Comparison of scorewriters

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This is a comparison of music notation programs.

General information[edit]

Name Guitar tablature WYSIWYG editor MIDI entry[1] Playback File formats Developer(s) Stable release; review date License Cost Operating systems
Import Export
Canorus No Yes MIDI CanorusML,[a] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] simple LilyPond[d] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] LilyPond,[d] PDF Reinhard Katzmann, Matevž Jekovec, Georg Rudolph 0.7.3; 18 June 2018 (4 years ago) (2018-06-18) Since 0.7.3: GPL-3.0-only
0.1.0 to 0.7.2: GPL-2.0-only
No cost Linux
Capella Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST, SoundFonts Capella,[e] CapXML,[f] MusicXML,[b] MIDI[c] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] BMP, JPEG, TIFF, PNG, Truevision TGA, PCX, HTML Capella Software AG 9; 22 November 2021 (14 months ago) (2021-11-22) Proprietary Non-free Windows, macOS
Denemo Yes Yes Step-time MIDI Denemo,[g] limited LilyPond,[d] MusicXML[b] LilyPond,[d] MusicXML, WAV, Ogg, PDF, PNG, MIDI Jeremiah Benham, Richard Shann 2.6.0; 11 March 2022 (10 months ago) (2022-03-11) GPL-3.0-or-later No cost Windows, macOS, Linux
Dorico Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST Dorico,[h] MusicXML,[b] MIDI[c] MIDI,[c] MusicXML,[b] WAV, MP3, PDF, PNG, TIFF, SVG Steinberg 4.3.11; 6 December 2022 (60 days ago) (2022-12-06) Proprietary Non-free Windows, macOS
Early Notation Typesetter No Yes No No ENT[i] ENT,[i] PDF Samuel Gossner, Daniel West, Dieter Theuns 0.9.6; 20 October 2020 (2 years ago) (2020-10-20) Proprietary No charge for single font Windows, macOS, Linux
Encore Yes Yes MIDI Encore,[j] MusicTime,[k] Rhapsody,[l] Compressed MusicXML[m] MIDI,[c] Cakewalk MIDI,[n] Master Tracks Pro,[o] PDF Passport Music Software 5.0.4/5.0.7 Proprietary Non-free Windows, macOS
Finale Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST, AU,[2] Garritan library Finale,[p] MusicXML,[b] MIDI[c] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] WAV, MP3, AIFF, PDF, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, EPS, BMP, GIF, PICT[2] MakeMusic 27.2; 2 March 2022 (11 months ago) (2022-03-02) Proprietary Non-free Windows, macOS
Forte Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST Forte,[q] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] CapXML[f] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] BMP, JPEG Lugert Verlag GmbH 12; 2020 (3 years ago) (2020) Proprietary Non-free Windows
Frescobaldi No WYSIWYM MIDI LilyPond,[d] MusicXML,[b] ABC MusicXML,[b] PDF Wilbert Berendsen 3.2; 5 May 2022 (8 months ago) (2022-05-05) GPL-2.0-or-later No cost Windows, macOS, Linux
Guitar Pro Yes Yes MIDI, RSE Guitar Pro (versions 1–7),[r] MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[m] MIDI,[c] ASCII tab,[s] Power Tab,[t] TablEdit[u] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] ASCII tab,[s] PNG, PDF, WAV Arobas Music 8.0 Proprietary Non-free Windows, macOS, Linux
Impro-Visor No Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI Impro-Visor[v] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] PDF Bob Keller 10.2; 1 August 2019 (3 years ago) (2019-08-01) GPL-2.0-or-later No cost Windows, macOS, Linux
LilyPond Yes No No MIDI LilyPond;[d] using converters: ABC,[w] ETF,[x] MIDI,[c] MusicXML[b] PDF, PNG, PS, SVG Han-Wen Nienhuys, Jan Nieuwenhuizen 2.24.0; 15 December 2022 (51 days ago) (2022-12-15) GPL-3.0-or-later No cost Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD
MagicScore Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, SoundFonts SFD,[y] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Karaoke,[z] WAV, MP3 MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Karaoke,[z] WAV, MP3, PDF, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF, EMF, WMF Maestro Music Software 8 Proprietary Non-free Windows
Mozart Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI Mozart,[aa] MusicXML[b] NIFF[ab] MIDI[c] Karaoke[z] ABC[w] MusicXML[b] MIDI[c] ABC,[w] BMP, EMF, GIF, JPEG, PBM, PNG, TIFF Mozart Music Software 16.0.3; December 2022 (2 months ago) (2022-12) Proprietary Non-free Windows
Mus2 No Yes MIDI Mus2[ac] MIDI,[c] AIFF, WAV, PDF, SVG, BMP, JPEG, PNG, Utku Uzmen (Data-Soft Ltd.) 3.2.3; November 2022 (3 months ago) (2022-11) Proprietary Non-free Windows, macOS
MuseScore Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, SoundFonts, SFZ MuseScore,[ad] MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[m] MIDI,[c] Karaoke,[z] MuseData,[ae] Bagpipe Music Writer,[af] Band-in-a-Box,[ag] Overture,[ah] Capella,[e] CapXML,[f] Guitar Pro (versions 1–6),[r] Power Tab (experimental),[t] PDF (experimental), ABC[w] (with plugin) MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[m] PDF, PNG, SVG, MIDI,[c] WAV, FLAC, Ogg, MP3 The MuseScore developer community 4.0.1; 13 January 2023 (22 days ago) (2023-01-13) GPL-3.0-only for desktop tools; online and mobile tools are proprietary and freemium No cost for most tools Windows, macOS, Linux
MusiCAD No Yes MIDI MusiCAD,[ai] MIDI,[c] ABC[w] MIDI,[c] ABC,[w] PDF, JPEG, PNG, BMP Musys Software 4.0; 1 May 2015 (7 years ago) (2015-05-01) Proprietary Prompt to purchase license appears when saving[4] Windows
MusicEase Yes Yes MIDI MusicEase,[aj] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] ABC,[w] SongWright[ak] MIDI,[c] PDF MusicEase Software 10; 2021 (2 years ago) (2021) Proprietary Non-free Windows, macOS
Musink No WYSIWYM MIDI Musink[al] MIDI,[c] PDF, PNG, XPS Lee Reid Proprietary No cost Windows
MusiXTeX Yes No No No TeX (incl. PMX and M-Tx),[am] MusicXML[b] (with converters) DVI,[an] PS, PDF, MIDI[c] (for PMX input) Daniel Taupin, Ross Mitchell, Andreas Egler 1.36; 11 January 2023 (24 days ago) (2023-01-11) GPL-2.0-or-later No cost Windows, macOS, Linux
Notation Composer No Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, SoundFonts Notation,[ao] MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[m] MIDI,[c] Karaoke[z] MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[m] PDF, MIDI,[c] Karaoke,[z] PNG, BMP, JPEG, GIF, WAV, FLAC, Ogg, MP3 Notation Software 4.0.3; 2022 (1 year ago) (2022) Proprietary Non-free Windows
NoteWorthy Composer Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI NWC,[ap] MIDI,[c] Karaoke[z] MIDI[c] NoteWorthy Software 2.75a.2; 2017 (6 years ago) (2017) Proprietary Non-free Windows
Notion Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[m] MIDI,[c] Guitar Pro[r] (versions 4–5) MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] WAV PreSonus 6.8; 21 October 2020 (2 years ago) (2020-10-21) Proprietary Non-free Windows, macOS, iOS (iPad)
Overture Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST, AU[2] Overture,[ah] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Score Writer,[aq] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] WAV, MP3 Sonic Scores; 2 December 2019 (3 years ago) (2019-12-02) Proprietary Non-free Windows, macOS
Philip's Music Writer Yes No No MIDI PMW[ar] MIDI,[c] PS Philip Hazel 5.20; 15 July 2022 (6 months ago) (2022-07-15) GPL-2.0-or-later No cost Linux (older versions for RISC OS)
Power Tab Editor Yes Yes MIDI Power Tab,[t] MIDI[c] MIDI,[c] ASCII tab,[s] BMP, HTML Brad Larsen; 26 August 2006 (16 years ago) (2006-08-26) Proprietary No cost Windows
Rosegarden No Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI Rosegarden,[as] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Hydrogen[at] LilyPond,[d] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Csound,[au] Mup,[av] PDF Chris Cannam, Richard Bown, Guillaume Laurent 22.12.1; 21 December 2022 (45 days ago) (2022-12-21) GPL-2.0-or-later No cost Linux
SCORE Yes No Step-time MIDI SCORE (.mus) EPS Leland Smith,
San Andreas Press
5.01; December 2013 (9 years ago) (2013-12) Proprietary Non-free MS-DOS
ScoreCloud Studio No Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST MIDI,[c] live audio MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] WAV, PDF Doremir Music Research AB 4.7.8; 2022 (1 year ago) (2022) Proprietary Free without file saving Windows, macOS, iOS
Sibelius Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST, AU,[2] Avid library Sibelius,[aw] MusicXML,[b] MIDI[c] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] MP3, PDF, SVG, EPS, PNG, Avid Technology Inc. 2022.12; 14 December 2022 (52 days ago) (2022-12-14) Proprietary Non-free Windows, macOS, RISC OS
SmartScore 64 Yes Yes MIDI SmartScore,[ax] scanned images, MusicXML,[b] NIFF[ab] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Finale,[p] NIFF,[ab] PDF Musitek Corporation 11.5.92/93; September 2022 (5 months ago) (2022-09) Proprietary Non-free Windows, macOS
TuxGuitar Yes Yes MIDI TuxGuitar,[ay] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Guitar Pro (versions 1–6),[r] Power Tab,[t] TablEdit[u] MIDI,[c] Guitar Pro (versions 3–5),[r] LilyPond,[d] ASCII tab,[s] PDF Julian Gabriel Casadesus 1.5.6; 28 April 2022 (9 months ago) (2022-04-28) LGPL-2.1-only No cost Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD
Name Guitar tablature WYSIWYG editor MIDI entry[1] Playback Import Export Developer(s) Stable release; review date License Cost Operating systems
File formats

File formats and extensions[edit]

  1. ^ Canorus native format, .can
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am MusicXML, open standard XML-based music notation exchange format, .xml or (version 3.1 or later) .musicxml
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av Standard MIDI file format, .mid or .midi
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h LilyPond plain text native format, .ly
  5. ^ a b Capella native format, binary file, .cap
  6. ^ a b c Capella native format, compressed ZIP containing XML, .capx
  7. ^ Denemo native format, .denemo
  8. ^ Dorico native format, .dorico
  9. ^ a b Early notation typesetter native format, .ent
  10. ^ Encore native format, .enc
  11. ^ MusicTime (by the same developer as Encore) native format, .mto, .mus (different to Finale .mus)
  12. ^ Rhapsody (by the same developer as Encore) native format, .rhp
  13. ^ a b c d e f g MusicXML version 2.0 or later, compressed as a ZIP, .mxl
  14. ^ Cakewalk MIDI file format, .mff[clarification needed]
  15. ^ Master Tracks Pro (by the same developer as Encore) native format, .mts
  16. ^ a b Finale native format, .mus (2012 and earlier) or .musx (2014 and later)
  17. ^ Forte native format, .fnf
  18. ^ a b c d e Guitar Pro native format version 1–2, .gtp; version 3, .gp3; version 4, .gp4; version 5, .gp5; version 6, .gpx; version 7, .gp
  19. ^ a b c d ASCII tablature plain text format, .txt, .tab, or .btab
  20. ^ a b c d Power Tab Editor native format, .ptb
  21. ^ a b TablEdit native format, .tef
  22. ^ Impro-Visor native format, .ls
  23. ^ a b c d e f g ABC plain text format, .abc
  24. ^ Finale Enigma Transport Format, .etf[3]
  25. ^ Maestro software family native format, .sfd
  26. ^ a b c d e f g Standard MIDI file format including standard MIDI lyrics, used for karaoke, .kar
  27. ^ Mozart native format, .mz
  28. ^ a b c Notation Interchange File Format, .nif
  29. ^ Mus2 notation and tuning file format, .mus2, .mu2
  30. ^ MuseScore native format, .mscz; uncompressed XML-based format, .mscx; style sheet, .mss; score album, .album
  31. ^ MuseData project format, .md
  32. ^ Bagpipe Music Writer native format, .bww
  33. ^ Band-in-a-Box native format, .mgu or .sgu
  34. ^ a b Overture native format, .ove
  35. ^ MusiCAD plain text native format, .mc
  36. ^ MusicEase native format, .mez
  37. ^ SongWright native format, .sw
  38. ^ Musink native format, .musink
  39. ^ PMX, preprocessor language for MusixTeX, .pmx; M-Tx, processor for PMX, .mtx
  40. ^ TeX device independent file format, .dvi
  41. ^ NoteSoft file, Notation Software native format, .not
  42. ^ NoteWorthy Composer native format, .nwc or .nwctxt
  43. ^ Score Writer (by the same developer as Overture) native format, .scw
  44. ^ Philip's Music Writer native format, human-readable text, .pmw
  45. ^ Rosegarden native format, .rg
  46. ^ Hydrogen drum machine song XML file format, .h2song
  47. ^ Csound audio domain-specific language format, without orchestra data, .csd
  48. ^ Music Publisher Score file format, .mup
  49. ^ Sibelius (scorewriter) native format, .sib
  50. ^ SmartScore native format, .enf
  51. ^ TuxGuitar native format, .tg

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b When entering notes, "step-time" means one first selects the note duration then enters notes and chords one a time, while "real-time" means one plays the notes to enter with correct rhythm and the software recognizes the note durations.
  2. ^ a b c d Mac version only
  3. ^ "An incomplete description of the Enigma Transport Format". Archived from the original on 3 May 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  4. ^ Restrictions