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#502321 - 02/24/21 04:29 PM Converting Sheet Music to a Yamaha XF MIDI File
Tapas Offline
Member

Registered: 11/19/02
Posts: 246
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona, USA
I would like to have your expert tips on the simplest and most efficient way to convert a printed Score Sheet into a Yamaha XF MIDI file with chords and lyrics.

The end goal is to have an XF MIDI File that can be played back on a Yamaha Arranger while displaying the lyrics and the auto accompaniment following the chord changes embedded in the file.

It appears that converting a Sheet Music into a MIDI file is fairly easy using a music scanning software.

This YouTube video compares 3 Score to MIDI programs:

Sheet Music Scanner
iSee Notes Pro
NotateMe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DN1RENjWnLU

Here is another YouTube video explaining how to use PlayScore2 to convert Sheet Music into a MIDI file.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBiFMJV1u7Q

I use SmartScore X Pro by Musitek. It is fast an accurate. It can read a Score Sheet in PDF format or a TIFF image and convert that to a Standard MIDI File.

This short video explains the process:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XW7sUK_N27E

It transfers over the Lyrics and recognizes the Chord Symbols. It is intelligent enough to transpose the Chord Symbols when you transpose the Song to a simpler scale.

So far so good.

If this program was able to translate these Chord Symbols and insert the actual notes of the Chord in say MIDI Channel 16, then my problem will be solved.

During playback the Yamaha Arranger would reference MIDI Channel 16 to determine which Chords to play based on the 3 or more notes. Setting the arranger to fingered mode will get the job done.

So how do I take a Standard MIDI File created by SmartScore and add in the Chords?

I see two possibilities that involve manual editing.

1.

Use the PSRUTI (version 8.21) software:

https://www.heikoplate.de/psruti.html

This can convert any Standard MIDI File into an XF MIDI File.

The program is clever enough to analyze several tracks like the Melody Track, Bass Track and automatically generate the Chords.

However, they sometimes differ from the original score sheet. So you need to spend some time manually entering each Chord. This is frustrating.


2.

Use XGWorks 3.0.7E:

The last universal version can be downloaded from:

http://www.xg-central.com/xgc-software.php

It is under the Tools section.

This is free for personal use. It runs under Win XP and Win 7 (32-bit & 64-bit).

This program is a gem. It displays the Chords from an XF MIDI file. You can specify the Style with Intros, Endings, Fills and Variations. In a nutshell you can use this sequencer to edit your XF File to your exact liking.

Sadly, Yamaha dropped further development after it acquired Cubase.

It is possible to enter your chosen chords, but still this takes some manual effort.


Does anybody know of a better way to convert a score sheet into an XF MIDI file?

What would really help to streamline the workflow is to have a single Score to MIDI software that would read the chord symbols from the score sheet and insert a new MIDI Track containing the actual notes of the chord.

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#502322 - 02/24/21 08:32 PM Re: Converting Sheet Music to a Yamaha XF MIDI File [Re: Tapas]
TedS Offline
Member

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 681
Loc: North Texas, USA
Did you see this review?

https://www.scoringnotes.com/reviews/a-review-of-optical-music-recognition-software/

I've struggled with some of these same issues-- trying to develop a "work flow" to convert my paper-based collection of scores to some kind of electronic format (MIDI preferred.) I would be grateful for any insight you're able to share.

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#502323 - 02/24/21 09:58 PM Re: Converting Sheet Music to a Yamaha XF MIDI File [Re: TedS]
Tapas Offline
Member

Registered: 11/19/02
Posts: 246
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Originally Posted By TedS
Did you see this review?

https://www.scoringnotes.com/reviews/a-review-of-optical-music-recognition-software/

I've struggled with some of these same issues-- trying to develop a "work flow" to convert my paper-based collection of scores to some kind of electronic format (MIDI preferred.) I would be grateful for any insight you're able to share.


No, I had not seen this before.

Thank you so much for posting the link to this very comprehensive review of the following 4 Music Scanning Software:

PlayScore 2
ScanScore
PhotoScore Ultimate
SmartScore 64 Professional Edition

Anyone looking for a robust solution to convert their paper scores to MIDI files should read this entire article.

I am listening to the podcast now.

As I guessed, SmartScore 64 Professional Edition is the most feature rich product. After the image recognition is complete, you can play back the song with an optional rhythm track matched to the music genre of your choice.

This is far more elegant and pleasing than having a metronome to count the beat.

It recognizes a wide range of Chord Symbols and can translate them into Guitar Tabs. There are over 700 Guitar Tabs and you can add your own. So, it should be a simple enhancement to insert the notes of a given Chord inside a new MIDI track rather that displaying the Guitar Tab.

Inserting notes to represent Chords would not make it a bonafide XF MIDI file, but would work just fine for my purpose. I could set the MIDI volume for this new Chord Track to zero. This will trigger the chord changes during playback but not make any sound.

The Chords in a real XF MIDI File are short SysEx messages. Yamaha is secretive on their content. It is meant to work with Yamaha's Performance Assist Technology where the playback waits till the user hits the right keys.

There are many third party developers that make genuine XF MIDI files like BonMIDI, MIDISpot, etc. They contain Chords and Lyrics and special SysEx messages for individual instruments like the Genos, Tyros5, SX900, etc.

This means there must be tools out there to create these XF MIDI files. They are not available to the general public.

For your specific use case where all you want is to convert your paper sheet music into an electronic format, I think SmartScore 64 Pro would be your best bet.

I purchased my first Musitek product at Winter NAMM way back in 1998. It was called MidiScan version 2.5.1 and came in two 3.5" diskettes. Christopher Newell, President of Musitek was giving the demos. This company has been on the forefront of Music Scanning Technology.

Since then I upgraded to the SmartScore X Pro Edition. I have been happy with this product. This is certainly a professional's tool.

I would highly recommend trying out their demo to see if it fits your needs. It is expensive but it does the job right.

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#502324 - 02/25/21 02:21 AM Re: Converting Sheet Music to a Yamaha XF MIDI File [Re: Tapas]
Bernie9 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/02
Posts: 5270
Loc: Port Charlotte,FL,USA
Very interesting, I will investigate further,
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pa4X 76 ,SX900, Audya 76,Yamaha S970 , vArranger, Hammond SK1, Ketron SD40, Centerpoint Space Station, Bose compact

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#502325 - 02/25/21 10:03 AM Re: Converting Sheet Music to a Yamaha XF MIDI File [Re: Tapas]
TedS Offline
Member

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 681
Loc: North Texas, USA
Re: XF chords... Do a search for names like "Paul Tumelty" and/or "Heiko Plate". A long time ago, one of these gents made a spreadsheet-based tool for adding Yamaha XF chords to a MIDI. It isn't as mysterious as it's made out to be- I recognized the relevant bytes the first time I looked at the data. If I recall, they are at the very end of the file.

If Yamaha ever finished developing the step chord editing capability promised by the "CHD" tab in their on-board editor, it would be a breeze. That whole tab and feature set are half-baked, IMO.

I totally agree with your sentiment about XG Works. I have 3.07 and it runs ok for me in Windows 10. I don't do anything with audio, so all of the newer DAWs are way overkill and frustrating to learn. Do you know of any other good basic sequencing softwares that are MIDI focused?


Edited by TedS (02/25/21 10:05 AM)

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#502328 - 02/25/21 03:48 PM Re: Converting Sheet Music to a Yamaha XF MIDI File [Re: TedS]
Tapas Offline
Member

Registered: 11/19/02
Posts: 246
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Originally Posted By TedS
Re: XF chords... Do a search for names like "Paul Tumelty" and/or "Heiko Plate". A long time ago, one of these gents made a spreadsheet-based tool for adding Yamaha XF chords to a MIDI. It isn't as mysterious as it's made out to be- I recognized the relevant bytes the first time I looked at the data. If I recall, they are at the very end of the file.

If Yamaha ever finished developing the step chord editing capability promised by the "CHD" tab in their on-board editor, it would be a breeze. That whole tab and feature set are half-baked, IMO.

I totally agree with your sentiment about XG Works. I have 3.07 and it runs ok for me in Windows 10. I don't do anything with audio, so all of the newer DAWs are way overkill and frustrating to learn. Do you know of any other good basic sequencing softwares that are MIDI focused?



Hi Ted,

Thanks for the pointers.

Heiko Plate is the author of the PSRUTI software.

As you suggested, I did a search and found this useful thread with your participation:

http://www.synthzone.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/218796/Chord_Data_In_Midi_Files

In addition to the PSRUTI Tool designed by Heiko Plate, one can also use the XFTool by Yamaha to step record the Chord Events and Lyrics into a MIDI file to create an XF MIDI File.

http://www.jososoft.dk/yamaha/psr_soft/xftool.zip

This will likely run on Windows 98 and Windows XP (32-bit).

I learned that GNMIDI authored by Gunter Nagler allows you to insert Chords into a MIDI File.

www.gnmidi.com


One could also record a performance in real time on a Yamaha Arranger. The saved MIDI file will be in XF Format containing the embedded Chord Events and Lyrics. However, the moment you load this into an external sequencer and try to save it, it will likely strip out all the sysex information and create a Standard MIDI File.

If all you need is a MIDI Sequencer, you can buy an old version of Sonar like version 3.1 off eBay. It is rock solid on Win XP and Win 7. It has a small footprint with an easy to follow interface.


You could also download Cakewalk by Bandlab for FREE:

https://www.bandlab.com/products/cakewalk

Just ignore the audio part and only use the MIDI functions.


You could also purchase Cubase Elements 11

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Cubase11E--steinberg-cubase-elements-11-download


You could also try out Master Tracks Pro.

http://www.passportmusic.com/products/master-tracks-pro/master-tracks-pro-specs/


You could also try PowerTracks Pro Audio and just use the MIDI functions.

https://powertracks-pro-audio.software.informer.com/12.0/

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#502329 - 02/25/21 05:34 PM Re: Converting Sheet Music to a Yamaha XF MIDI File [Re: Tapas]
Tapas Offline
Member

Registered: 11/19/02
Posts: 246
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Here is an Ebay listing for Cakewalk SONAR 4 Home Studio Edition CD.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Cakewalk-Sonar-4-Home-Studio-Edition-cd/324451173588

$26 with free shipping

This will do the job as a simple MIDI sequencer.
It runs on Windows XP and Windows 7.

But then again why bother when you can download and install Cakewalk by BandLab for FREE that runs on Windows 10 and Windows 7.

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#502330 - 02/25/21 06:59 PM Re: Converting Sheet Music to a Yamaha XF MIDI File [Re: Tapas]
Tapas Offline
Member

Registered: 11/19/02
Posts: 246
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona, USA
I just started playing with an old version of GNMIDI (version 2.54) that I had purchased fron Gunter Nagler in 2005.

l loaded in a Yamaha XF File and then used the Convert MIDI to (.csv) spreadheet Tool.

The output is like examining your MIDI file under a microscope.

Yes, I could see the Meta Events representing the embedded Chord Events.

Here are a few samples:

META;65280;1;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;127;43 7B 01 32 08 7F 7F
META;67200;1;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;127;43 7B 01 31 08 7F 7F
META;68160;1;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;127;43 7B 01 34 13 7F 7F
META;69120;1;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;127;43 7B 01 27 00 7F 7F


This means if I had a Table that translates Chords to these Meta Events, I could add them to the CSV output and then use the Convert (.csv) spreadsheet to MIDI File tool to create my own XF MIDI file.


So, this is not so much a mystery any more!

Next, I am going to play with the XFTool. It does not work with Windows 7. I have to use an old XP machine to test this.

You would think there would be a simple way to insert these Yamaha Chord Events into a standard MIDI File.

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#502331 - 02/25/21 08:30 PM Re: Converting Sheet Music to a Yamaha XF MIDI File [Re: Tapas]
TedS Offline
Member

Registered: 04/28/06
Posts: 681
Loc: North Texas, USA
Here's how I would try to decode the bytes: Make a MIDI on your Yamaha machine by doing a step recording using the CHD tab. Save a copy both before and after you "expand" it. At least one of them will have the XF chord events present. Make a note of what chords you entered, and analyze the data to find a pattern.

It's been a very long time since I experimented like this. I think what I was doing was using a spreadsheet tool to manually create and edit the meta events. Then "concatenating" (appending) multiple cells together and pasting text onto the end of the MIDI file. Definitely possible, but awkward.

As I wrote in my original post 15 years ago, building a tool that does this shouldn't be too hard for a skilled GUI programmer (which I am not!) Good luck!


Edited by TedS (02/25/21 08:31 PM)

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#502332 - 02/25/21 10:30 PM Re: Converting Sheet Music to a Yamaha XF MIDI File [Re: TedS]
Tapas Offline
Member

Registered: 11/19/02
Posts: 246
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Originally Posted By TedS
Here's how I would try to decode the bytes: Make a MIDI on your Yamaha machine by doing a step recording using the CHD tab. Save a copy both before and after you "expand" it. At least one of them will have the XF chord events present. Make a note of what chords you entered, and analyze the data to find a pattern.

It's been a very long time since I experimented like this. I think what I was doing was using a spreadsheet tool to manually create and edit the meta events. Then "concatenating" (appending) multiple cells together and pasting text onto the end of the MIDI file. Definitely possible, but awkward.

As I wrote in my original post 15 years ago, building a tool that does this shouldn't be too hard for a skilled GUI programmer (which I am not!) Good luck!



Hi Ted,

Thanks so much for your thoughtful tips!

Yes, your method will work. It is a brute force approach to reverse engineer Yamaha’s XF Chord Events to match a control set of known Chords.

Someone with a lot of patience would be able to set up an Excel Spreadsheet matching up every known Chord on very Scale to the corresponding Yamaha XF Chord Meta Event.

Luckily by chance I found an elegant solution that will solve my problem.

While I was playing with GNMIDI 2.54, I decided to download the latest version 3.25.

I see that Gunter had made a ton of improvements. The one enhancement that stood out was the Chord Editor. This was the answer to my prayers.

I loaded an XF MIDI File into GNMIDI 3.25. Upon playback I could see the Chord Symbols recognized as PSR Meta Events.

Next, I deleted all the Chords.

Then I allowed the software to compute the Chords based on all 16 MIDI Channels except the drum track on Channel 10.

Surprisingly, the auto generated Chords almost exactly mimicked the original. There was just a few that were slightly off. I launched the Chord Editor which brought up a matrix with every row representing a Measure and every column representing a Beat within that Measure.

With this Grid View, it was very easy to locate any chord and double click to replace that with some other chord from a drop down list.

It was a breeze to get all the chords just right.

Moreover, the program lets you transpose to a more playable Key Signature while transposing all the Chords as well.

I played the modified XF MIDI file on a Yamaha CVP-609 Clavinova. The Chord symbols appeared on the display and the Style followed the Chord changes.

This is exactly what I was looking for.

This means I can scan any sheet music using SmartScore X Pro and export that to a Standard MIDI File.

I could load that SMF into GNMIDI 3.25 and allow it to compute the Chords and insert the Yamaha XF meta events. Altering any mismatched chord is a 2 click process.

The resulting XF-MIDI file can now be played back on any Yamaha Arranger. The Style Play will honor the Chord changes.

The cost of this program is 36 Euros (about $44). You can install this on 5 PCs and enjoy 2 years of free updates.

I think this is a fair price and I will buy this.

http://www.gnmidi.com/

I still feel there is a golden opportunity for an App Developer to create a simple point and click Music Scanning program.

It would have to do 4 simple tasks.

1.
Scan the image of the score sheet captured by your smartphone or tablet.

2.
Translate the image into a MIDI File.

3.
Read the Chord Symbols and create a new MIDI Track containing the notes of the chord.

4.
Export the MIDI file.

This MIDI File, although not an XF-MIDI file, will still be able to work with all Arranger Keyboards from Korg, Roland, Yamaha and Casio.

The information on the Chord Track will trigger the Chord changes with the Arranger set to Fingered Mode.


All the music scanning apps already do steps 1, 2 and 4.

Someone has to figure out how to include step 3 and instantly become a runaway hit in the Arranger World.

Any Arranger would be able to play back the information from the thousands of Fake Books and faithfully follow the melody line and chord changes.

This makes music more accessible to the masses without having to learn how to read notes and play chords.





Edited by Tapas (02/26/21 12:07 AM)

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