Converting MP3 files to sheet music can be done inexpensively with the help of three separate freeware programs. First, you'll convert your MP3 into a WAV file, then you'll convert that WAV file into a MIDI file and finally you'll convert that MIDI file into printable sheet music. There are software programs that will convert your MP3 to sheet music by a more direct route, but you'll have to pay $100 or more to use them. This article will show you what you can use for free, and while two of the applications are PC-only, they can be used on any Mac with a Windows emulation program such as Boot Camp or Virtual PC.
How to Convert MP3s to Sheet Music
Download Switch Audio Converter Software for either the Mac or PC platform (link in References). Open the application and click on "Add Files" in the opening splash page. Find the MP3 you want to convert in the Switch browser and double-click on it.
On the line that says "Output Folder" click on "Browse" to decide where you want to store the WAV file. Where it says "Output Format" be sure to select "WAV." Highlight the MP3 and press "Convert" on the lower right of the splash page. Your MP3 will be converted to a WAV file in the location you selected.
Download AmazingMIDI, a WAV to MIDI converter (link in References). Install and open the application on your PC, but if you're using a Mac open AmazingMIDI within your Windows emulation program. When the splash window comes up, choose "Input File" and add the WAV you made with Switch.
Under "Tone File" choose either "piano0" or "piano1" and in "Output File" choose where you want your converted MIDI file to be created. Click on "Transcribe" at the top of the splash page and choose "Transcribe" again to start the conversion.
Download the free Notation Player (link in References). Again, if you're on a Mac you need to open this in your emulation program. After you install and open to the splash page, you will see a box that gives you three options. Choose the second option, "Skip tutorial, but ask me again later."
Go to "File" at the top left of the splash page and choose "Open." Find the MIDI file you just made and double-click on it. You should see your sheet music now. To print it, go to "File" again and choose "Print."
Tips & Warnings
- If you have iTunes on your computer, you can use it to convert MP3 files into WAV files instead of downloading Switch.
- AmazingMIDI is your weakest link. If you're serious about creating sheet music from MP3s, consider upgrading to a better audio-to-MIDI converter.