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 (8 years ago) (2013-04-21) Since 0.7.3: GPL-3.0-only
0.1.0 to 0.7.2: GPL-2.0-only
No cost Linux
Denemo Yes Yes Step-time MIDI Denemo,[e] limited LilyPond,[d] MusicXML[b] LilyPond,[d] WAV, Ogg, PDF, PNG, Jeremiah Benham, Richard Shann 2.5.0; 3 March 2021 (7 months ago) (2021-03-03) GPL-3.0-or-later No cost Windows, macOS, Linux
Early Notation Typesetter No Yes No No ENT[f] ENT,[f] PDF Samuel Gossner, Daniel West, Dieter Theuns 0.9.6; 20 October 2020 (11 months ago) (2020-10-20) Proprietary $0 (single font), $6/mo for all fonts Windows, macOS, Linux
Frescobaldi No WYSIWYM MIDI LilyPond,[d] MusicXML[b] MusicXML,[b] PDF Wilbert Berendsen 3.1.3; 25 December 2020 (9 months ago) (2020-12-25) GPL-2.0-or-later No cost Windows, macOS, Linux
Impro-Visor No Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI Impro-Visor[g] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] PDF Bob Keller 10.2; 1 August 2019 (2 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,[h] ETF,[i] MIDI,[c] MusicXML[b] PDF, PNG, PS, SVG Han-Wen Nienhuys, Jan Nieuwenhuizen 2.22.1; 25 April 2021 (5 months ago) (2021-04-25) GPL-3.0-or-later No cost Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD
MuseScore Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, SoundFonts, SFZ MuseScore,[j] MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[k] MIDI,[c] Karaoke,[l] MuseData,[m] Bagpipe Music Writer,[n] Band-in-a-Box,[o] Overture,[p] Capella,[q] CapXML,[r] Guitar Pro (versions 1–6),[s] PDF (experimental), ABC[h] (with plugin) MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[k] PDF, PNG, SVG, MIDI,[c] WAV, FLAC, Ogg, MP3 The MuseScore developer community 3.6.2; 8 February 2021 (8 months ago) (2021-02-08) GPL-2.0-only No cost Windows, macOS, Linux
MusiCAD No Yes MIDI MusiCAD,[t] MIDI,[c] ABC[h] MIDI,[c] ABC,[h] PDF, JPEG, PNG, BMP Musys Software 4.0 Proprietary No cost,[3] license for €45 Windows
Musink No WYSIWYM MIDI Musink[u] MIDI,[c] PDF, PNG, XPS Lee Reid 1.2 Proprietary No cost Windows
MusiXTeX Yes No No No TeX (incl. PMX and M-Tx),[v] MusicXML[b] (with converters) DVI,[w] PS, PDF, MIDI[c] (for PMX input) Daniel Taupin, Ross Mitchell, Andreas Egler 1.30; 20 March 2020 (18 months ago) (2020-03-20) GPL-2.0-or-later No cost Windows, macOS, Linux
Philip's Music Writer Yes No No MIDI PMW[x] MIDI,[c] PS Philip Hazel 4.51; 6 January 2021 (9 months ago) (2021-01-06) GPL-2.0-or-later No cost Linux (older versions for RISC OS)
Power Tab Editor Yes Yes MIDI Power Tab,[y] MIDI[c] MIDI,[c] ASCII tab,[z] BMP, HTML Brad Larsen; 26 August 2006 (15 years ago) (2006-08-26) Proprietary No cost Windows
Rosegarden No Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI Rosegarden,[aa] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Hydrogen[ab] LilyPond,[d] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Csound,[ac] Mup,[ad] PDF Chris Cannam, Richard Bown, Guillaume Laurent 21.06.1; 9 July 2021 (3 months ago) (2021-07-09) GPL-2.0-or-later No cost 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 4.1 Proprietary $0 (no file saving), $49/yr, $139/yr Windows, macOS, iOS
TuxGuitar Yes Yes MIDI TuxGuitar,[ae] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Guitar Pro (versions 1–6),[s] Power Tab,[y] TablEdit[af] MIDI,[c] Guitar Pro (versions 3–5),[s] LilyPond,[d] ASCII tab,[z] PDF Julian Gabriel Casadesus 1.5.4; 12 May 2020 (17 months ago) (2020-05-12) LGPL-2.1-only No cost Windows, macOS, Linux, FreeBSD
Capella Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST, SoundFonts Capella,[q] CapXML,[r] MusicXML,[b] MIDI[c] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] BMP, JPEG, TIFF, PNG, Truevision TGA, PCX, HTML Capella Software AG 8.0-13; 28 April 2020 (17 months ago) (2020-04-28) Proprietary $218 Windows, macOS
Dorico Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST Dorico,[ag] MusicXML,[b] MIDI[c] MIDI,[c] MusicXML,[b] WAV, MP3, PDF, PNG, TIFF, SVG Steinberg 3.5.12; 23 February 2021 (7 months ago) (2021-02-23) Proprietary $559 Windows, macOS
Encore Yes Yes MIDI Encore,[ah] MusicTime,[ai] Rhapsody,[aj] Compressed MusicXML[k] MIDI,[c] Cakewalk MIDI,[ak] Master Tracks Pro,[al] 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,[am] MusicXML,[b] MIDI[c] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] WAV, MP3, AIFF, PDF, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, EPS, BMP, GIF, PICT[4] MakeMusic 27; 15 June 2021 (4 months ago) (2021-06-15) Proprietary $600 Windows, macOS
Forte Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST Forte,[an] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] CapXML[r] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] BMP, JPEG Lugert Verlag GmbH 12; 2020 (1 year ago) (2020) Proprietary $229 Windows
Guitar Pro Yes Yes MIDI, RSE Guitar Pro (versions 1–7),[s] MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[k] MIDI,[c] ASCII tab,[z] Power Tab,[y] TablEdit[af] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] ASCII tab,[z] PNG, PDF, WAV Arobas Music 7.5.5 Proprietary $70 Windows, macOS, Linux
MagicScore Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, SoundFonts SFD,[ao] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Karaoke,[l] WAV, MP3 MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Karaoke,[l] WAV, MP3, PDF, TIFF, JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF, EMF, WMF Maestro Music Software 8 Proprietary $70 Windows
Mozart Yes Yes Real-time and step-time MIDI Mozart,[ap] MusicXML[b] NIFF[aq] MIDI[c] Karaoke[l] ABC[h] MusicXML[b] MIDI[c] ABC[h], BMP, EMF, GIF, JPEG, PBM, PNG, TIFF Mozart Music Software 15.0.7; 15 July 2021 (3 months ago) (2021-07-15) Proprietary $130 Windows
Mus2 No Yes MIDI Mus2[ar] 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,[as] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] ABC,[h] SongWright[at] MIDI,[c] PDF MusicEase Software 9.0 Proprietary $250 Windows, macOS
Notation Composer No Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, SoundFonts Notation,[au] MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[k] MIDI,[c] Karaoke[l] MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[k] PDF, MIDI,[c] Karaoke,[l] PNG, BMP, JPEG, GIF, WAV, FLAC, Ogg, MP3 Notation Software 4.0.1; 2020 (1 year ago) (2020) Proprietary $99 Windows
NoteWorthy Composer Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI NWC,[av] MIDI,[c] Karaoke[l] MIDI[c] NoteWorthy Software 2.75a.2; 2017 (4 years ago) (2017) Proprietary $49 Windows
Notion Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST MusicXML,[b] Compressed MusicXML,[k] MIDI,[c] Guitar Pro[s] (versions 4–5) MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] WAV PreSonus 6.8; 21 October 2020 (11 months ago) (2020-10-21) Proprietary $149 Windows, macOS, iOS (iPad)
Overture Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST, AU,[4] Overture,[p] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Score Writer,[aw] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] WAV, MP3 Sonic Scores; 2 December 2019 (22 months ago) (2019-12-02) Proprietary $249 Windows, macOS
Sibelius Yes Yes Step-time and real-time MIDI, VST, AU,[4] Avid library Sibelius,[ax] MusicXML,[b] MIDI[c] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] MP3, PDF, SVG, EPS, PNG, Avid Technology Inc. 2021.2; December 2020 (10 months ago) (2020-12) Proprietary $599, or $239/yr Windows, macOS, RISC OS
SmartScore Pro Yes Yes MIDI SmartScore,[ay] scanned images, MusicXML,[b] NIFF[aq] MusicXML,[b] MIDI,[c] Finale,[am] NIFF,[aq] PDF Musitek Corporation 10.5.8; June 2015 (6 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 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. ^ Denemo native format, .denemo
  6. ^ a b Early notation typesetter native format, .ent
  7. ^ Impro-Visor native format, .ls
  8. ^ a b c d e f g ABC plain text format, .abc
  9. ^ Finale Enigma Transport Format, .etf[2]
  10. ^ MuseScore native format, .mscz; uncompressed XML-based format, .mscx; style sheet, .mss; score album, .album
  11. ^ a b c d e f g MusicXML version 2.0 or later, compressed as a ZIP, .mxl
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Standard MIDI file format including standard MIDI lyrics, used for karaoke, .kar
  13. ^ MuseData project format, .md
  14. ^ Bagpipe Music Writer native format, .bww
  15. ^ Band-in-a-Box native format, .mgu or .sgu
  16. ^ a b Overture native format, .ove
  17. ^ a b Capella native format, binary file, .cap
  18. ^ a b c Capella native format, compressed ZIP containing XML, .capx
  19. ^ 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
  20. ^ MusiCAD plain text native format, .mc
  21. ^ Musink native format, .musink
  22. ^ PMX, preprocessor language for MusixTeX, .pmx; M-Tx, processor for PMX, .mtx
  23. ^ TeX device independent file format, .dvi
  24. ^ Philip's Music Writer native format, human-readable text, .pmw
  25. ^ a b c Power Tab Editor native format, .ptb
  26. ^ a b c d ASCII tablature plain text format, .txt, .tab, or .btab
  27. ^ Rosegarden native format, .rg
  28. ^ Hydrogen drum machine song XML file format, .h2song
  29. ^ Csound audio domain-specific language format, without orchestra data, .csd
  30. ^ Music Publisher Score file format, .mup
  31. ^ TuxGuitar native format, .tg
  32. ^ a b TablEdit native format, .tef
  33. ^ Dorico native format, .dorico
  34. ^ Encore native format, .enc
  35. ^ MusicTime (by the same developer as Encore) native format, .mto, .mus (different to Finale .mus)
  36. ^ Rhapsody (by the same developer as Encore) native format, .rhp
  37. ^ Cakewalk MIDI file format, .mff[clarification needed]
  38. ^ Master Tracks Pro (by the same developer as Encore) native format, .mts
  39. ^ a b Finale native format, .mus (2012 and earlier) or .musx (2014 and later)
  40. ^ Forte native format, .fnf
  41. ^ Maestro software family native format, .sfd
  42. ^ Mozart native format, .mz
  43. ^ a b c Notation Interchange File Format, .nif
  44. ^ Mus2 notation and tuning file format, .mus2, .mu2
  45. ^ MusicEase native format, .mez
  46. ^ SongWright native format, .sw
  47. ^ NoteSoft file, Notation Software native format, .not
  48. ^ NoteWorthy Composer native format, .nwc or .nwctxt
  49. ^ Score Writer (by the same developer as Overture) native format, .scw
  50. ^ Sibelius (scorewriter) native format, .sib
  51. ^ SmartScore native format, .enf

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 3 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 d Mac version only