OMR, ScanScore or SmartScan - or neither

Dorico 5 on macOS 13.4.1

Has anyone enough experience with either ScanScore or SmartScan (or ideally both!) to advise, please, on which - or indeed other OMR software - would be most accurate in allowing me to import MuscXML files of (legitimately-acquired) orchestral and chamber PDFs into Dorico - essentially for study purposes where scores are analyzed in the reading on C20th 12-note music which I’m doing atm? I want also to hear them.

I have read this thread; but don’t use an iPad.


I use SmartScore 64 Pro. It allows you to edit before you export MusicXML 3.0
SmartScore 64 Crossgrade

Dorico owners get 25% off; Finale owners get 50% off and there is upgrade pricing.
SmartScore Pro Finale upgrade

Not getting into SmartScore vs ScanScore other that there are advantages using the former with Finale and the later with Sibelius. 30 day evals are available for both. Neither supports MusicXML 3.1 or 4.0.

I wouldn’t give 10¢ for black box solutions such as ScanScore or Musitek’s Music-to-XML since there’s no way to edit until the file is imported into your notation app.

Myriad’s PDFtoMusic Pro gets an F- for this task. To believe them, there are thousands of pdf files online waiting for you to download so that it can extract the font information and so on… There are a few problems with this nonsense: 1) anybody who exports a doc as a pdf image (without font information) has defeated this app’s ability to perform any task at all which means 2) it cannot read scans. 3) Its font database is decades out of date so it cannot read most current music fonts at all and 4) I don’t know what version of MusicXML it supports but I’m fairly certain it is not 3.0. Fortunately, it has a demo period so that I could find out how bad it is without paying.


Thanks, Mike!

Very helpful.

Is the Dorico discount still available for SmartScore?

I couldn’t see anywhere on the website where they mention that; they mention it but I couldn’t find where a Dorico licence number can be entered.

How good is it’s MusicXML once converted:99%, 90%, 50%?

I gave you two links. The first is the 25% discount that includes Dorico owners. Many of us also have Finale which is why I included the second.

Since neither Dorico nor SmartScore support MusicXML 4.0, you will need to evaluate for yourself how well this works for you. There are too many variables for me to give a hard answer as to accuracy. Clef and meter changes aren’t as accurate as anyone would like.

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Understood; thanks again, Mike; your experience and guidance much appreciated :slight_smile: !

Unfortunately your first link does not contain a specific reference to Dorico as such that I could see. Adding to the cart for ‘Competitive Upgrade (USB Flash Drive)’ has the full price. So have contacted Musitek for clarification.

I have spent quite some time working with the demo version of SmartScore 64 Pro, read lots of reviews and listened to John Hinchey’s podcast associated with the NYC/SN review of over two years ago.

It really does seem as though that is the one to go for. Although, as I’ve seen from posts of yours elsewhere, @Mikehalloran, there’ll need to be a lot of manual reading and video following. I actually enjoy doing that.

Thanks again!

@Mikehalloran possibly ridiculously optimistic question: does SmartScore stand any chance of reading handwritten MSS?

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No chance for any music scanning software I have seen.


@Derrek I knew it was a stupid question. Thanks!


Not that I can tell. ScanScore claims to but I’ve not heard of anyone actually being able to make that work successfully. Always download the demo and check for yourself.

It could be that AI may come to the rescue… Someday there may be a scanning app that’s really good. Who knows? I may see it in my lifetime…

Not holding my breath.


According to John Hinchey’s review - No: none of them comes even close :frowning:

He, Dave and Philip make the point even more forcefully in their podcast.


I had forgotten about that article. Thanks for the reminder.

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Thanks for your help, Mike!

I bought SmartScore 64 Pro, getting the discount by phoning them.

Installed, tested. Just as good as you implied it would be.

I have begin to extract from their, pretty comprehensive, manual all the processes and settings for OMR from PDFs, which is what I mainly want.

Then brought the MusicXML files into Dorico. Seems so far as though it’ll really do just what I want.

SmartScore 64 Pro is (still?) a little rough around the edges (.TIF [sic] vs .TIFF etc?) but seems robust and fairly deep in functionality. My few questions were answered entirely to my satisfaction by Musitek’s tech support etc.

Once more, your guidance appreciated!

Normal. There are two standard suffixes. The same applies for JPG and JPEG. I would not say that makes it out of date in that respect.

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Just curious, if you have the scores already why do they need to be in Dorico for study?

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Glad to help.

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I see your point. Wasn’t clear; sorry. To listen to (as well)!

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Fair enough.

I’m generally happy with SmartScore 64 Pro; but - as you’ll see, the feel of the program and its documentation (some typos etc) remains… still evolving, shall we say, when compared with the aesthetic of Dorico. But it does the job and I’m grateful for the help here which has pointed me in its direction.

That’s interesting, hadn’t thought of that angle. Please report on this thread how easy or difficult it is the process is after you get it figured out.

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I’m self-taught. Trying to learn from the specialists and experts about methods (chiefly Schoenberg’s concept of the musical Idea - am working through this book of Jack Boss’s with Schoenberg’s Op. 25 - to begin with) how I can improve my own compositional form (structure, development etc) in an attempt to… stop meandering melodically :slight_smile:

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Does anyone know if any of these apps can scan handwriting? I tried a few but none worked.