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Last update: 5/6/2018

IntelliScore is a MP3 to MIDI converter to make multi-track MIDI files, music notation, find chord names and music transcription from multi-instrument MP3 files.


This primer discusses MP3 to MIDI conversion. It answers these questions:

  • What are MP3 and other audio files?
  • What is MIDI?
  • Why convert MP3 to MIDI format?
  • How can you use intelliScore to convert MP3 to MIDI? 

Converting MP3 to MIDI is different than converting MP3 to audio. There are several audio file formats for storing digital recordings. The most commonly used are MP3, wave (.wav), AIFF (.aif), AAC and WMA. WAV and AIFF files contain raw audio data and can be quite large. MP3, WMA and AAC files use compression to reduce the size of the file without noticeable degradation in sound quality. Audio CDs also store audio recordings.

MIDI files are fundamentally different from audio files. Audio files are the computer equivalent of a recording and capture all the elements of the original performance. MIDI files do not contain any actual sounds. They merely specify what notes are to be played and when. The sounds you hear when playing back a MIDI file are generated by your computerís sound card and thus will sound different from one computer to another. Also, MIDI files cannot recreate sung or spoken words or non-musical sounds. That is why converting from MP3 to MIDI is not the same as converting MP3 to a different audio format.

As a result of these differences, MIDI files have several advantages over audio files. They are very compact, smaller even than compressed MP3, WMA and AAC files. Most importantly, you can do things with MIDI files that are impossible with audio files. Using a MIDI notation program (such as Anvil Studio which is included with intelliScore), you can see the notes that are present in the music. You can add, remove and change individual notes. You can change which instruments play the notes. As you can see, MIDI files are useful for transcribing and arranging music.

If you want to transcribe or arrange a recorded piece of music but do not have a MIDI file for it, this is where intelliScore MP3 to MIDI Converter can help. IntelliScore Ensemble is the only product in the world that can listen to a musical audio file (such as MP3 or WAV) comprised of several different instruments and/or drums and help convert it to a multi-track MIDI file containing the notes and drums played, broken down by instrument. While we continually improve upon the process intelliScore uses in converting MP3 to MIDI and determining the notes and drums played, it is not yet completely accurate. Therefore, you may want to clean up the MP3 to MIDI conversion results using a MIDI editor (such as the included Anvil Studio). Nevertheless, you can often save time by using intelliScore to create an initial MIDI file and clean up the results than to transcribe entirely by hand.

Learn more about intelliScore MP3 to MIDI,
WAV to MIDI converter

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