From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Original author(s)Werner Schweer
Developer(s)The MuseScore developer community[1]
Initial release4 February 2011; 11 years ago (2011-02-04)[2]
Stable release4.0.1 (January 13, 2023; 14 days ago (2023-01-13)) [±]
Written inC++, Qt, QML[3]
Operating systemWindows 7 and later, Linux, macOS 10.10 and later
Platformx86-64 (Windows, Linux and macOS), IA-32 (Windows only)
Size98 to 170 MB
Available in27 languages[4]
List of languages
Afrikaans, Catalan, Chinese (China, Hong Kong, Taiwan), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (United Kingdom and United States), Faroese, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal, Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
LicenseMuseScore 0-3: GPL-2.0-only with font exception and proprietary (online and mobile)[5]
Music repository:

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 created as a fork of the MusE sequencer's codebase. In 2002, Werner Schweer, one of the MusE developers, decided to remove notation support from MusE and create a stand-alone notation program from the codebase.[6][7]

The website was created in 2008, and quickly showed a rapidly rising number of MuseScore downloads.[8] 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.[9][10]

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,[11] 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.[12]

The MuseScore company uses income from their commercial sheet music sharing service to support the development of the free notation software.[13]

In 2018, the MuseScore company was acquired by Ultimate Guitar, which added full-time paid developers to the open source team.[14] 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).[15] From 2021 to June 2022, the MuseScore company relocated its headquarters to Cyprus with Muse Group.[16]


MuseScore's main purpose is the creation of high-quality engraved musical scores in a "What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get" environment.[17] 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.[18][19] Style options to change the appearance and layout are available,[20] 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.[18][19][21][22]

MuseScore can also play back scores through the built-in sequencer and SoundFont sample library.[20] 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.[23] MIDI output to external devices and software synthesizers is also possible.[24]

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.[25]

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.[25]

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.[26]

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.[21]

Portable application[edit]

MuseScore also runs as a portable application.[27] 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.

Custom fonts[edit]

In Musescore 3.6, a new notation font named Leland was introduced to the software, created by Martin Keary and Simon Smith. Its name is a reference to Leland Smith, the creator of a now defunct notation software SCORE. The same update also introduced a new typeface Edwin. It is influenced by the font New Century Schoolbook.[28][29]

VST support[edit]

In Musescore 4.0, support was added for VST3 plugins, both instruments and effects. Along with this, the Muse Group released a free orchestral plugin called Muse Sounds designed to provide more realistic playback of notation.[30][31]


Version Name Date Released Notable features Screenshot


MuseScore 0.9 0.9.5 August 2009[32] First stable version, as well as the first version to support macOS.[32]
MuseScore 0.9.5 running on Windows 11.
0.9.6 June 2010[33] 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 1.0 February 2011[2] The milestone release focused on delivering a stable package rather than adding new features to the prerelease versions.
MuseScore 1.0 running on Windows 11.
MuseScore 1.1 July 2011 Fixed around 60 bugs and featuring improved jazz sheet support.[34] MuseScore Connect, a feature allowing on-line community interaction and publishing, was also included in this release.
MuseScore 1.2 March 2012[35] 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 February 2013 Small update containing mostly bug fixes.[36]

MuseScore 2[edit]

MuseScore 2.0 2.0.0 March 2015[37] 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 SMuFL-compliant music fonts, and MusicXML 3.0 support.
MuseScore 2.0 running on Windows 11.
2.0.1 May 2015[38] Many bug fixes and introducing Isaac Weiss' "Getting Started" tutorial score along with several additional templates.
2.0.2 July 2015[39] 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.[40]
2.0.3 April 2016 Many bug fixes,[41] 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 May 2017[42] Numerous new features, including real-time MIDI input, a new "Swap" function, and a tool to rewrite rhythms for clearer notation.[43]
MuseScore 2.2 March 2018[44] Over 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.[45]
MuseScore 2.3 June 2018[46] New extension facility (in addition to the existing system of plugins) and a first extension that customizes MuseScore for drumline music.[47] Two point updates with bug fixes, 2.3.1 and 2.3.2, were released in July 2018.[48][49]

MuseScore 3[edit]

MuseScore 3.0 December 2018[50] 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 3.6 running on Windows 11 in dark mode.
MuseScore 3.1 May 2019 Many new features, including playback of crescendos and diminuendos on single notes and more customization options for fretboard diagrams.[51]
MuseScore 3.2 June 2019 Many new features.[52]
MuseScore 3.3 October 2019 New palette and note input workflow designs and accessibility improvements.[53]
MuseScore 3.4 January 2020 New telemetry feature and UX improvements.[54]
MuseScore 3.5 August 2020 New chord symbol playback feature, workflow improvements, layout improvements and many more.[55]
MuseScore 3.6 January 2021 New notation and text fonts, and other engraving improvements.[56]

MuseScore 4[edit]

MuseScore 4.0 December 2022 An almost complete overhaul with many new features added. Version 4.0 added an included orchestral plugin, VST support, a new engraving system and a new playback system and mixer.[30][31][57][58]
MuseScore 4.0 running on Windows 11 in dark mode.


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. Originally founded by Werner Schweer, Nicolas Froment and Thomas Bonte, the project is now headed by Martin Keary (Lead Designer) and Vasily Pereverzev (Lead Developer) with a wider community also contributing.[59] Google Summer of Code has sponsored students to help develop MuseScore in 2013, 2014 and 2016 to 2021.[60] The development of MuseScore takes place on GitHub.[61]

Contributing code to MuseScore requires that contributors sign an online Contributor License Agreement.[62]


MuseScore accumulated generally favorable reviews years after it was first launched, praising the software's relative ease of use and being a versatile free competitor to other scorewriters. Online computer magazine PC World rated it 3.5 out of 5 stars. It praised the precise control over the size and spacing of every object and the abilities to define keyboard shortcuts and to drag and drop modifiers, changing how they are played, but criticized the mouse methodology as occasionally unintuitive for not fully exploring the drag-and-drop potential.[63] Technology news website Softpedia rated it 4.5 out of 5 stars, calling the design "well-organized" and "comprehensive" and lauding the application's customizability, ability to upload user sheet music, and support for many file formats.[64] In its 2019 review that also scored the software 4.5 stars out of 5, TopTenReviews praised the ability to create tablature and percussion sheet music alongside traditional notation, support for hundreds of instruments, and being able to share music and interact with other composers online.[65] Reviewing MuseScore 4.0, British magazine Music Teacher welcomed this version's improved engraving, new cloud storage, and focus on accessibility, such as allowing users to export their compositions in braille, an expanded color scheme, and keyboard navigation. It also noted the playback feature's support for VSTs, including the application's own Muse Sounds, which the magazine considered a boon to teachers who have spent years dealing with the inconveniences of exporting their compositions.[66]


MuseScore reported over 7,000 downloads per day in 2016.[12] Many Linux distributions also include MuseScore in their software libraries,[27] such as in the Ubuntu Software Center. The total number of downloads since 2017 is 12.1 million (as of December 2022).[30][67]

Many educational institutions also make use of MuseScore, including Drew University and the Ionian University.[68] 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.[69]

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.[70] 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.[70] In 2012, at the end of the online public review process, the final engraved score was released for free on,[71] and printed and bound by GRIN in Germany. Kimiko Ishizaka's recording was released for free on BandCamp.[70][72][73]

Open Well-Tempered Clavier[edit]

In 2013, a second successful Kickstarter funded the creation of a new edition of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier. Once again, the score underwent public review on,[74] and was recorded by Kimiko Ishizaka,[75][76] with both score and recordings released into the public domain in 2015.[77]

Braille editions[edit]

After hearing from a blind musician[78] 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.[78] The digital files (for braille terminals & printers) are available for free download, like the standard scores.[79]


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.[80]

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, [81]

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.[82]

There are three ongoing OpenScore projects:

  • OpenScore – main transcription group
  • OpenScore Lieder Corpus – French, German and English song cycles (over 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 application allows users to publish and share their music online through Initially, allowed free downloads of scores, free uploads of up to 5 scores, and unlimited uploads for paid accounts.[18]

Starting in 2015 with MuseScore 2.0, the Start Center displays featured scores from the website.[19] This feature is no longer present in MuseScore 4.0.

Starting in June 2019, a number of users who uploaded Disney songs were "copyright striked" by Disney.[83] Publisher Hal Leonard was taking down original music, or arrangements of music that is in the public domain, based on song titles.[84] has since obtained permission to publicly display Disney music on the site, unblocking previously uploaded scores.[85]

In July 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.[86]

In August and September 2019, features were added to allow works to be marked as public domain or original songs, and made available for free download.[87][88]

On 19 February 2020, announced that everyone could now upload an unlimited number of scores, even without being a paying subscriber. Paying subscribers still have access to other features that free accounts do not, like Track setup and downloads.[89] 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.

In September 2021, launched "Official Scores", scores licensed from sheet music publishers, available with an additional subscription.[90]

As of December 2022, the website hosts 1.3 million scores and averages 300,000 visitors per day.[30]

See also[edit]


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