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How do I turn my physical sheet music into digital PDFs for use in Orpheus?

For best results do this on your computer, using a scanner (most scanners have a ‘save as PDF’ option). If you have a huge amount of sheet music to digitise then consider using a document scanner with an Automatic Document Feeder (ADF).

Full Tutorial

What you need:

  • a computer with print/scan drivers installed
  • a good scanner with ADF.  Recommendation? The Epson WF-3520 worked brilliantly for me. 
  • a copy of PDF Split and Merge – More info & free download here. Or some other software for working with PDFs such as Adobe Acrobat.


  1. Make a stack of all your physical sheet music. Ensure pages are the right way up, and multipage charts are properly ordered.
  2. Turn the scanner on
  3. Place a stack of sheets into the feeder of your scanner. Make sure you read the scanner specs and don’t overfill the feeder.
  4. Walk over to your computer, and open the program you use for scanning. Hint – it’s usually easiest to use the program that came with your printer/scanner!
  5. Check all the settings in your scanning program. Make sure you know where scanned music is saving to, and set scanning mode to black and white. <- This is important because it will give the best contrast/clarity for the sheet music and the lowest file size.
  6. Hit “Scan”. Go for a cuppa.
  7. Moment of truth – open your newly scanned PDF file and check every page to make sure it worked properly and looks usable. Assuming so, move on with next step.
  8. Now, unless you scanned every piece of music separately, you will probably need to crack out PDFSAM and split your 30 page PDF into individual charts. More info here.
  9. Once you have each chart saved as it’s own individual PDF, give all your charts pretty titles. (eg Feeling-Good.pdf NOT bjazoinkle12y75r6yi.pdf )
  10. Woohoo! You’re done. Nice job.

Now it’s time to bring your PDFs into Orpheus.

Maeve Lander is a software developer by day, trumpeter and arranger by night. She created Orpheus ~8 years ago, when Android was first born. It has gone through iteration over the years, but has always held true to the original vision; a minimalist sheet music reader that just does one thing, really well.



4 Jan, 2019 - 5:54 am

I want to simply take a photos of my charts using the camera on my tablet and then move them to this app. Is that possible?

Maeve Lander

21 Feb, 2019 - 1:44 pm

It’s not a feature within Orpheus at this time although may be considered for future feature development. My personal feeling is that PDF is far the best quality, and most future-proof choice – it’s well worth taking the time to take a high quality scan if at all possible. However I do see in certain cases a quick photo can be helpful.

Martin Tarenskeen

23 Jan, 2023 - 1:47 am

I agree, using a good scanner to create PDF files is better than using your phone’s camera. But if you really need/want to use your camera I recommend using a dedicated scanner app like Adobe Scan or Microsoft Lens. These apps are able to automatically cut out the borders around scanned page, correct the widt and height, and then save as for example a clean straight A4 or US Letter paged PDF.

The best quality PDF however is created by drectly exporting PDF files from a notatation software like Finale, Sibelius, Dorico, LilyPond or Musescore. These types of PDF are vector based, not pixel based, giving the the highest display resolution at any zoom factor. And they take a lot less storage space than high resolution pixel based images. Sometimes it is even worth the effort to manually rewrite a score in a music notation program, instead of making a scanned picture.


18 Feb, 2019 - 7:04 am

Thank you.


28 Aug, 2020 - 7:34 pm

I have many real books in this tablet and you app…how do I transfer a tune into a set list

Maeve Lander

29 Aug, 2020 - 1:30 pm

Here’s an article in the Knowledgebase all about that.?

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