MuseScore 2.0 in full screen, showing palettes, inspector, and piano keyboard
|Original author(s)||Werner Schweer|
|Developer(s)||Werner Schweer, Nicolas Froment, Thomas Bonte, and others|
|Stable release||2.0.2 / July 16, 2015|
|Written in||C++, Qt|
|Operating system||Microsoft Windows, Linux, OS X|
|Available in||48 languages|
|License||GNU General Public License|
MuseScore is a scorewriter for Windows, OS X, and Linux with a feature set comparable to Finale and Sibelius, 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 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. Since then, MuseScore has been under constant active development.
Version 0.9.5 was released in August 2009, which was stable enough for daily or production use, and support for Mac OS X was added. By October 2009, MuseScore had been downloaded more than 1000 times per day. By the fourth quarter of 2010, the number of MuseScore daily downloads had tripled.
MuseScore 1.0 was finally released in February 2011. The most recent version is MuseScore 2.0.2, released in July 2015.
There is no specific release schedule for MuseScore, but new versions are released when the developers consider them ready.
- MuseScore 0.9.5 was released in August 2009. This was the first stable version, as well as the first version to support Mac OS X.
- MuseScore 0.9.6 was released in June 2010. This version introduced many new features, including out-of-the-box support for playback of all instruments based on the [General MIDI] standard, full support for multimeasure rests, initial support for custom key signatures, and the "Save Online" feature connecting to sheet music sharing site musescore.com (see Online score sharing below).
- MuseScore 1.0 was released in February 2011. 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. 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. 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.
- MuseScore 2.0 was released in March 2015. 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, and MusicXML 3.0 support.
- MuseScore 2.0.1 was released in May 2015, fixing many bugs and introducing Isaac Weiss's "Getting Started" tutorial score along with several additional templates.
- MuseScore 2.0.2 was released in July 2015, 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 (in addition to the free online Handbook and tutorials).
MuseScore's main purpose is the creation, editing and printing of various types of musical scores in a "What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get" environment. It supports most types of notation, including jazz lead sheets, and prints or exports high quality engraved sheets. MuseScore's notation engine conforms to industry notation standards.
Notation may be played back by the user through the built-in sequencer and sample library. Other sample libraries in the SoundFont format can also be installed by the user. Chorus, reverb and other effects are also supported during playback.
MuseScore natively supports linked parts and part extraction, MIDI input, unlimited staffs, percussion notation, cross-staff beaming, automatic transposition, lyrics and multiple verses. The functionality of MuseScore can be further extended by making use of its plugin system.
Scores may be exported from MuseScore to many different file types, including WAV files – this preserves as much subtlety (dynamics etc.) as the program is able to communicate. The result is a standard stereo WAV file which can be burned to a CD for presentation purposes without further processing. This is a feature not found in Sibelius and one of the reasons why MuseScore has become a popular choice for educational establishments who wish students' works immediately to be accessible, even to non-musicians, (and the student) as the student/composer progresses (see Adoption, below). MuseScore can therefore be used to produce musical effects for presentation (such as backing tapes), even though in theory the application is only a compositional tool.
Supported file formats
MuseScore can import MusicXML, MIDI, Band-in-a-Box, Guitar Pro, capella (in the cap3 format, not CapXML) and Overture formats, as well as its own MuseScore Format and Compressed MuseScore Format. It can export to MusicXML and MIDI file formats. Audio can be exported to WAV, FLAC, MP3, and OGG files, and engraved output can be exported to PDF, SVG, PNG, and PostScript formats, or it can be printed directly.
Online score sharing
The MuseScore Connect feature allows MuseScore users to publish and share their music online through MuseScore.com. The service allows paying subscribers to share unlimited scores. Free accounts are also available, but users are limited to uploading five scores.
MuseScore.com allows playback of a score in any browser supporting the HTML5 audio tag. A score can also be linked to an on-line video, so that one may follow the sheet music while watching a video featuring that score.
Since May 2014 MuseScore has mobile apps available for iOS and Android which tie into the MuseScore score sharing site. With features such as note playback, tempo change, transposition, part mixing, the app is aimed to support the music learning process. There is a free version and a paid for version (Songbook) with more features.
MuseScore also runs as a portable application. It can be stored on a removable storage device such as a CD, USB flash drive, flash card, or floppy disk, so that it can be run on any compatible computer system.
MuseScore is free and open-source and is written mainly in C++. The development of MuseScore takes place on GitHub. Werner Schweer, Nicolas Froment and Thomas Bonte are the full-time and lead developers of the project, with a wider community also contributing. MuseScore supports both 32-bit and 64-bit platforms, and the graphical user interface makes use of the cross-platform Qt toolkit.
The large number of daily downloads points to a high level of adoption by individual users. Many Linux distributions also include MuseScore in their software libraries, such as in the Ubuntu Software Center. MuseScore was also included in the VALO-CD collection, which provides free software for Windows.
Many educational institutions also make use of MuseScore, including Drew University and the Ionian University. 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 Quebec.
MuseScore and the Goldberg Variations
In 2011 a project was launched to create high-quality print and audio versions of the Goldberg Variations. The process influenced further development of MuseScore, with the addition of new features required for a high-quality score of the variations. The resulting enhancements to the software were released with version 2.0.
A Kickstarter campaign was launched, and the fundraising goal was met. MuseScore developers and musician Kimiko Ishizaka collaborated to create both an engraved score and an audio recording. The final engraved score was created entirely in MuseScore and can be downloaded free of charge.
In 2013 a project was launched to produce a braille edition of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, making music notation more accessible to blind and visually impaired musicians. The braille-format score of the Open Goldberg Variations is now available for free download.
- List of scorewriters
- Comparison of scorewriters
- Free and open-source software
- List of music software
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- Open Goldberg Variations: mission accomplished
- Edition 2012 by GRIN, Printing and Binding: Books on Demand GmbH, Norderstedt, Germany 
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- Musescore in Google Play Store: October 23, 2014
- MuseScore homepage
- Download source code and Windows, Linux and Mac versions
- What's new in MuseScore 2
- "MuseScore in Minutes" tutorial series by George Hess