Gamera Addon: MusicStaves Toolkit

This is a Gamera toolkit for experimenting with different methods for staff removal from digital images of sheet music. It is based on the Gamera framework and requires a working Gamera installation.

About the MusicStaves toolkit

The most characteristic feature of sheet music are groups of parallel horizontal lines, the staff lines. For a human reader these are necessary in order to determine the note pitch. In Optical Music Recognition (OMR) however, these hinder the segmentation of the symbols and thus usually need to be removed. In order to determine the pitch of the remaining symbols it is also necessary to remember the position where the staff lines have been.

Staff line removal

There is a great variety of possible methods for staff line removal and not all are appropriate for all circumstances. Not all images are as perfect as the example above and staff line removal can also be applied to something different than common music notation (eg. lute tablature or text documents with underlined sections).

The MusicStaves toolkit provides


A detailed documentation is included with the source code package in the subdirectory doc/html, or you can browse it here online. For a detailed description of the methods for staff removal, degradation, and performance evaluation together with an experimental comparison of the algortihms, see

C. Dalitz, M. Droettboom, B. Pranzas, I. Fujinaga: A Comparative Study of Staff Removal Algorithms. IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, vol. 30, no. 5, pp. 753-766 (2008)

When referring to this toolkit, you can cite this paper. When linking to this toolkit on a website, please link to the official project home page

Test data sets

There are currently two test sets publicly available for evaluating staff removal algorithms with this toolkit:

Authors and Acknowledgements

The authors of the OTR toolkit are:

Software Download

The source code of the MusicStaves toolkit is freely distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License. Note that the toolkit requires a working installation of Gamera.

File releases of stable versions are available below. Moreover you can get a development snapshot via SVN access from the MusicStaves SourceForge site. In short, you obtain the source code with the following command:

svn co svn:// music-staves

This will create the subdirectory music-staves and download the source code therein. You can then install the toolkit with

cd music-staves
python build && sudo python install

Available source code file releases for all platforms are:

For release notes, see the file CHANGES. For installation and usage instructions see the file doc/html/index.html in the source package. When all prerequisites are installed, installation simply requires typing

python build && sudo python install

On Windows, you can alternatively also use the binary installer (make sure you have also installed Gamera!):