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Using Music Notation Software in the Studio

by Jeremy Hanson  Hanson.Jeremy@MacPhail.org

What is MuseScore?

  • Splash screen MuseScore 0.9.6MuseScore is a free cross platform WYSIWYG (“What You See Is What You Get”) music notation program.
  • Some highlights:
  • WYSIWYG, notes are entered on a “virtual note sheet”
  • Unlimited number of staves
  • Up to four voices per staff
  • Easy and fast note entry with mouse, keyboard or MIDI
  • Integrated sequencer and FluidSynth software synthesizer
  • Import and export of MusicXML and Standard MIDI Files
  • Available for Windows, Mac and Linux
  • Translated in 26 languages
  • GNU GPL licensed: the GNU General Public License is a free, copyright license for software and      other kinds of works, intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change all versions of a program and to make sure it remains free software for all its users.

Where can I get MuseScore?

  • Go to http://www.musescore.org to download the program and a PDF version of the handbook.
  • On the website, you will also find a web version of the handbook, user forums for questions, tech support and bug reporting, feature requests, and an area to share your work.
  • You can freely copy and distribute the program and documentation to your students (i.e., burn them to a CD or save them on a flash drive).

How will MuseScore be useful for me?

  • Write your own compositions and arrangements
  • Student compositions – students can hear the music they create!
  • Create customizable exercises
  • Make your own flashcards (notes, symbols, key signatures, intervals, rhythms, etc.) – print or save them as a PDF and send to your students
  • Create customized theory sheets – print or students can complete them on the computer
  • Create sight-reading aids for students
  • Create lead sheets
  • Transpose music with a few simple clicks 
  • Performance / Improvisation – students can play along with the computer– flexibility with tempo, instrumentation
  • Do your own editing (fingering, articulation)
  • Make excerpts for presentations, papers
  • Create parts from full score
  • Create WAV audio files that can be played on a computer or burned to an audio CD

 Helpful Hints when starting out:

  • Practice entering music by using student piano pieces. Try to get them to look as similar as possible. You will encounter all kinds of symbols and will really learn how to use the program. When you get more comfortable, try more difficult music!
  • Use keyboard shortcuts – they will save you a LOT of time and make using MuseScore very easy!
  • When you have difficulty, consult the handbook first, then go to the online forum. I have always found an answer to my questions there!
  • Be sure to set the page default to LETTER instead of A4 – this will help your scores to look good on the page. You may also want to play with the margins and the scaling to get the right appearance.
  • The Musescore Youtube Channel has many relevant videos


Splash screen MuseScore 0.9.6 by Musescore (CC- BY 2.0)

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Go to 'Display" at the top and then click 'Palette.' That should open up a bunch of menus on the left. They might already be there.

Then click Time Signatures, and drag the new time signature you want and drop it onto the measure you want. That should work.

Anyone got an easy answer on how to change time signatures mid-piece? For some reason my computer won't load the online handbook right now.Advice much appreciated!

This is awesome! I'll definitely start working with MuseScore now that I know more about it.