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MuseScore, A Free Open-Souce Music Composition And Notation Program

| October 7, 2008 | 17 Replies

I’ve been an active proponent of Finale Notepad since its inception and “birth” into the computer world.  I was very disappointed by Finale’s self-reported “exciting news” about the product and their subsequent charge of $9.95-$19.95 US for their latest version of Finale Notepad 2009.    Although, there have been a couple of fair freeware music notation programs, most notably Musette a French software initiative for PCs and Rosegarten for Linux, until my latest discovery of MuseScore, I was not very happy with what would be available for people or schools, financially crippled, to use as a Finale Notepad Replacement, nor did I know of many good alternatives.

Presenting MuseScore:

MuseScore

MuseScore

I am thrilled to say that the folks at MuseScore have not only stepped up to the challenge, but I believe that this open-source music notation program, in time, will come close to the level of notation excellence achieved by both Sibelius and MakeMusic with their programs (Mark my words!).   This program could not have “emerged” at a better time as musicians and educators are clammering for a new alternative for their ”simple” music notation needs at no cost.  While I do legally own copies of Sibelius 5 and Finale 2008 as well as have both of these software programs in our Music Technology lab at the college, you can bet I will also now have copies of MuseScore on them as well, not unlike my copy of Audacity that resides with the amazing shareare Goldwave and payware Adobe Audition.

MuseScore in a nutshell via bullets:

  1. Cross Platform (Linux and Windows) and GNU GPL
  2. WYSIWYG editing
  3. Wizard Setup funtions
  4. UNLIMITED number of staves
  5. 4 voices (or parts) per staff
  6. Easy and fast note entry with mouse, keyboard or MIDI (Note: Windows users, I’ve talked to the people at MuseScore and the MIDI entry will be available very soon!)
  7. Import and export Music XML
  8. Automatic note head positioning
  9. DRUM NOTATION INCLUDED!!!
  10. Cross Staff beaming ability
  11. Unlimited time and key changes
  12. Pickup note measure supported
  13. Slur editing
  14. Unlimited Lyrics
  15. Unlimited Chord names
  16. Grace Notes
  17. Part extraction
  18. Plugins are supported!
  19. Midi/XML/PNG Export
  20. Mixer function
  21. Soundfont capable
  22. Partial interpretation of Expressions and repeats

A great comparison of MuseScore to Finale Notepad was performed by David Bolton. This comparison goes feature by feaure and you will find that MuseScore is literally “heads” about the competition.

The end result of all of all of this is an ABSOLUTELY incredible open-source music notation program that is free to use, distribute, and modify!.   This project is TRULY an endeavour that we need to support in whatever way that we are able to. 

I was able to get some of the specifics from Thomas at MuseScore that explains why I’ve never found this amazing software before now.  In a forum discussion, I was asking about the development of the program and some other questions related to having one of the MuseScore developers on an upcoming podcast and he provided some very interesting development facts about the software:

  • MuseScore development started in 2002 by Werner Schweer as a spin off of Muse, for Linux only
  • It has been ported to Windows at the end of 2007 and has been downloaded over 20.000 times since then
  • Since the 0.9.3 release at the end of September 2008, MuseScore is downloaded over 200 times per day
  • The MuseScore.org website has been made public at the end of August 2008 and has been translated into 5 languages since then

So you can see that this, literally, has only be available, in earnest, since the end of August 2008.  With this software now become publically known through sites and reviews like MusTech.Net and no-doubt others will follow -you can BET that this software will become a STAPLE, and “household word” for musicians all over the globe!  (Did I mention to MARK my words! :) )

Please join the folks at MuseScore in getting the word out about this amazing open-source free music notation alternative.  Join in on the discussion at their forums and contribute in anyway possible to the success of this software.   I know I will.  What are your thoughts?

Links:
MuseScore:  http://musescore.org
MuseScore English: http://musescore.org/en

MuseScore Handbook (manual):
http://musescore.org/en/handbook
MuseScore Forums:
http://musescore.org/en/forum
MuseScore Development:
http://musescore.org/en/development
MuseScore RSS:
http://musescore.org/en/rss.xml

               

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Category: Featured, Freeware, Music Education, Music Technology

About the Author ()

Joseph M. Pisano, Ph.D. is the creator of many education websites, lecturer, clinician, trumpeter, and conductor. He is currently the Associate Chair of Music and Fine Arts at Grove City College, PA and the Vice President of TI:ME. He also writes for DCI Magazine, In-Tune Monthly and has contributed hundreds of articles to various publications. Find out more at his website jpisano.com.
  • http://www.listenlearnmusic.com rachelMT

    Wow, this is really exciting. I received the email from Finale announcing its newest $9.95 version, and was also very disappointed, as I have been a longtime user. MuseScore sounds like a great alternative!

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  • http://www.francishemingway.com Francis

    I believe it’s Rosegarden not Rosegarten.

  • Paul Morris

    Also worth keeping an eye on is Canorus. Still in development, but a cross-platform replacement for NoteEdit that plays well with Lilypond.

    https://canorus.berlios.de/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

  • Paul

    I didn’t mention it, but Canorus is also free and open-source.

  • http://musescore.org/en Thomas Bonte

    MuseScore 0.9.4 has been released today with MIDI entry for windows users. For a full list of new features, see http://www.musescore.org/en/blog/2009/02/06/new-features-musescore-094

  • Jamie

    [Joseph]
    -a thousand thanks for the link. -have been handwriting arrangements (can’t afford Sib. or Finale). -in heaven. Wow!!

  • http://musescore.org Thomas Bonte

    Hi Joseph, a short follow up on the current development of MuseScore.

    An very premature alpha release for Mac is now available for testing. You can download and test it but be aware there are still lot’s of issues to be resolved. Leaving feedback to help the developers is much appreciated.

    MuseScore is now available in 15 languages and is downloaded around 500 times per day. There is a rebranding effort going on as an open design project with design students and promo material becomes available for everyone to promote MuseScore.

  • http://www.mustech.net/ Dr. J. Pisano

    Thanks Thomas. I plan to do a another review of your site very soon. I am very excited with your product and the direction that you are going!

  • Erik

    I am not excited. This program collapses every 5 minutes on my computer.

  • http://www.musescore.org lasconic

    Hi Erik,
    The musescore community is very helpful. Try the forum : http://www.musescore.org/en/forum.
    Give your operating system and the version number of your musescore install. And we will help you and we will make you excited too hopefully :)

  • http://musescore.org/ Thomas Bonte

    Hi Joseph,

    A new step forward for the MuseScore project: the MuseScore Beta release for Mac (10.4 and above) is available. Here is the direct download link and some background information.

    BTW The new mustech.net design looks good!

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  • http://thomasbonte.net/ Thomas Bonte

    Dear Joseph,

    I’d like to share the great news that we release MuseScore 1.0
    http://musescore.org/en/musescore-1.0

    Thanks for spreading the word!
    Thomas

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