For installation instructions and help, click here.

Opening Files

Open file dialog
Open file dialog

Open a song by clicking File > Open and selecting an audio file and save location. Most common audio formats are supported, but files with DRM, such as m4p will not work.

You have the option to process only part of a song or skip finding notes and just generate a spectrogram display. You can also increase the frequency resolution and/or decrease the time step if you want a higher resolution image. A higher resolution image will take longer to generate, but doesn't affect the automatic note detection accuracy.

You can add additional songs to the file queue while the song is being processed by repeating the above steps. If you add songs one at a time, the open file dialog will pop up and you can adjust the settings. If you add multiple files at once, they will be transcribed using the default settings and saved to the "Default Save Folder" listed in File > Preferences. To cancel a song, click the red X next to it.

File types you can open:

Be patient!
Be patient!

It can take several minutes to process one song. To reduce the wait time, process the song in parts (such as 0 to 30 seconds, then 30 to 60, etc.) or use a computer with more processor cores. If you have a CUDA capable NVIDIA GPU finding notes will be very fast. The 'About' dialog will show whether CUDA is available.

Editing Notes

Notes (blue rectangles) and candidate notes (white). Right clicking will add or remove a note.
Notes (blue rectangles) and candidate notes (white). Right clicking will add or remove a note.


Notes are blue rectangles labeled with the pitch name. Candidate notes (white) are hints of where you may want to add a note based on where the detection algorithm was less certain. Candidate notes will not show up in sheet music and can be hidden in the side panel. The grid of possible note positions is created using the smallest allowed note, which can be set with a drop down box in the side panel. Some values may be grayed out based on the time signatures in the song to ensure every beat contains at least one smallest note. Individual beats can also be repositioned (see Editing Measures).

All notes are assigned to the same voice. To edit the voice of a note you must save a musicXML file and edit with a music notation program.

Note Slider and Selection Areas

Drag the note slider in the side panel towards the '+' or '-' to add or remove notes based on their calculated likelihood scores. Left click and drag to create a selection area. When a selection area exists, the note slider will only affect notes in the selected region. Hold 'ctrl' and repeat to create multiple regions. You can also click and drag on the keyboard and timeline to create a selection that spans the entire length.

Single Notes

Add or remove notes by right clicking in the grid square where the note starts. Change the start or end point of a note by left clicking on a note edge where the cursor is a double arrow and dragging it to a new location. By default, each note ends where the next note starts. Once you drag the note end point, it will stay fixed at the new point. If you want to reset a note end point to auto-end at the next note, right click on it's starting point twice to remove it and then add it again.


Eighth and quarter triplets can be formed by selecting 3 notes that span a distance of 2 eighth or quarter notes. The triplet button in the side panel will toggle the triplet for the selected notes. Triplets can be identified by a "1/3", "2/3", or "3/3" on the note.

Lock/Unlock Notes

Lock notes to prevent their accidental deletion from the delete key or from the note slider. Locked notes have a thick black border.

Dynamic Note Threshold

Turn on dynamic note threshold to speed up editing. This learns which notes you repeatedly add or remove and automatically updates the notes from that point onwards. With this feature enabled, adding or removing 1 note can cause that note to also be added or removed at multiple points later in the song. Changes are only made in the forward direction, never backwards, so it's better to work from start to end.

Note Groups

Notes can be assigned to a group number 1 to 15. When exporting a MIDI file the group number becomes the MIDI track number of the note. When exporting sheet music notes can be assigned into the treble or bass clef by note group.

Editing Measures (Beats, Time/Key Signature, Tempo)

Measure editing mode
Measure editing mode

To switch between note and measure editing modes click the appropriate tab in the side panel or press number keys "1" and "2". In measure mode you can click and drag the downbeats (blue lines) and beats (gray lines) to change where the beats occur in time. Downbeats represent the start of a measure. If you click on a downbeat, you can make several changes at that point:

It's best to make the biggest changes first: edit time signatures, then the number of measures, the positions of downbeats, and finally the position of beats within measures.

Advanced Sheet Music Editing

AnthemScore is mainly focused on identifying notes and rhythms in audio. Some sheet music formatting changes will require a music notation program (like MuseScore, which is free). This includes things like assigning notes to different instruments, using multiple voices for notes within a measure, changing note beams, jazz notations, repeats, fermatas, and dynamic markings.


There are three playback buttons to play audio: music only, notes only, and music plus notes. A dropdown box allows you to select what section of the song to play. 'Selection' plays the region selected by clicking and dragging on the spectrogram or timeline. If no region has been selected, the audio visible in the window will be played. 'Here to end' plays from the audio in the current window to the end of the song and 'Start to end' plays the whole song. The 'loop' checkbox (shortcut key 'l') repeats playback. The speed slider changes the tempo without changing pitch. Beneath that are the music and note volume controls.

Viewing Sheet Music

AnthemScore has a built-in viewer for sheet music. However, if you have a music notation program like Sibelius, Finale, MuseScore, LilyPond, etc. you can link this program in AnthemScore (File > Preferences) and the external program will be used instead to view sheet music. To use an external editor, select the "use external program" radio button and provide the path to the application (.exe on Windows). The green sheet music button will save any edits you have made to the notes and open the sheet music with the default save settings. Sheet music is saved as a musicXML file in the default save folder listed in preferences, unless you specify a different path when opening the audio. You can save the sheet music with custom settings by clicking File > Export. MusicXML is a common sheet music format supported by all major music notation programs.

Save & Export

Save as dialog
Save as dialog

File > Save and File > Save as will save an AnthemScore project (.ASDT file). To export to any other file format choose File > Export.

Save & Export Options


  • MusicXML Sheet Music (xml): MusicXML is a sheet music file format
  • PDF: Portable Document Format
  • MIDI: A midi file with piano as the instrument
  • AnthemScore Data File (asdt): a file saving the current project
  • Spectrogram Amplitudes (csv): A simple text file containing raw spectrogram data. The 1st line in the file is a list of frequencies. The 2nd line is a list of time values. The 3rd line onwards give amplitudes with time across rows and frequency across columns.

Smallest Allowed Note

The shortest note allowed to show up in sheet music. Setting this to a longer note will result in more notes being played together in sheet music, even if they start at slightly different times in the spectrogram.


The instrument drop-down box will automatically transpose the sheet music for the key and note range of that instrument and select the appropriate clef(s). In other words, it sets all of the advanced options below to preset values so you don't have to worry about them.


The staffs options allow you to write notes to the treble or bass clef without changing their pitch. There are 3 options:

  1. A single staff can be selected to write all notes to one staff.
  2. Notes can assigned based on a chosen split point. All notes above the selected pitch will be assigned to treble clef while all notes below are assigned to the bass clef.
  3. Notes can be assigned individually to either staff by selecting a group of notes, assigning them to a note group number and assigning each note group to a staff. Tip: clicking and dragging along the keyboard allows quick selection of all notes by pitch.


The transpose options will shift the pitch of all notes up or down by a fixed number of semitones and/or octaves.

Written Note Range

The written note range lets you set the lowest and highest possible notes you want to see in the sheet music (after notes have been transposed). When there is a note outside of this range, it will either be moved within the range by changing the octave or removed from the sheet music, depending on the option you select.

Save as Default

By checking save as default, you can apply these settings every time sheet music is generated.

Additional MIDI Options

  • Constant note volume (velocity): This options lets you set all notes to a constant volume (MIDI velocity). If not checked, the volume for each note will be automatically detected from the audio.


This option controls the tempo information stored in the MIDI file, sometimes called the tempo map. It only changes the internal representation of the tempo and does not usually affect the actual timing of the notes when the MIDI file is played. There are 120 'ticks' per quarter note and note onsets and offsets are rounded to the nearest tick, so if the tempo is extremely low there could be a noticeable effect to note timing due to rounding errors, but this is a very uncommon occurrence.

  • Auto-detected tempo map: The tempo is auto-calculated based on the time between beat locations and thus changes every beat.
  • User annotated tempos: User annotated tempos are used.
  • Constant tempo: The MIDI file will be written at a nominal constant tempo of 120 BPM.

Use musical (rounded) timing

This option controls the timing of the notes in the MIDI file. If checked, note onsets and offsets will be determined by musical time, the smallest allowed note grid position. If not checked, note onsets will follow the actual timing in the musical performance.

MIDI Instrument Number

The MIDI instrument to use.


Select a language from the file menu by clicking File > Language. Translation files can be edited by users. The available languages are determined by the JSON text files stored in the 'languages' subfolder in the AnthemScore installation directory. If you fix any translation errors or create a new translation file and want to make the changes available to everyone, email the updated file to Note that any changes to these files will be lost when you update AnthemScore, so create a backup of those files before updating.

Speed and Memory

By default, AnthemScore will use all available processor cores to speed up processing. You can reduce the number of worker threads spawned in File > Preferences. Using more threads also requires more memory, so keep an eye on memory usage by the program and decrease the number of threads if needed. Changing the number of threads will not affect any current or pending jobs, only files opened after the change. It's best to only have one instance of the program running at a time. Multiple instances of AnthemScore will slow each other down and may overwrite shared files.

Command Line Interface

Command line interface
Command line interface

You can call the program from the command line to process songs in the background (no GUI), and automatically save the musicXML file or spectrogram data. Use the -h or --help flags to see a list of options. Example basic use:

AnthemScore audio.mp3 -a -x output.xml

Note that above you need to use the full paths to the files or have them located in your current directory. For Mac, the path to AnthemScore is


Contributing a File

Use the "Contribute File" button if you would like to submit a transcription after correcting mistakes in the automatic note detection. The software uses machine learning to detect notes and the more examples it has of accurate, high quality transcriptions, the better the results. Songs where the automatic note detection was poor are particularly helpful (after they have been corrected). If you submit a file, both the song and notes will be uploaded, reviewed, and may become part of a training dataset. Any edits in an external sheet music editor will not be picked up, so please edit the notes within AnthemScore. See the software license agreement for legal information. When you contribute a file, you are permanently donating the data.

Understanding the Display

A spectrogram
A spectrogram

A spectrogram of the song will be displayed in the main window. A spectrogram is a color plot of the energy at different frequencies over time. By default, the horizontal axis is time and the vertical axis is frequency (log scale), but this can be changed in the view menu. The color shows the amplitude. Dark blue/black indicates low amplitude and red indicates high amplitude. If the "note lines" box is checked, horizontal lines are drawn at the boundaries between the 88 piano keys.

You can move the mouse over a line to see the name of the note and left click to listen to it. Check the mouse harmonic lines box to see the harmonic frequencies. Those harmonic lines are the locations that you would expect to see a high amplitude if there was a note at the mouse cursor.

What are Harmonics?

Harmonics are equally spaced. They appear to grow closer together here because frequency is on a logarithmic scale.
Harmonics are equally spaced. They appear to grow closer together here because frequency is on a logarithmic scale.

When a note is played on an instrument, the air vibrates at multiple frequencies, called the harmonics of the note. The pitch of the note is the frequency of its first harmonic. For example, when you play C4, or middle C, on the piano, the piano string vibrates at the frequency of C4 (261.63 Hz). But it also simultaneously vibrates at multiples of that frequency: 523.26 Hz (C5), 784.89 Hz (G5), 1046.52 Hz (C6), etc. You only hear a single pitch because your brain recognizes that the frequencies are multiples of 261.63 Hz and groups them together. Usually the 1st harmonic is the strongest and each successive harmonic is weaker, but it can vary. For example, the clarinet has strong odd harmonics (1, 3, 5, 7, ...) and weak even harmonics (2, 4, 6, 8, ...).

The relative amplitude of the different harmonics is partly what gives different instruments their characteristic sound, or timbre. Sometimes the 1st harmonic may be missing entirely and the only way to identify the note is to look at the spacing between harmonics. It's also possible, and quite common, for two notes to played together where one note falls on a harmonic of another note (for example C4 and C5, which are an octave apart). When this happens, the higher note's harmonics will be hidden by the lower note, unless they stand out from having stronger amplitudes or small differences in timing.

Spotting Drums

Drums usually occur at lower frequencies and can be identified as features that are narrow in time and very wide in frequency. Percussion instruments often produce frequencies that are are not harmonic (not multiples of a fundamental frequency).

Repeating bass drum at low frequencies and drumstick clicks at high frequencies. Both are narrow in time and wide in frequency.
Repeating bass drum at low frequencies and drumstick clicks at high frequencies. Both are narrow in time and wide in frequency.