how can I transcribe an MP3 audio file to piano sheet music? I tried many programs in vain, please I need help.

closed as too broad by Shevliaskovic, Tim, Matthew Read Jul 29 '16 at 14:41

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  • Does only a piano play in your mp3 file? If not, you are facing a really tough challenge. Anyway: the standard method is: identify the piece, search for a score to buy. Even if the piece were already in midi format it is not possible to get a playable score output without serious manual work, but MP3 is much more difficult. – guidot Jul 29 '16 at 6:53
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    Possible duplicate of How to convert recorded Piano music to midi? – user1803551 Jul 29 '16 at 9:48

There are programs that pretend to do this. For anything beyond trivially simple material they are lying. It may come - but at the present this is a job for YOUR brain and musical skills.

There are programs that will help you. Transcribe! is the one I recommend. It will loop a section, slow it down, even attempt an analysis of the pitches playing at any moment. And other functions useful when transcribing.

Transcribe! web site


Sadly, you can't. A .mp3 only holds data on digital audio, but not midi data. In an audio file, there are no terms we can understand like "play at this note" or "play at this tempo" but only data saying "having this amplitude run through the voice coil at this frequency". Midi on the other hand is musical data containing notes (no semi tones) and note length. This allows the file to be played on a daw (digial audio workshop) with a computer instrument (e.g. synthesizer), but even with a midi there is no bpm or notation such as staccato or slurs. But you can upload a midi file to a daw that supports sheet music conversions and you can add these in. Some daws do provide custom sheet music file types but none can be converted from digital audio, such as mp3.

  • Take it from me. My friend nicknamed me after the midi file type and midi keyboard. – user31276 Jul 29 '16 at 2:56
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    "Sadly, you can't" Of course you can. In fact some people earn good money from doing it. The only technology you need is your ears. – user19146 Jul 29 '16 at 3:02
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    I am pretty sure he/she is talking about a program to do it automatically. Doing it this way takes keen senses and well trained ears. There is a reason people make such great money for this. It is quite obvious that it is possible to listen to something and transcribe it manually but can be extremely difficult. – user31276 Jul 29 '16 at 3:07
  • Both the OP and you already have keen senses and well trained ears. After all, you managed to learn your native language somehow, starting from zero within the first few years of your life! IMO the idea that music is somehow "more difficult" than language is just a myth. But then I (like millions of other people throughout history) learned before personal computers even existed, and "use your ears" was the only option available. – user19146 Jul 29 '16 at 19:06
  • @alephzero not to be cocky, but ever heard of convenience? – user31276 Jul 30 '16 at 16:31

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