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GIF/Graphics Sites For Folk Tunes

28 Jan 00 - 09:08 PM (#170008)
Subject: .GIF/Graphics Sites For Folk Tunes
From: John in Brisbane

I'm experimentimg with downloading graphics of folk tunes from the Web with the aim of performing the minimum amount of work to create Midis, and without the need for special hardware. It's still early days but I would like to try a variety of sites with fair to good quality images. Any help please? Regards, John

28 Jan 00 - 09:35 PM (#170017)
Subject: RE: Help: .GIF/Graphics Sites For Folk Tunes
From: Sorcha

Try Wild Dismay Tunes, at

28 Jan 00 - 09:37 PM (#170020)
Subject: RE: Help: .GIF/Graphics Sites For Folk Tunes
From: MMario

or this alternative site for the DT

url =

28 Jan 00 - 10:26 PM (#170041)
Subject: RE: Help: .GIF/Graphics Sites For Folk Tunes
From: MMario

oops! sorry John, I suppose you are looking for tunes to ADD to DT....Levy or American sheet Music download well for me.

29 Jan 00 - 08:49 PM (#170198)
Subject: RE: Help: .GIF/Graphics Sites For Folk Tunes
From: Lesley N.

Try Public Domain Music (

I scan a lot of stuff in, but don't have much luck with stuff from the web - size of the print is too small to scan right, resolution isn't right, etc. etc. etc. It's a horrible disappointment and playing with the graphic in Paint Shop Pro or Corel) does not help. One of these days I will devote more time to it. I hope you have better luck!!!

29 Jan 00 - 10:29 PM (#170253)
Subject: RE: Help: .GIF/Graphics Sites For Folk Tunes
From: Joe Offer

Waitaminit, Lesley - you SCAN tunes in??? What software are you using, and with what success?
-Joe Offer, itching to try out his new scanner-

30 Jan 00 - 06:57 PM (#170674)
Subject: RE: Help: .GIF/Graphics Sites For Folk Tunes
From: John in Brisbane

Thanks for the tips everyone. Along the way I also stumbled upon Free Sheet Music Links - which Kat first brought to my attention.

The overwhelming majority of sites these days tend to provide a link to the music's digital source be it Midi, ABC or NoteWorthy.

Those that don't typically seem to have low resolution, low contrast or both. The greatest problem from my perspective is the poor contrast, and I've yet to find a package which does a good job increasing contrast without sacrificing resolution.

My best results to date follow the following notional sequence:

Save the target image as a .bmp
Use an imaging package to improve contrast ??
Increase the image size without makung it blurry - I think I have this under control.
Modify the image to be a single colour .bmp. This took me ages to get right. I would be keen see how others might do this as most packages concentrate on colour image effects.
Download the image to SharpEye for notation processing.
Tidy up the file using NWC or Cakewalk.

Is it all worth the effort? My best answer at this stage is "Why not?".

Any further help would be appreciated. Regards, John

30 Jan 00 - 10:42 PM (#170761)
Subject: RE: Help: .GIF/Graphics Sites For Folk Tunes
From: Lesley N.

New scanner Joe? Sounds like you'll be busy! I am a dinosaur in that I use Midiscan (by musitek - at

It goes like this. I bring out an old songbook (pre 1927 so it's PD) - after a lot of experience I can pretty much tell what will scan in with the least amount of correction (and there is generally a lot), but much of the time I'm looking for something specific and have to take what I can get. I scan it in, saving each page as I go. Midiscan then reads all of them and creates a file. The top half of the screen has the scanned image, the bottom half has the notes it read. I then go through and correct note by note. As I said, how much I have to do varies a great deal. The midiscan interface is very easy to work with, but it's buggy. I work anywhere from a half hour to an hour cleaning up and then click a button for midiscan to convert it to a midi. Once it's a midi I bring it in to cakewalk and do further cleaning up and create the extra verses, instruments, play around with tempo, embedd the name of the tune and my name in the midi, etc. And I'm done.

When I first started about 1/3 of the tunes I scanned in were what I consdiered good enough for me to upload. I'm up around 80% and I sometimes finish a tune to find them too boring to put up. I now upload about 4 out of 5 tunes I scan (of those that work right).

I've done all the things John has with files from the web - and haven't had any success. I agree with John the problem is in the resolution. The files are too small for midiscan to read, but when I resize them - even with correction, the resolution suffers too much. Newer versions of midiscan or smartscore might do better.

As I have a good many songbooks at this point and have that process working so well, I haven't played with the web files as much as I used to. Or maybe I'm getting older and don't have as much patience!!!

I believe in an older thread midiscan got very poor marks from most people. It's expensive as well. Yes, it's a strange beast, but most of my songbooks have songs with more than one page and some pretty complex arrangements, and I know all of its idiosyncracies now, so I stick with it.

Does that answer your questions? Raise any more???

31 Jan 00 - 07:18 AM (#170929)
Subject: RE: Help: .GIF/Graphics Sites For Folk Tunes
From: John in Brisbane

I use the shareware version of SharpEye which is fully functional as far as I can see, except that it will not allow you to edit the lyrics associated with each system. Apart from that I thoroughly endorse Lesley's thoughts. I haven't used MidiScan because (as I recall) it is so crippled in its shareware state as to be untestable. With good quality input the degree of corrections with SharpEye can be minimal, even for a complete Grand Staff score.

I'll ask Alan if he wouldn't mind posting a .BMP file or two to the MUDI site. That way anybody can try out the scanning software without the need for a scanner. SharpEye requires .BMP or TIF files (black and white only - no greyscale permitted). Lesley, are the needs of MidiScan similar to this?

Regards, John

31 Jan 00 - 08:37 AM (#170948)
Subject: RE: Help: .GIF/Graphics Sites For Folk Tunes
From: Kernow John

I have to agree with JiB about Sharpeye. Give it a good image and it's hard to trip it up. If it can't decipher something it highlights the place and gives you the option to correct.
regards Baz

31 Jan 00 - 09:44 AM (#170974)
Subject: RE: Help: .GIF/Graphics Sites For Folk Tunes
From: Lesley N.

Yes John, the version of Midiscan that I have has pretty much the same image requirements (black and white, 400 max resolution).

I too downloaded Sharpeye, but didn't stick with it. It doesn't do multiple pages. With one page clean copies it was great. But with some single pages in very old songbooks read better in Midiscan than SE - so I do less correction (and in those cases I have to do a LOT). And I had a problem with time signatures. Cakewalk oftentimes wouldn't bring a tune in with the right time signature. That one could probably be figured out with a little patience, though. I also had problems with songs that changed staff and time.

I certainly think Sharpeye is worth a look. For someone starting scanning with good copy I think it is easy to figure out and does a good job. Midiscan really annoys me because it is a commercial package, but is so flaky I hesitate to recommend it. There is an upgrade which I will probably purchase to see if they fixed the bugs...

31 Jan 00 - 08:00 PM (#171359)
Subject: RE: Help: .GIF/Graphics Sites For Folk Tunes
From: Alan of Australia

G'day John,
Just got your message. Email me a couple of bitmaps & I'll put them on the site.


01 Feb 00 - 06:59 AM (#171591)
Subject: RE: Help: .GIF/Graphics Sites For Folk Tunes
From: John in Brisbane

Thanks Alan, I'll see what I can cough up tomorrow which would give a range of results. Regards, John