Open or convert .pc (Personal Composer) files?

Hi all,

Not exactly Dorico specific, but I’m looking for any wisdom about any possible way to open or convert a .pc file into something usable. These are files from Personal Composer, which is completely obsolete as far as I can tell.

I’m looking to arrange some works from this site, and there are thousands of them that only have .pc files. (These are also all on IMSLP, in the same format. Here’s an example. )

Any ideas or advice? Thanks in advance!

I can’t get the demo program to install on Windows 10. It just messes up my machine (hangs and you can’t uninstall it). There is some talk on the internet that you can import into MuseScore. Then you could export as MusicXML and import into Dorico. What a pity such a large body of work is completely obsolete.

Many if not all of the files on the Werner Icking Archive have PDF. You could use ScanScore or similar to convert to MusicXML and bypass the whole Pesonal Composer problem. How well such programs work I do not know.

I think you will find that on IMSLP there is a pdf of every work that has a pc file, so you should not need Personal Composer.

Personal Composer only works on WinXP. If you really want to use it, you might try running one of the windows VMs (Crossover or Wine?) under Linux.

Yes, they all have pdfs. But I’m looking to arrange them, so the engraving files would be a huge help!

A pity indeed! I’ll explore the musescore option. Thanks!

Don’t stress. There are a number of simple routes to convert pdf to xml. And one you have an xml any of the mainstream notation programs will be able to read it.

What are the simple routes?

Photoscore Ultimate, Playscore2, etc… There’s a very complete article about pdf to notation app solutions on Scoring notes here.

I thought you were suggesting free solutions, which I read into ‘simple’.

Do you have any advice as to which programs are superior?

If you want “free“ you may try PDF2Music and export page by page. It works really well.

A questo link

Si può scaricare il software Personal composer.
Può essere di aiuto?

Wow! Thanks. I don’t think I can run that on a modern Mac operating system though. And if I emulate it would I be able to transfer a file out of the emulator?

I’m at a loss trying to understand what you want to achieve.

Yes, you’d need software to emulate the ‘Classic’ MacOS environment from the 80s/90s. You should be able to transfer files between the emulator and the modern OS (otherwise, how do you get the software in?)

Mini VMac is perhaps the simplest: you have to create a disk image and drop it on the app’s window, to create a ‘disk’ that both OSes can access.

SheepShaver is another popular one, but requires a bit more setup. But you can have a folder on your disk accessed by both OSes.

UTM is the new one, which works on M1 Macs.


Just a question before anybody invests a lot of time and effort -
The original post by rv284 referred to files from Personal Composer, which is a Windows/DOS application.
The link posted by EmiGus referred to Professional Composer, which is a Classic (1980’s-90’s) Mac application.
I have not used either of them and have no knowledge of their capabilities. Are they effectively the same application on their respective platforms, but with different names, and hypothetically might be able to read each other’s files, or are they two quite different applications and thus probably incompatible (except for importing/exporting MIDI files, maybe)?

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Ah: Useful safety tip. Yes, they are different programs.

Either way, at best, you’d be able to export MIDI only, so TBH you might be better off converting the PDF or even typing it in from scratch.

My experience with computer based pdf recognition is that those software offer very good recognition on those files. You should always proof-read them but the amount of work should be greatly reduced over writing from scratch. My 2 cents.