This Software Knows The Score

One of the hardest things to do is get music into a PC. Usually, musicians need to add expensive Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) hardware and software in order to connect an electronic keyboard or other instruments to the PC and then manually key in each note. But now, creating musical data can be as easy as feeding printed musical scores to personal computers.

Musitek Corp. in Ojai, Calif., recently released its first software product, called Midiscan for Windows. The $379 program enables any IBM-compatible PC running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows to read sheet music. The software functions much the same as optical character recognition (OCR) software, which captures printed text for use in word processing. In fact, Midiscan works with the same scanners commonly used for OCR. The software can recognize all of the standard music notations--staff lines, note pitches, key and time signatures, for example--with 98% accuracy and saves them as MIDI data. Later, the same data can be manipulated with so-called sequencing programs for playback on MIDI-compatible electronic instruments and PC soundboards.

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