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New Musescore logo.svg
Musescore 3.5.0 43c5553 Qt 5.15.0.png
MuseScore 3.5.0 in dark mode, showing palettes, inspector, and piano keyboard
Original author(s)Werner Schweer
Developer(s)The MuseScore developer community[1]
Initial release4 February 2011; 10 years ago (2011-02-04)[2]
Stable release
3.6.2 / 8 February 2021; 4 months ago (2021-02-08)
Written inC++, Qt
Operating systemWindows 7 and later, Linux, macOS 10.10 and later
Platformx86-64 (Windows, Linux and macOS), IA-32 (Windows only)
Size96 to 143 MB
Available in22 languages[3]
List of languages
Afrikaans, Basque, Catalan, Chinese (China, Taiwan, Hong Kong), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (United Kingdom and United States), Faroese, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Russian, Spanish, Swedish
LicenseMuseScore 0-3: GPL-2.0-only with font exception and proprietary (online and mobile)[4]

MuseScore is a scorewriter for Windows, macOS, and Linux supporting a wide variety of file formats and input methods. It is released as free and open-source software under the GNU General Public License. MuseScore is accompanied by a freemium mobile score viewer and playback app, and an online score sharing platform.


MuseScore was originally created as a fork of the MusE sequencer's codebase. At that time, MusE included notation capabilities and in 2002, Werner Schweer, one of the MusE developers, decided to remove notation support from MusE and fork the code into a stand-alone notation program.[5][6]

The website was created in 2008, and quickly showed a rapidly rising number of MuseScore downloads.[7] By December 2008, the download rate was up to 15,000 per month.

Version 0.9.5 was released in August 2009. By October 2009, MuseScore had been downloaded more than one thousand times per day. By the fourth quarter of 2010, MuseScore was being downloaded 80,000 times per month.[8][9]

At the end of 2013, the project moved from SourceForge to GitHub, and continuous download statistics have not been publicly available since then, but in March 2015 a press release stated that MuseScore had been downloaded over eight million times,[10] and in December 2016 the project stated that version 2.0.3 had been downloaded 1.9 million times in the nine months since its release.[11]

The MuseScore company uses income from their commercial sheet music sharing service to support the development of the free notation software.[12]

In 2018, the MuseScore company was acquired by Ultimate Guitar, which added full-time paid developers to the open source team.[13] In April 2021, it was announced that a parent company, Muse Group, would be formed to support MuseScore, Ultimate Guitar, and other acquired properties (including Audacity).[14]


MuseScore's main purpose is the creation of high-quality engraved musical scores in a "What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get" environment.[15] It supports unlimited staves, linked parts and part extraction, tablature, MIDI input and output, percussion notation, cross-staff beaming, automatic transposition, lyrics (multiple verses), fretboard diagrams, and in general everything commonly used in sheet music.[16][17] Style options to change the appearance and layout are available,[18] and style sheets can be saved and applied to other scores. There are pre-defined templates for many types of ensembles. Functionality can be extended by making use of the many freely available plugins.[16][17][19][20]

MuseScore can also play back scores through the built-in sequencer and SoundFont sample library.[18] Multiple SoundFonts can be loaded into MuseScore's synthesizer. It includes a mixer to mute, solo, or adjust the volume of individual parts, and chorus, reverb and other effects are supported during playback.[21] MIDI output to external devices and software synthesizers is also possible.[22]

Supported file formats[edit]

MuseScore can import and export to many formats, though some are export only (visual representations and audio) and some are import only (native files from some other music notation programs).

MuseScore's native file formats are .mscz, a zip compressed file containing the score and other media, and .mscx, which is XML data that contains the score. The .mscz format is usually preferred, as it uses less space and can support images.[23]

MuseScore also can import and export both compressed (.mxl) and uncompressed (.xml) MusicXML files, which allows a score to be opened up in other music notation programs (including Sibelius and Finale). It can also import and export MIDI (.mid, .midi, and .kar), which is supported by many other programs (such as Synthesia), although since MIDI is not designed for sheet music, most score notations are lost.

MuseScore can also import certain other music software's native formats, including Band-in-a-Box (.mgu and .sgu), Bagpipe Music Writer (.bww), Guitar Pro (.gtp, .gp3, .gp4, .gp5, and .gpx), Capella (must be version 2000 (3.0) or later; .cap and .capx) and Overture formats. It can also import MuseData (.md), which has been superseded by MusicXML.

Audio can be exported to WAV, FLAC, MP3, and OGG files, and graphical representations of scores can also be exported to PDF, SVG, and PNG formats, and/or printed directly.[23]

Optical Music Recognition[edit]

MuseScore includes an optical music recognition feature which can convert PDFs to the native MuseScore file format, .mscz. This feature is web-based and uses the open source Audiveris project as a back-end.[24]

Mobile player[edit]

Since May 2014 MuseScore has mobile apps available for iOS, Android and Kindle Fire which tie into the MuseScore score sharing site. The app can play scores, and allows changing of transposition and part extraction, but does not allow creating or editing scores.[19]

Portable application[edit]

MuseScore also runs as a portable application.[25] It can be installed onto a regular hard disk drive or stored on a removable storage device such as a CD, USB flash drive or flash card, so that it can be run on any compatible Windows computer system.



  • MuseScore 0.9.5 was released in August 2009.[26] This was the first stable version, as well as the first version to support macOS.[26]
  • MuseScore 0.9.6 was released in June 2010.[27] This version introduced many new features, including out-of-the-box support for playback of all instruments based on the General MIDI standard, support for multimeasure rests, initial support for custom key signatures, and the "Save Online" feature connecting to sheet music sharing site

MuseScore 1[edit]

MuseScore 1.2 running on Ubuntu
  • MuseScore 1.0 was released in February 2011.[2] The milestone release focused on delivering a stable package rather than adding new features to the prerelease versions.
  • MuseScore 1.1 was released in July 2011, fixing around 60 bugs and featuring improved jazz sheet support.[28] MuseScore Connect, a feature allowing on-line community interaction and publishing, was also included in this release.
  • MuseScore 1.2 was released in March 2012.[29] This version included over 100 bug fixes, improved MusicXML import/export support, and improved support for special characters. It also introduced Marc Sabatella's original composition "Reunion" as the new demo score loaded when launching MuseScore.
  • MuseScore 1.3 was released in February 2013 as a small update containing mostly bug fixes.[30]

MuseScore 2[edit]

  • MuseScore 2.0 was released in March 2015.[31] A large number of new features were introduced, including full support for tablature and guitar chord diagrams, linked part/score editing, an image capture capability, two new music fonts, and MusicXML 3.0 support.
    • MuseScore 2.0.1 was released in May 2015,[32] fixing many bugs and introducing Isaac Weiss' "Getting Started" tutorial score along with several additional templates.
    • MuseScore 2.0.2 was released in July 2015,[33] with many bug fixes and new features, including playback of trills and other ornaments. The professional guide "Mastering MuseScore" was published in tandem with this release.[34]
    • MuseScore 2.0.3 was released in April 2016 with many bug fixes,[35] and new features including the ability to reorder linked parts, a tool to copy all lyrics to the clipboard, and an AppImage build for all Linux flavors.
  • MuseScore 2.1 was released in May 2017[36] with numerous new features, including real-time MIDI input, a new "Swap" function, and a tool to rewrite rhythms for clearer notation.[37]
  • MuseScore 2.2 was released in March 2018[38] with 200+ bug fixes and new features, including MIDI output and a new SoundFont. Three regressions affecting playback were fixed one week later in MuseScore 2.2.1.[39]
  • MuseScore 2.3 was released in June 2018[40] with a new extension facility (in addition to the existing system of plugins) and a first extension that customizes MuseScore for drumline music.[41] Two point updates with bug fixes, 2.3.1 and 2.3.2, were released in July 2018.[42][43]

MuseScore 3[edit]

  • MuseScore 3.0 was released in December 2018,[44] with many new features, including an automatic smart layout system to avoid collisions between score elements, a jazz notation font, support for more advanced notations, more style controls, tours to help new users, a timeline reduction view for faster navigation, redesigned mixer and piano roll editor, and a built-in auto-update facility.
  • MuseScore 3.1 was released in May 2019 with many new features, including playback of crescendos and diminuendos on single notes and more customization options for fretboard diagrams.[45]
  • MuseScore 3.2 was released in June 2019 with many new features.[46]
  • MuseScore 3.3 was released in October 2019 with new palette and note input workflow designs and accessibility improvements.[47]
  • MuseScore 3.4 was released in January 2020 with a telemetry feature and UX improvements.[48]
  • MuseScore 3.5 was released in August 2020 with a chord symbol playback feature, workflow improvements, layout improvements and many more.[49]
  • MuseScore 3.6 was released in January 2021 with new notation and text fonts, and other engraving improvements.[50]


Werner Schweer and Nicolas Froment working on MuseScore 2.0

MuseScore is free and open-source and is written mainly in C++, with the graphical user interface making use of the cross-platform Qt toolkit. Werner Schweer, Nicolas Froment and Thomas Bonte are the full-time and lead developers of the project, with a wider community also contributing. Google Summer of Code has sponsored students to help develop MuseScore in 2013, 2014 and 2016 to 2019.[51] The development of MuseScore takes place on GitHub.[52]

Contributing code to MuseScore requires that contributors sign an online Contributor License Agreement.[53]


MuseScore reports over 7,000 downloads per day as of 2016.[11] Many Linux distributions also include MuseScore in their software libraries,[25] such as in the Ubuntu Software Center.

Many educational institutions also make use of MuseScore, including Drew University and the Ionian University.[54] The Board of Education of La Seigneurie des Milles-îles in Canada has also made MuseScore available on 10,000 computers across schools in the Milles-îles region in Québec.[55]

Crowd-sourced engraving projects[edit]

Open Goldberg Variations[edit]

In 2011, MuseScore launched a Kickstarter campaign to create high-quality, freely available digital score and audio versions of the Goldberg Variations. The process influenced the development of MuseScore 2, with notation improvements needed in order to create a high-quality engraving of the variations.[56] With the fundraising goal met, MuseScore developers, pianist Kimiko Ishizaka, and crowd-sourced reviewers collaborated to create an engraved score and also record a new album, both of which were released under a Creative Commons Zero license (without copyright), meaning they can be downloaded and shared freely.[56] In 2012, at the end of the online public review process, the final engraved score was released for free on,[57] and printed and bound by GRIN in Germany. Kimiko Ishizaka's recording was released for free on BandCamp.[56][58][59]

Open Well-Tempered Clavier[edit]

In 2013, a second successful Kickstarter funded the creation of a new edition of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier.[60] Once again, the score underwent public review on,[61] and was recorded by Kimiko Ishizaka,[62][63] with both score and recordings released into the public domain in 2015.[60]

Braille editions[edit]

After hearing from a blind musician[64] who contributed to the Open WTC Kickstarter, MuseScore set up new stretch funding goals to support making music notation more accessible to blind and visually impaired musicians. Though the top goal of automatically converting all scores in the library to braille was not funded, they did get funding to create braille sheet music for both the Goldberg Variations and the Well-Tempered Clavier.[64] The digital files (for braille terminals & printers) are available for free download, like the standard scores.[65]


In 2017, MuseScore and the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP) launched a Kickstarter for OpenScore, an initiative to create MuseScore and MusicXML versions of public domain music from IMSLP's library.[66]

OpenScore wants to digitise and liberate all public domain sheet music, including the great classics of Mozart, Beethoven and Bach. Our community aims to transfer history’s most influential pieces from paper into interactive scores which you can listen to, edit and share. Together, we can make sheet music accessible to everyone. For free, for any purpose, for evermore.

— OpenScore, [67]

As of December 2020, a number of scores have been completed, including Mozart's Jupiter Symphony, Gluck's Iphigénie en Aulide, Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture, Holst's The Planets and around 900 songs in the OpenScore Lieder Corpus.[68]

There are three ongoing OpenScore projects:

  • OpenScore – main transcription group
  • OpenScore Lieder Corpus – French, German and English song cycles (800+ songs)
  • OpenScore Braille – MusicXML score exports for conversion to Braille

Online score sharing and copyright issues[edit]

The Save Online feature of the MuseScore allows users to publish and share their music online through The service originally allowed paying subscribers to share unlimited scores. Free accounts are also available, but these accounts were limited to the five most recently uploaded scores being visible.[16] started by allowing free downloads of scores, free uploads of up to 5 scores, and unlimited uploads for paid accounts.

Starting in 2015 with MuseScore 2.0, the Start Center displays featured scores from the website.[17]

Starting in June 2019, a number of users who uploaded Disney songs were "copyright striked" by Disney.[69] Publisher Hal Leonard was striking original music, or arrangements of music that is in the public domain, based on song titles.[70]

In July of 2019, following complaints from some copyright holders, changed its policies so only paying subscribers were allowed to download any music sheets. Since did not have a "trustworthy tool to distinguish songs under copyright from songs available for distribution", this applied to all scores, even those intended for liberal sharing via a Creative Commons license.[71]

In August and September of 2019, features were added to allow works to be marked as public domain or original songs, and made available for free download.[72][73]

On 19 February 2020, MuseScore posted on their forums stating that everyone can upload unlimited scores, even if one is not a paying subscriber. Paying subscribers still have access to other features that free accounts do not, like Track setup and downloads.[74] allows playback of a score in any browser supporting the HTML5 audio tag. A score can also be linked to YouTube, so that one may follow the sheet music while watching a video featuring that score.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Musescore contributors on GitHub". Retrieved 9 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b Froment, Nicolas (4 February 2011). "Release notes for MuseScore 1.0". Musescore. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  3. ^ " translation portal for MuseScore".
  4. ^ "Moving to GPL version 3". Archived from the original on 1 June 2021.
  5. ^ Phillips, Dave (6 April 2006). "At the Sounding Edge: Music Notation Software, the Final Installment". Linux Journal. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  6. ^ "WYSIWYG music app makes a score". Blog. SourceForge. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  7. ^ Pisano, Joseph. "MuseScore, A Free Open-Souce Music Composition and Notation Program". Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  8. ^ Bonte, Thomas (27 November 2010). "The State of MuseScore". Archived from the original on 18 August 2012. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  9. ^ "MuseScore: Download Statistics: All Files". SourceForge. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  10. ^ Bonte, Thomas; Weiss, Isaac (25 March 2015). "MuseScore 2.0 makes creating sheet music easier and faster". PRWeb. PRWeb. Retrieved 18 January 2016.
  11. ^ a b Weiss, Isaac. "MuseScore in 2016: The year in review". Musescore. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  12. ^ Schweer, Werner; Froment, Nicolas; Bonte, Thomas. "MuseScore joins Ultimate Guitar". Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  13. ^ Rothman, Philip. "Ultimate Guitar acquires MuseScore". Scoring Notes. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  14. ^ Rothman, Philip (30 April 2021). "Muse Group formed to support MuseScore, Ultimate Guitar; acquires Audacity". Scoring Notes. Retrieved 3 May 2021.
  15. ^ "Review: MuseScore is powerful and free musical notation software". PCWorld. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  16. ^ a b c Smelser, Robert. "MuseScore". Simply Robert. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  17. ^ a b c Smelser, Robert. "MuseScore 2.0 Beta". Simply Robert. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  18. ^ a b Jacobi, Jon. "MuseScore review – powerful, free musical notation software". PC Advisor. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  19. ^ a b Prokoudine, Alexander. "MuseScore 2.0 brings better music notation, improved usability". Libre Graphics World. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
  20. ^ Germain, Jack. "MuseScore Can Turn Songwriters Into Maestros". LinuxInsider. ECT News Network. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  21. ^ Kenlon, Seth. "How to create sheet music on Linux with MuseScore". Red Hat. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  22. ^ Os, Anatoly. "MuseScore 2.2 is released". MuseScore. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  23. ^ a b "File formats". MuseScore. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  24. ^ "Log in to Musescore |". (Requires musescore account to access.). Retrieved 29 November 2020.
  25. ^ a b "Download". Musescore. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  26. ^ a b Bolton, David (15 August 2009). "New features in MuseScore 0.9.5". Musescore. Retrieved 5 January 2016.
  27. ^ Bonte, Thomas. "Release notes for MuseScore 0.9.6". Musescore. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  28. ^ "Release notes for MuseScore 1.1". Musescore. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  29. ^ "Release notes for MuseScore 1.2". Musescore. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  30. ^ Froment, Nicolas. "Release notes for MuseScore 1.3". Musescore. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  31. ^ Bonte, Thomas. "Release notes for MuseScore 2.0". Musescore. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  32. ^ "Release notes for MuseScore 2.0.1". Musescore. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  33. ^ Froment, Nicolas. "Release notes for MuseScore 2.0.2". Musescore. Retrieved 29 December 2016.
  34. ^ Sabatella, Marc (10 June 2015). "Announcing "Mastering MuseScore," the definitive guide to MuseScore 2". Musescore. Retrieved 5 November 2015.
  35. ^ "Release notes for MuseScore 2.0.3". MuseScore. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  36. ^ Weiss, Isaac; Sabatella, Marc; Bonte, Thomas; Froment, Nicolas. "Release notes for MuseScore 2.1". Musescore. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  37. ^ Sabatella, Marc. "MuseScore 2.1 released". Scoring Notes. NYC Music Services. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  38. ^ "Release notes for MuseScore 2.2". MuseScore. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  39. ^ "Release notes for MuseScore 2.2.1". MuseScore. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  40. ^ "Release notes for MuseScore 2.3". MuseScore. Retrieved 29 June 2018.
  41. ^ Sabatella, Marc. "MuseScore 2.3 released with new extension facility, other improvements". Scoring Notes. NYC Music Services. Retrieved 4 July 2018.
  42. ^ "Release notes for MuseScore 2.3.1". MuseScore. Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  43. ^ "Release notes for MuseScore 2.3.2". Retrieved 31 July 2018.
  44. ^ "Release notes for MuseScore 3". MuseScore. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  45. ^ Osokin, Anatoly. "MuseScore 3.1 Release". MuseScore. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  46. ^ Osokin, Anatoly. "MuseScore 3.2 Release". MuseScore. Retrieved 25 June 2019.
  47. ^ Osokin, Anatoly. "MuseScore 3.3 Release". MuseScore. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  48. ^ Osokin, Anatoly. "MuseScore 3.4 Release". MuseScore. Retrieved 25 January 2020.
  49. ^ Pereverzev, Vasily. "MuseScore 3.5 Release". MuseScore. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  50. ^ Pereverzev, Vasily (14 January 2021). "MuseScore 3.6 is Out!". MuseScore. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  51. ^ "Google Summer of Code". Retrieved 24 September 2018.
  52. ^ "Development". Retrieved 14 March 2017.
  53. ^ "Contributor License Agreement". Retrieved 24 December 2019.
  54. ^ "Schools & Universities using MuseScore". Musescore. Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  55. ^ Bonte, Thomas (20 April 2011). "MuseScore installed on 10,000 computers in Quebec". Retrieved 23 August 2012.
  56. ^ a b c Prokoudine, Alexandre (29 May 2012). "Open Goldberg Variations: mission accomplished". Libre Graphics World. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  57. ^ "Open Goldberg Variations: The public review for the Open Goldberg Variations Project". Musescore. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  58. ^ "Bach's Open Goldberg Variations, by Kimiko Ishizaka". Open Goldberg Variations. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  59. ^ "Goldberg Variations Complete (J.S. Bach BWV 988), with score, Kimiko Ishizaka piano". YouTube. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  60. ^ a b Prokoudine, Alexandre. "Kimiko Ishizaka and MuseScore team release Open Well-Tempered Clavier". Libre Graphics World. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  61. ^ "Open Well-Tempered Clavier – MuseScore edition". MuseScore. Archived from the original on 8 September 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  62. ^ "The Well-Tempered Clavier, by J.S. Bach – Performed on the piano by Kimiko Ishizaka – free, libre, and gratis to download and enjoy". The Open Well-Tempered Clavier. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  63. ^ "Well-Tempered Clavier (J.S. Bach), Book 1, Kimiko Ishizaka, piano". YouTube. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  64. ^ a b Douglass, Robert. "Kickstarting open source music and doubling the number of scores for the blind". OpenSource. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  65. ^ Douglass, Robert (23 March 2014). "Braille edition of the Open Goldberg Variations". Open Goldberg Variations. Archived from the original on 23 March 2015. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  66. ^ "Liberating Sheet Music". OpenScore. MuseScore and IMSLP. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  67. ^
  68. ^ "OpenScore Lieder Corpus". MuseScore. Retrieved 10 August 2019.
  69. ^
  70. ^
  71. ^ "Score download becomes a part of the Pro subscription". 14 July 2019. Retrieved 26 March 2020.
  72. ^ "[New Feature] The new form makes it possible to upload Public domain works. | MuseScore Updates and Statuses | Musical articles and discussions |". Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  73. ^ "[New Feature] Original Songs are available for download to all users | MuseScore Updates and Statuses | Musical articles and discussions |". Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  74. ^ "Unlimited score uploads for everyone. We've removed the 5-scores upload limit". 19 February 2020. Retrieved 4 March 2020.