SCORE (software)

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SCORE is a scorewriter program, written in FORTRAN for DOS by Stanford Professor Leland Smith (1925-2013) with a reputation for producing very high-quality results.[1] It was widely used in engraving during the 1980s and 1990s and continues to have a small, dedicated following of quality engravers, many of whom regard it as the world's best music-engraving program. Many publications that have earned Paul Revere and German Musikpresse engraving awards are produced with SCORE. SCORE is known for its ability to precisely position symbols on the page, and also allows the user complete control over every aspect of their music through making every possible aspect of music notation manually controllable.


SCORE originated as a means of entering music into the MUSIC-5 sound generating system running on the PDP-10 mainframe computers at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (SAIL) in 1967. The three men involved with the project (Leland Smith, David Poole and John Chowning) subsequently founded the Stanford Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA).[2]

As vector graphics terminals became available in the early 1970s, the parametric approach to describing musical information that had been designed for MUSIC-5 was adapted to create printed musical scores. The first printing of a complete musical work appeared in December 1971 ("Six Bagatelles for Piano," Leland Smith, San Andreas Press, Palo Alto). Up till 1985, all development of SCORE was done on the PDP-10 computers at Stanford and during residencies at IRCAM at the Pompidou Centre. Beginning in 1985, SCORE was ported to the Tandy 2000 running MS-DOS.[2] This was Version 1; the program was continuously updated through version 3.11 in 1994 to version 4.01 (known as SCOR4) in 2000.[3] The basis of the program was written in FORTRAN with all the mouse and graphics routines written in Intel assembly language. When SCORE was rewritten in 2009 as WinScore it was done using a combination of C++ and 32-bit FORTRAN.[2]

The German music publisher Schott Music begain using SCORE in 1990 and their in-house engraving typefaces became the basis for SCORE's symbol library. Version 4 of SCORE included automatic lute and guitar tablature systems.[2]

A Windows version of SCORE called WinScore was written using C++ and FORTRAN and released to beta in 2008, given the version number of 5, and is still used by some customers. An online database was created where beta-testers could submit requests and bug reports. While development was slow, the program advanced from barely usable to essentially useful, albeit with many issues remaining to be solved before wide acceptance could have been expected. Some complaints included the fairly crude appearance of the user interface (looking more like an early Windows 3.1 interface than a modern one), the lack of certain commands that users had come to expect, and arbitrary redefinition of how certain commands are invoked. It was last updated to version 5.01 on November 1, 2013, six weeks before Smith's death.[4]

Use of the program[edit]

SCORE runs under the DOS operating system. Music is entered using text codes from a standard ASCII keyboard. Optionally a MIDI keyboard can be used to enter pitches. Less common is entering music from a so-called menu staff using a one-click copy-and-paste method. Music notation can be saved in SCORE's proprietary format. These files in most cases have the extensions ".mus" or ".pag" (note that Finale also uses the extension ".mus" while the file format is different). SCORE outputs PostScript graphics that can either be sent to a PostScript printer directly or can be saved as an Encapsulated PostScript file. For creating publications some users import the EPS-graphics into a desktop publishing program.

The DOS program can be used in Windows (or a virtual machine) in the way that many other DOS programs can be used, though accommodations need to be made for its age[5].

There are a number of plug-ins created by long-time SCORE users which extend both programs' functionalities.[6][7]

With Smith's death on December 17, 2013[8], both SCORE and WinScore are abandonware.[9]

Other information[edit]

SCORE does not use music fonts but a user editable symbol library based on polygons. This is a heritage from SCORE's origin in pre-PostScript times when it used a plotter for output that did not support curves or arcs. Only page text such as the title and composer are saved as text from a font.

Output example[edit]

Das rheingold scene2.png

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Bill Holand on Leland Smith and SCORE". Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d "The SCORE Music Publishing System". SCORE. San Andreas Press. Retrieved 11 May 2019.
  3. ^ "Thomas Brodhead on Leland Smith and SCORE". Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Winscore homepage". Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Installing SCORE on Windows XP and later". Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Jan de Kloe SCORE utilities". Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Thomas Brodhead SCORE utilities". Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  8. ^ Stanford Professor Leland Smith, innovative music creator, dies at 88 Stanford Report, January 10, 2014
  9. ^ "ScorBox - Homepage". Retrieved 2 December 2018.

External links[edit]