually purchased the equipmant which allowed me to make a chip with the correct amount of gates for my 'invention' as nothing was available commercially.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: Bill D
Date: 05 Apr 05 - 02:11 PM

we did have a brief fling with a program which, if you whistled a tune, it would try to match it with a database...it actually found a couple.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: pavane
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 08:31 AM

As mentioned above, there ARE programs which can (just about) cope with a melody, under good conditions, but nothing more complex.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: Jim McLean
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 05:30 PM

My machine didn't try to match with a data base, it stripped the incoming sound of its harmonies and recognised the fundamental which my software program then produced a staff notation corresponding to its frequency, i.e middle C or octave above/below. At the demonstration for my degree, a lecturer played 'Happy Birthday..' on the keyboard which was only connected to my machine via a microphone and the screen displayed the treble clef staff notation. A click of a key produced a print out.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 06:52 PM

I guess that might be what these other programs do or try to do Jim.

How would yours have coped with a piano playing more than one note or having more than one instrument playing the same melody or playing a harmony? I get the impression that single note is "simple" (way beyond me though) but it can soon get horrendously complicated.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 07:43 PM

Jim -

There are several programs available, commercial and shareware, that can do a reasonably good job for a single "voice" as your program did. The difficulties come in when there's more than one instrument, since the program has difficulty separating the "tonic" of each of the two voices from the "harmonics" of the other. Add in "unpitched" voices, like drums or cymbals, and allow for pitch deviations due to dynamics, and your program notatew the noise rather than music.

For those interested in trying out what's available, the link posted in the "Notation" thread recently gives a pretty good summary of the commercial programs currently available, at:

Music Notation Software.

This site gives links mostly to commercial programs, and is mainly aimed at notation. No significant discussion of what the programs do except in general terms, but a good place for an overview of what programs are (commercially) available. Several "notation from audio" programs are included, but you'll have to sort them out from the others. There are also a few programs that claim to be able to make editable scores from scans that might be of interest.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 06 Apr 05 - 08:09 PM

Converting Audio to Midi .pdf gets you one unknown guy's musings, and a list of conversion programs. I don't know who the guy (Gerd Kastan) is who put this site up, but there's some interesting info. The .pdf does include a list of programs, with very brief comments.

The parent site, which you might want to look at before getting the .pdf is at Music Notation.

At the Music Notation site, the first entry, "Overview and Changes" is the only working link that isn't available as .pdf. It can be copied and pasted, or saved as .htm. The .pdf files are pretty small (for .pdf files) so they download easily. The next to last section, "Backend," is apparently "under development" and doesn't' offer much.

A special for Pavane's request for "what should a notation program do." (More appropriate to the notation thread, but it would confuse the issues there):

One of the sites that Kastan links, IWBNI: (It Would Be Nice If…) is a rather peculiar site. The site owner (Greshak) lists 724 separate features that he recommends as improvements that should be made to Finale 2000. (There's a newer version of Finale now.) Note that he's not saying Finale isn't (wasn't) one of the best programs around. These are just the things Finale, in that version, didn't do, that he felt it should. Mr Greshak invites you to download the entire site as a .zip (1,355 KB) so you can study his comments on each of the recommendations, and solicits your vote on which are most "useful." The site doesn't appear to have been updated recently, but still has some "interesting" commentary.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: pavane
Date: 07 Apr 05 - 03:37 AM

Interesting concept, the IWBNI site.

It looks as if the majority of the suggestions are for score notation improvements, but some are MIDI import or playback suggestions. #635 in particular looks as if it is asking for a facility similar to HARMONY's Note Styles.

However, my main request was for suggestions for higher-level functionality rather than tweaks.

I did at one time consider trying to implement tune (melody) capture as noted above, with the intention that you could play the melody and have chords added immediately. However, the source code available for Fast Fourier Transform is in C rather than VB, and I haven't got round to converting it yet. You would also need some way to identify the key (which HARMONY tries to do) and mode (more difficult).


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: Jim McLean
Date: 07 Apr 05 - 04:00 AM

My machine worked purely as a one note 'recogniser'. The software produced the note on the stave and also its length. I built it to convert an idea into practice and was delighted with my 'eureka' moment when it worked although it took me the best part of six months. There was no internet then as now so all my research was from scientific, musical and mathematics books.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 07 Apr 05 - 06:32 AM

pavane -

Difference understood. I didn't look too closely into all the tweaks suggested at IWBNI, but the couple I did take a quick look at suggested "if it ain't there you can't tweak it" - hence the thought you might be able to pick some of the more basic functions out.

Jim -

Getting even a one-note-at-a-time to work was a real accomplishement, especially at that time. I'm not sure the internet, as most of us can access stuff, would be a lot of help now. If you have access to an academic net, you can certainly get to a lot of good stuff, but without the passwords to get into the "tech" web it's mostly "fluff" on the public internet, even now.

My impression, although not based on much real info, is that some of the really high $$$ "analysers" do analog tone/harmonic separation before converting to digital. There was some pretty sophisticated analog computational capability around up until the early/mid '60s perhaps, and there are some tasks that it can still do better than digital; but it's not taught much any more. Even finding the few people who still make components is tough on the public internet.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Looking for transcription software
From: pavane
Date: 07 Apr 05 - 09:20 AM

A spectrum analyser is the basic requirement, which can be analog or digital, as you say.

The computational task is in deciding which frequencies make up the fundamental tones, and which are overtones, which may or may not be exact multiples of the fundamental, depending strongly on the instrument used. A pure sine wave would be easy, a free reed instrument note would be difficult.


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