I recently attended the annual conference of the Major Orchestral Librarian’s Association (MOLA) where I was asked to talk about music scanning. In my first clinic I mentioned turning PDF files into TIFFs as a way to take a PDF and turn it into a Finale file. I explained that although Macintosh computers come with a free PDF to TIFF converter, Windows users need to start by finding a conversion application like PDF995. While I’ve had some success with this entire process, I have to admit it’s cumbersome at best.
In the process of explaining all this I noticed one man in the audience typing away frantically on his computer. Eventually he raised his hand and offered: “I just found the website of a program called PDFtoMusic Pro that might help.” I promised to check it out that night and report back at my subsequent clinic the next day.
I was impressed with what I found. PDFtoMusic Pro converts a PDF file to a MusicXML file which can be opened in Finale and other music notation programs. I’ve spoken about MusicXML on this blog before; it’s a file format created so that musicians using different software packages could communicate with each other.
The PDFtoMusic Pro website suggests some of the uses for their product: You might have created a lot of files in an old music notation program that can’t be saved in any file format recognized by your new program. Or you have a PDF created by a music notation program, but not its source file, and you need to make edits. These are just a few examples.
The site makes it clear that PDFtoMusic Pro was not created to work with all PDF files: it’s designed to process PDF files that have been exported by a music notation program. Even with this caveat mentioned, many folks at the MOLA conference immediately saw the benefits it could offer them.
More good news? There’s a free demo you can try out before you buy.
Of course I did just that and offer this glance. The image on the left is in the PDFtoMusic Pro application. From here I hit the Export button (circled in red) to create a MusicXML file. Then in Finale I went to the File menu and chose MusicXML>Import. The results I obtained are seen on the right.
I thought the results were pretty impressive, but suggest you try out the free demo for yourself.
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