Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have a couple of nice guitar midi files that I would like the scores for; is there any software out there that can do this sort of conversion, and output it as a PDF file?


share|improve this question
If you're on a Mac, I believe GarageBand can do that. I'm not 100% sure though. – 11684 May 10 '13 at 12:41

Musescore is free as opposed to many other programs such as Sibelius or Finale. However, it is still very good and can do almost everything that paid programs can do.

One of the input files accepted in Musescore is MIDI and it can output PDF among other formats. However, as guidot said, it takes a human to do it right because a MIDI file does not contain all the information needed to create a complete score. Blanks, such as key signatures, time signatures, ornaments, articulations, and enharmonics, must be filled in by guessing.

That's where a human operator comes in. Your software, such as Musescore, must take the MIDI file and create a clean score with it. Musescore does a very good job at this, but the blanks in the MIDI file must be filled in by guessing. It takes a human operator to correctly fill these in, but having software to do the rough draft is helpful.

Once you have your software (such as Musescore), open the MIDI file. Musescore will convert the MIDI to sheet music, but you will still have to correct things (such as those mentioned above). If you have a good understanding of music, it shouldn't be too hard for most pieces. Once you've tidied the score up, output it as a PDF and you're done.

share|improve this answer

Guitar pro does midi import and pdf export, so you should be able to obtain tabs and scores from it.

share|improve this answer

This is not quite a "conversion", since the midi file is on a much lower level than a score. So while you will surely get some output, it is more than questionable, whether somebody can play from it without considerable editing. As an example midi contains nothing about a key and so has to make wild guesses concerning accidentals, same for time signature, dotted notes, arpeggios may not be recognized as such but separate notes and many more issues. So I'm afraid to state, that there is nothing to replace human (here: a musicians) brain for that task.

share|improve this answer

As @guidot said, nothing replaces human oversight. But a good piece of software (I use Digital Performer, which is decidedly not free) can quantize the MIDI performance, which helps it render a more conventional-looking score. But you will still have to clean it up.

share|improve this answer

If you are looking for a free solution, Tuxguitar can help. It does have a midi input and a PDF output. It will work on windows, linux, and mac. However, you might have to do a bit of clean up; it won't know what key you are using or anything like that.

share|improve this answer

If you know what you want the score to look like, the score-writing programs already mentioned will help you do the job. If the MIDI is configured as one string=one channel and you want guitar tab rather than staff notation, you might even get some way towards automatic conversion!

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.