If you’ve ever stumbled upon a song file with the “.ptb” extension, well, you’ve found a Power Tab (Music) file that you can open and edit thanks to this free (Windows-only) editor:
Power Tab Editor is a tablature authoring tool… to create sheet music, more commonly known to musicians as tablature. The program provides the most commonly used symbols in tablature, including chord names, chord diagrams, rhythm slashes, bends, slides, hammer-ons/pull-offs, harmonics and palm muting.
This program even plays (in full MIDI glory) the song with metronome!
Sadly, it appears that development on this particular program ended in 2006 with the Music Publishers’ Association announcement that they intended to go after folks distributing sheet music. According to the Wikipedia entry, however, the source code is available on Google Code.
I’ll not editorialize about supporting artists, fair compensation for creative works, overreaching corporate partners squelching fair use or the artists’ intent, nor will I rant about 90 year copyright protection just to save Mickey-flippin’-Mouse from Public Domain. Nope, I’m not one to rant… no editorializing here.