A Look at ScanScore
Updated: Oct 25, 2020
As a regular user of Dorico, Muse Score and Sibelius I've been curious to try a music scanning software, so last week I tested out ScanScore. An app to "...help transform analog sheet music into editable digital scores." as their website says. I was working with the Professional version but there are 2 other versions. You'll find all the details here: https://scan-score.com/en/products
Something about this program just looks great on the screen. The layout and colors are clean and sleek.
You have several choices when you start. Choose one and away you go. When importing from a PDF ScanScore gives you the option of which pages you want to import - just in-case you only need page 7 from a file with 56 pages.
From there the program will open the file and you will see a split screen. The original PDF and the ScanScore version. On the far left is a panel displaying all the pages you imported allowing you to jump from page to page.
Up top is your tool kit where you select what you are editing. You can decide how many of these options you want to view at a time. If you are only editing notes you save a lot of screen space by closing the other options. Same with dynamics, clefs, text and all the other things you see.
The most common task one does from this point involves fixing note values / pitches and rests. ScanScore does a great job making this easy.
Select any note and use your arrow keys to move up or down. Select any note and change it’s value by selecting from the note toolbar. You can also do this to several notes at once by drawing a box around the ones you wish to change. Inserting notes or rests is also simple – select the note or rest from the toolbar and insert it anywhere in the measure. If you inputted the wrong pitch (easy to do) use the arrow keys to move it up or down. The same procedure is used for clefs, articulations, bar-lines, dynamics etc.
If you hover over a text item and left click you will get a text editing box. You can also add your own text by selecting one of the 3 different sized text boxes and typing in what you want then edit from there.
One of the most useful features is the simple ability to select an item and delete it. Often you end up with extraneous lines or text leftover from a scan that you don’t need. Select and delete.
Select anything and right click on it; you get a variety of editing tools. Here I used it to correct a tuplet.
All objects can be adjusted, resized and moved. It took me a little while to figure out how to select a slur I wanted to adjust (you need to click on one of the edges of an object, not in the center). Once you select it, you are shown handles with which you can move or re-shape the object.
Here is the window for adding braces, brackets etc.
ScanScore has a companion app for your phone. It allows you to grab a picture of a score and seamlessly send it to your PC for editing (The phone app does not have editing capabilities).
ScanScore features a playback option to hear the piece. It includes a mixer where you can choose the instruments you wish to hear and a mixer for volume and panning. The screenshot below shows an alternate layout of the music. (my preferred).
Overall ScanScore is quite intuitive when using most of it's features. The natural flow would be to export the final as a Music XML file, and finish editing in any engraving software. The file can also be saved as MIDI. As well ScanScore has it's own proprietary format so you can save your work and come back to it later or print directly from the program.
It's a great program. If your PDF is in good condition it can save you a lot of time.