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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 (2015-07-16)
Development status stable
Written in C++, Qt
Operating system Microsoft Windows, Linux, OS X
Available in 48 languages
Type Scorewriter
License GNU General Public License

MuseScore is a scorewriter for Windows, OS X, and Linux. Created by Werner Schweer, it is released as free and open source software under the GNU General Public License. It has a feature set comparable to Finale and Sibelius, supporting a wide variety of file formats and input methods.


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.[1] Since then, MuseScore has been under constant active development.

The website was created in 2008,[2] and quickly showed a rapidly rising number of MuseScore downloads. By December 2008, the download rate was up to 15,000 monthly downloads.

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.[3] By October 2009, MuseScore had been downloaded more than 1000 times per day.[4] By the fourth quarter of 2010, the number of MuseScore daily downloads had tripled.

MuseScore 1.0 was finally released in February 2011. This milestone release focused on stability rather than new features.

This was soon followed by the release of MuseScore 1.1 in July 2011, which was downloaded nearly 1 million times. This 1.1 release fixed around 60 bugs and also featured improved jazz sheet support. MuseScore Connect, a landmark feature allowing on-line community interaction and publishing, was also included in this release.

In March 2012, MuseScore 1.2 was released.[5] This version included over 100 bug fixes, improved MusicXML importing and exporting, as well as improved support for special characters.

A small update containing mostly bug fixes was released as MuseScore 1.3 in February 2013.

In March 2015, MuseScore 2.0 was released, with many new features, including a start center, tablature and guitar chord diagrams, linked part/score editing, and an image capture capability.[6]

In May 2015, MuseScore 2.0.1 was released, fixing many bugs, including one which corrupted scores when opening.[7]

In July 2015, MuseScore 2.0.2 was released, with many bug fixes and several new features, such as trill playback.[8]

Version history

There is no specific release schedule for MuseScore, but new versions are released when the developers consider them ready.

  • Version 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.
  • Version 0.9.6 was released in June 2010.[9]
  • Version 1.0 was released in February 2011.
  • Version 1.1 was released in July 2011, both to fix bugs in 1.0 and to introduce new features.[10]
  • Version 1.2 was released in March 2012 with many new features and bug fixes.[11]
  • Version 1.3 was released in February 2013 as a bugfix.
  • Version 2.0 was released in March 2015, with many new features.[12]
  • Version 2.0.1 was released in May 2015, with many bug fixes, including one where a score may be corrupted when opening.[13]
  • Version 2.0.2 was released in July 2015, with many bug fixes and several new features.[14]


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.[15] 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.[16] Other sample libraries in the SoundFont format can also be installed by the user. Chorus, reverb and other effects are also supported during playback.[17]

MuseScore natively supports linked parts and part extraction, MIDI input, unlimited staffs, percussion notation, cross-staff beaming, automatic transposition, lyrics and multiple verses.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20] 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.[21]

Although MuseScore cannot natively import Sibelius and Finale file formats, its support of MusicXML enables sharing between the different programs.

Online publishing

The MuseScore Connect feature allows musicians to publish and share their music on-line.[22] allows paying subscribers to share their scores created in MuseScore through this feature. Free accounts are also available, but users are limited to 5 scores.[23] MuseScore Connect is a default feature in MuseScore. 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.

Mobile player

Since May 2014 MuseScore has mobile apps available for iOS and Android which tie into the MuseScore score sharing site.[24] With features such as note playback, tempo change, transposition, part mixing, the app is aimed to support the music learning process.

Portable version

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[25] 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,[26] such as in the Ubuntu Software Center. MuseScore was also included in the VALO-CD collection, which provides free software for Windows.[27]

Many educational institutions also make use of MuseScore, including Drew University and the Ionian University.[28] 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.[29]

MuseScore and the Goldberg Variations

In 2011 a project was launched to create high-quality print and audio versions of the Goldberg Variations.[30] The process influenced further development of MuseScore, with the addition of new features required for a high-quality score of the variations.[31] 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.[32] The final engraved score was created entirely in MuseScore and can be downloaded free of charge.[33]

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.[34]

See also


  1. ^ Dave Phillips, "At the Sounding Edge: Music Notation Software, the Final Installment," Linux Journal (6 April 2006).
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ SourceForge, "MuseScore Project download statistics"
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Retrieved on 24th November 2014.|
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ Open Goldberg Variations: mission accomplished
  32. ^ Edition 2012 by GRIN, Printing and Binding: Books on Demand GmbH, Norderstedt, Germany [1]
  33. ^
  34. ^
  • Jon L. Jacobi, MuseScore is powerful and free musical notation software, Mar 20, 2013
  • Marc Sabatella, MuseScore 1.0 – A Milestone in Free Music Notation Software, February 7, 2011
  • David Stocker, Introduction to MuseScore for Musicians and Music Educators, September 3, 2010
  • Lee Schlesinger, WYSIWYG music app makes a score, June 21, 2010
  • Music Dave Phillips, Notation Software for Linux, April 22, 2009
  • review, October 7, 2008
  • review, March 24, 2008
  • Dave Phillips: Music Notation Programs: Recent Releases, February 25, 2008
  • Musescore in Google Play Store: October 23, 2014

External links

  • MuseScore homepage
  • Download source code and Windows, Linux and Mac versions
  • What's new in MuseScore 2
  • "MuseScore Tips" Blog with tutorials by Katie Wardrobe.
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