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FLOSS Friday: MuseScore

March 8th, 2010

Today we look at a software tool for a more specialized audience: MuseScore.  For those who need to create musical scores for distribution, education, or simply composition, you know that the world of score editing software offers many expensive solutions.  For you, I present MuseScore.

MuseScore is cross platform, and has installers/executables for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.  I’m not a musician, and can’t read music, but based on the screen shots the software looks feature rich and capable of producing nicely formatted output.

Here, for instance, is the main screen:

Muse Score Main Window

Simply having screen output is not sufficient, so you’ll want to have many options for the printed output.  Here are the print settings:

Muse Score Page Settings

And, to make creating new scores easy, there’s a handy wizard interface.  Below is just one step of those available in the wizard:

Muse Score New Score Wizard

With FLOSS, it’s important to have a community that can provide help with problems, whether installing, using, or configuring the software.  MuseScore has an active forum section, as well as a respectable end user document in both HTML and Adobe Acrobat (aka PDF) formats.

As is pretty much a requirement for software these days, MuseScore allows for plugins.  The plugin library is not extensive, but what’s there seems really useful.


  1. Mike Dixon
    March 8th, 2010 at 15:51 | #1

    Thanks for the info here. However, this is beta software, and I can’t expect my faculty in the School of Music to adopt this as a tool for their students. In face, we would need something that is good at creating music examples and an open-ended music product. MuseScore, unfortunately, has some inflexible features that requires everything I input to stick to a particular meter. That’s no good for professors creating music examples for quizzes, tests, or assignments. NotePad, from the folks who make Finale, is a bit more flexible, but it costs $9.95. However, with that you get full tech support vs. hopeful feedback from the forums of MuseScore.

    Not trying to shoot this down, but those who are casual musicians looking for an inexpensive program to create music notation, this might be a good start, barring any bugs the beta might still have in it.

  2. David
    March 9th, 2010 at 20:40 | #2

    Mike Dixon, Creating meterless music isn’t much more difficult than in Finale

    With regards to NotePad, it is anything but flexible and not something I would recommend to anyone. Have you actually used it? Last time I checked it only allowed one time signature for the whole piece.

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