How to Convert Keyboard Music to Printable Sheet Music

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Things You'll Need

  • MIDI/Notation software
  • MIDI keyboard/controller
  • USB-MIDI cable

MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) to sheet music software, also known as notation software, allows you to convert what you play on a MIDI-controller (i.e., keyboard, digital drum pad, etc.) to printable sheet music. For example, with this software, music composer can use the sounds on their keyboards to compose a complete musical composition, such as a film score or marching band arrangement. The software translates the sounds (i.e., strings, horns, etc.) used to represent live instruments into individual pieces of sheet music for live musicians to read and use to recreate a live rendition of the musical piece.

Purchase a MIDI capable keyboard and/or controller. A MIDI capable keyboard is a digital piano or portable keyboard that has a port labeled “MIDI.” Examples of MIDI capable keyboards are the Korg Triton, the Yamaha Motif, and the Open Labs Neko. These keyboards range in price, which largely depends on their functional ability and memory on the device, and can cost between $100 - $7,000 – as of December 2010. MIDI controllers, on the other hand, don’t have any sound or memory of their own – these devices depend solely on the internal sounds of a DAW (digital audio workstation), such as FL Studios, Cubase and Logic. Popular MIDI-controller brands are M-Audio, Behringer and Akai and can range between $100-$2,000 – as of December 2010.

Purchase and/or download notation software. These programs include Notation Composer by Notation Software and SmartScore by Musitek. These programs, as of December 2010, range between $50-$400. However, there are free MIDI-to-Sheet music programs that you can download or use online, such as and Sibelius.

Link your keyboard to your notation software. The basic way of creating this link is by using a USB-MIDI cable – the USB end plugs into your computer’s USB port and the MIDI end plugs into your keyboard’s MIDI port. Follow the directions in your user manual for your specific keyboard and notation software for prompting the device and program to recognize each other.

Ask for help. If you encounter technical issues and have a problem linking your MIDI device to your notation software, contact the support center for the device or software that you are having an issue with. Also, many music store employees and musicians are valuable resources for getting your notation software up and running.