MuseScore 2 - Create your own scores for free

Ever wanted to create your own scores? Then try the MuseScore program. Unlike programs such as Sibelius and Finale, MuseScore is free to use. If you also want access to thousands of user scores, you can register for free for the online database of Get started, Beethoven!

MuseScore 2


For free




Windows 7/8/10, macOS, Linux

Website (program) (database) 9 Score 90

  • Pros
  • MuseScore Songbook for e-reader and tablet
  • Extract and print games
  • Access to free database
  • Easy to create scores
  • Negatives
  • Sound only via outdated SoundFont protocol

MuseScore has been around since 2009 and has arrived at version 2.3.2. The desktop version is open source and you can follow the development of the program on GitHub. Version 3 is in the works, but no release date has been announced yet.

To work

Once you open MuseScore, you can choose what kind of score you want to create. You go through a wizard in which you indicate what the (working) title is and for which instruments you want to write the score. You can choose from several templates; for example, a SATB template is useful for a choral piece for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass. Of course you can also put together your own ensemble. Then you choose a key and time signature and you can start filling your empty score with notes. To do this, click on the N button at the top left. Choose the note length and then click anywhere in your score to place the note. It is more convenient to use your keyboard for this. With the number keys you switch between the length, with the letter keys you place notes.

Scores database

If you want to know how your piece sounds, press the play button. The built-in synthesizer allows you to load other sound sets in the relatively ancient SoundFont format. Unfortunately, it is not possible to use professional sample libraries in the program, but that makes sense, since the program is open source. However, you can redirect your score to a program that supports VST plug-ins via the JACK function. If you sign up for a free account on the site, you get access to thousands of scores. You can download this as a PDF file as well as a MuseScore mscz file. In the latter case you can listen to the file and adapt it to your wishes before printing it. Orchestra scores can also be printed individually for each solo instrument. For this you first have to extract the separate parts in the menu. Prefer not to print? Then install MuseScore Songbook on your tablet or e-reader: handy!


MuseScore is a very comprehensive program that for many users is not inferior to a professional paid program such as Finale or Sibelius. If you don't want to write your own music, you can download a lot of scores from the free database. In this way you have new songs or pieces to play for every band, orchestra or choir rehearsal.

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