I wanted to split / ungroup the objects. But the object is not a grouped object.

So I tried to "break apart", but the shape gaps were closed, and colored.

How can I separate it to multiple objects without re-coloring everything?

Are these regular object?

SE question 91098 explains the "what", but not the "why" it became this way (this object is not from bitmap-trace). And the answer is not applicable to ~500 different objects.

3 Answers 3


Many of the objects are combined (or compound) paths, and some have been combined with other objects on the page. You can't separate them unless you do "Break apart". When letters or symbols with counters inside are broken apart, they will fill with the fill colour of the original object. This has to do with the way the document has been created or the software used to create it, not something you can really fix as such.

However, after breaking apart you can of course reselect the pieces and recombine them. Obviously this is going to be tedious, since you'd have to individually select and recombine every object that has a counter.

An example. Here I'm breaking apart the treble clef symbols which are all one combined object, then I reselect the pieces of one of them, and then recombine the pieces. You can use the shortcut for Combine Ctrl+K to speed it up a little.

enter image description here


The music symbols are collected to combined paths in a totally bizarre way. Breaking apart generates a mess which is slower to parse and rebuild than writing a copy in a score editor. That can be intentional to make extracting parts and reusing difficult.

I guess you are not the prima vista guy who reads and plays it directly into a score editor or workstation. And you try to avoid to step input it as discrete notes (which probably is at least as good option as trying to reorder the SVG). You can try sheet music scanning software. You have perfectly sharp file - only make the needed bitmap version or PDF. After scanning and fixing possible misinterpretations edit it as music in score editor or in a pro level MIDI & audio workstation. There you transpose and make variations easily and print the new score.

There's plenty of sheet music scanning software available. Read this for a start: https://www.musicrepo.com/music-scanning-software/

BTW. Program SmartScore Guitar (Demo) recognized your example well. There was no wrong nor missing notes, pauses nor arcs. A couple of dots were missing or actually placed for wrong note, but I fixed it because the program is actually score editor with scanning capability. Chord symbols were missing except the last one. Also the chords and ending area brackets were possible to be fixed, but I skipped them.

An annoying thing was that your SVG had to be converted to PDF at first. The program scans only PDFs. This is a snippet of the result:

enter image description here

Different parallel lines have different colors. Here's only found 2 lines - the red one and the black one.

I tried for curiosity also ScanScore Ensemble (14 day trial) It didn't understand this has 2 parallel lines on the same system. That capability can be found in the pro version.

  • WOA! That's of course the right / correct answer to my problem as a whole. Thanks a lot! I originally only wanted to move parts so the whole piece will fit on a single page, which I managed > as per Billy's steps (and some more). But i'm dying to hear the midi version as well :) It's harder to find "score ocr" for linux, but the thing isn't complicated for (re)writing with lilypond etc. Commented May 6, 2021 at 22:03

Addition to Billy Kerr's (no family relation) answer:

After breaking apart, the stroke disappeared, and didn't retain after re-combining. I had to re-apply stroke.

So full solution:

  1. Select everything,
  2. Path > Breaking apart
  3. set "Stroke paint" > "flat color", and Width > 0.2pt
  4. Select groups as fit
  5. Path > Combine.

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