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 (USD) 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 0.7.1; 21 April 2013 (5 years ago) (2013-04-21) GPL Free Linux
Denemo Yes Yes Step-time MIDI Denemo,[e] limited LilyPond,[d] MusicXML[b] LilyPond,[d] WAV, Ogg, PDF, PNG, Jeremiah Benham, Richard Shann 2.2.0; 24 July 2017 (16 months ago) (2017-07-24) GPL Free Windows, macOS, Linux
Frescobaldi No WYSIWYM MIDI LilyPond,[d] MusicXML[b] MusicXML,[b] PDF Wilbert Berendsen 2.20.0; 17 February 2017 (21 months ago) (2017-02-17) GPL Free Windows, macOS, Linux
Impro-Visor No Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI Impro-Visor[f] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] PDF Bob Keller 9.1; 19 June 2017 (17 months ago) (2017-06-19) GPL Free Windows, macOS, Linux
LilyPond Yes No No MIDI LilyPond;[d] using converters: ABC,[g] ETF,[h] MIDI,[c] MusicXML[b] PDF, PNG, PS, SVG Han-Wen Nienhuys, Jan Nieuwenhuizen 2.18.2; 17 March 2014 (4 years ago) (2014-03-17) GPL Free Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD
MuseScore Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, SoundFonts, SFZ MuseScore,[i] MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[j] MIDI,[c] Karaoke,[k] MuseData,[l] Bagpipe Music Writer,[m] Band-in-a-Box,[n] Overture,[o] Capella,[p] CapXML,[q] Guitar Pro (versions 1–6),[r] PDF (experimental), ABC[g] (with plugin) MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[j] PDF, PNG, SVG, MIDI,[c] WAV, FLAC, Ogg, MP3 Werner Schweer and others 2.3.2; 31 July 2018 (4 months ago) (2018-07-31) GPL v2 Free Windows, macOS, Linux
MusiCAD No Yes MIDI MusiCAD,[s] MIDI,[c] ABC[g] MIDI,[c] ABC,[g] PDF, JPEG, PNG, BMP Musys Software 4.0 Proprietary Free,[3] license for €45 Windows
Musink No WYSIWYM MIDI Musink[t] MIDI,[c] PDF, PNG, XPS Lee Reid 1.2 Proprietary Free Windows
MusiXTeX Yes No No No TeX (incl. PMX and M-Tx),[u] MusicXML[b] (with converters) DVI,[v] PS, PDF, MIDI[c] (for PMX input) Daniel Taupin, Ross Mitchell, Andreas Egler 1.26; 15 November 2017 (12 months ago) (2017-11-15) GPL Free Windows, macOS, Linux
Philip's Music Writer Yes No No MIDI PMW[w] MIDI,[c] PS Philip Hazel 4.30; 15 June 2018 (5 months ago) (2018-06-15) GPL Free Linux (older versions for RISC OS)
Power Tab Editor Yes Yes MIDI Power Tab,[x] MIDI[c] MIDI,[c] ASCII tab,[y] BMP, HTML Brad Larsen; 26 August 2006 (12 years ago) (2006-08-26) Proprietary Free Windows
Rosegarden No Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI Rosegarden,[z] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Hydrogen[aa] LilyPond,[d] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Csound,[ab] Mup,[ac] PDF Chris Cannam, Richard Bown, Guillaume Laurent 18.06; 6 June 2018 (6 months ago) (2018-06-06) GPL Free Linux
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 4.0.2 Proprietary Freemium (no file saving), $139/yr for full version Windows, macOS, iOS
TuxGuitar Yes Yes MIDI TuxGuitar,[ad] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Guitar Pro (versions 1–6),[r] Power Tab,[x] TablEdit[ae] MIDI,[c] Guitar Pro (versions 3–5),[r] LilyPond,[d] ASCII tab,[y] PDF Julian Gabriel Casadesus 1.5.2; 3 August 2018 (4 months ago) (2018-08-03) LGPL Free Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD
Capella Yes Yes MIDI, VST Capella,[p] CapXML,[q] MusicXML,[b] MIDI[c] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] BMP, JPEG, TIFF, PNG, Truevision TGA, PCX, HTML Capella Software AG 7.1-37; 13 January 2017 (22 months ago) (2017-01-13) Proprietary $228 Windows
Dorico No Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST Dorico,[af] MusicXML,[b] MIDI[c] MIDI,[c] MusicXML,[b] WAV, MP3, PDF, PNG, TIFF, SVG Steinberg 2.2; 28 November 2018 (13 days ago) (2018-11-28) Proprietary $559 Windows, macOS
Encore Yes Yes MIDI Encore,[ag] MusicTime,[ah] Rhapsody,[ai] Compressed MusicXML[j] MIDI,[c] Cakewalk MIDI,[aj] MadTracker 2,[ak] PDF Passport Music Software 5.0.4/5.0.7 Proprietary $280 Windows, macOS
Finale Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST, AU,[4] Garritan library Finale,[al] MusicXML,[b] MIDI[c] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] WAV, MP3, AIFF, PDF, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, EPS, BMP, GIF, PICT[4] MakeMusic 26.0.1; 31 October 2018 (41 days ago) (2018-10-31) Proprietary $600 Windows, macOS
Forte Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST Forte,[am] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] CapXML[q] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] BMP, JPEG Lugert Verlag 10; 2018 (0 years ago) (2018) Proprietary $229 Windows
Guitar Pro Yes Yes MIDI, RSE Guitar Pro (versions 1–7),[r] MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[j] MIDI,[c] ASCII tab,[y] Power Tab,[x] TablEdit[ae] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] ASCII tab,[y] PNG, PDF, WAV Arobas Music 7.5.0 Proprietary $70 Windows, macOS, Linux
MagicScore Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, SoundFonts SFD,[an] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Karaoke,[k] WAV, MP3 MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Karaoke,[k] WAV, MP3, PDF, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF, EMF, WMF Maestro Music Software 8 Proprietary $70 Windows
Mozart Yes Yes Real-time MIDI Mozart,[ao] MusicXML[b] BMP, EMF, GIF, JPEG, PBM, PNG, David Webber; 22 November 2018 (19 days ago) (2018-11-22) Proprietary $155 Windows
Mus2 No Yes MIDI Mus2[ap] MIDI,[c] AIFF, WAV, PDF, SVG, BMP, JPEG, PNG, Utku Uzmen (Data-Soft Ltd.) 2.1.5 Proprietary $60 Windows, macOS
MusicEase Yes Yes MIDI MusicEase,[aq] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] ABC,[g] SongWright[ar] MIDI,[c] PDF MusicEase Software 9.0 Proprietary $250 Windows, macOS
Notation Composer No Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, SoundFonts Notation,[as] MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[j] MIDI,[c] Karaoke[k] MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[j] PDF, MIDI,[c] Karaoke,[k] PNG, BMP, JPEG, GIF, WAV, FLAC, Ogg, MP3 Notation Software 3.1.1; 27 February 2018 (9 months ago) (2018-02-27) Proprietary $98 Windows
NoteWorthy Composer Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI NWC,[at] MIDI,[c] Karaoke[k] MIDI[c] NoteWorthy Software 2.75a.2; 2017 (1 year ago) (2017) Proprietary $49 Windows
Notion Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[j] MIDI,[c] Guitar Pro[r] (versions 4–5) MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] WAV PreSonus 6.3; 13 December 2017 (11 months ago) (2017-12-13) Proprietary $149 Windows, macOS, iOS (iPad)
Overture Yes Yes MIDI, VST Overture,[o] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Score Writer,[au] Encore[ag] MIDI,[c] WAV Geniesoft 5.5.2-5; 1 May 2018 (7 months ago) (2018-05-01) Proprietary $249 Windows, macOS
Sibelius Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST, AU,[4] Avid library Sibelius,[av] MusicXML,[b] MIDI[c] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] MP3, PDF, SVG, EPS, PNG, Avid Technology Inc. 2018.11; November 2018 (1 month ago) (2018-11) Proprietary $599, or $239/yr Windows, macOS, RISC OS
SmartScore Pro Yes Yes MIDI SmartScore,[aw] scanned images, MusicXML,[b] NIFF[ax] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Finale,[al] NIFF,[ax] PDF Musitek Corporation 10.5.8; June 2015 (3 years ago) (2015-06) Proprietary $399 Windows, macOS
Name Guitar tablature WYSIWYG editor MIDI entry[1] Playback Import Export Developer(s) Stable release; review date License Cost (USD) 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 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 Standard MIDI file format, .mid or .midi
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h LilyPond plain text native format, .ly
  5. ^ Denemo native format, .denemo
  6. ^ Impro-Visor native format, .ls
  7. ^ a b c d e ABC plain text format, .abc
  8. ^ Finale Enigma Transport Format, .etf[2]
  9. ^ MuseScore native format, .mscz; uncompressed XML-based format, .mscx; style sheet, .mss; score album, .album
  10. ^ a b c d e f g MusicXML version 2.0 or later, compressed as a ZIP, .mxl
  11. ^ a b c d e f Standard MIDI file format including standard MIDI lyrics, used for karaoke, .kar
  12. ^ MuseData project format, .md
  13. ^ Bagpipe Music Writer native format, .bww
  14. ^ Band-in-a-Box native format, .mgu or .sgu
  15. ^ a b Overture native format, .ove
  16. ^ a b Capella native format, binary file, .cap
  17. ^ a b c Capella native format, compressed ZIP containing XML, .capx
  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. ^ MusiCAD plain text native format, .mc
  20. ^ Musink native format, .musink
  21. ^ PMX, preprocessor language for MusixTeX, .pmx; M-Tx, processor for PMX, .mtx
  22. ^ TeX device independent file format, .dvi
  23. ^ Philip's Music Writer native format, huamn-readable text, .pmw
  24. ^ a b c Power Tab Editor native format, .ptb
  25. ^ a b c d ASCII tablature plain text format, .txt, .tab, or .btab
  26. ^ Rosegarden native format, .rg
  27. ^ Hydrogen drum machine song XML file format, .h2song
  28. ^ Csound audio domain-specific language format, without orchestra data, .csd
  29. ^ Music Publisher Score file format, .mup
  30. ^ TuxGuitar native format, .tg
  31. ^ a b TablEdit native format, .tef
  32. ^ Dorico native format, .dorico
  33. ^ a b Encore native format, .enc
  34. ^ MusicTime (by the same developer as Encore) native format, .mto
  35. ^ Rhapsody (by the same developer as Encore) native format, .rhp
  36. ^ Cakewalk MIDI file format, .mff[clarification needed]
  37. ^ Madtracker 2 sample file format, .mts
  38. ^ a b Finale native format, .mus (2012 and earlier) or .musx (2014 and later)
  39. ^ Forte native format, .fnf
  40. ^ Maestro software family native format, .sfd
  41. ^ Mozart native format, .mz
  42. ^ Mus2 notation and tuning file format, .mus2, .mu2
  43. ^ MusicEase native format, .mez
  44. ^ SongWright native format, .sw
  45. ^ NoteSoft file, Notation Software native format, .not
  46. ^ NoteWorthy Composer native format, .nwc or .nwctxt
  47. ^ Score Writer (by the same developer as Overture) native format, .scw
  48. ^ Sibelius (scorewriter) native format, .sib
  49. ^ SmartScore native format, .enf
  50. ^ a b Notation Interchange File Format, .nif

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. ^ "An incomplete description of the Enigma Transport Format". Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2017.
  3. ^ Prompt to purchase license appears when saving. See Tryware and Restrictions for full details.
  4. ^ a b c Mac version only