Musescore: An Honest Review | Best Composition Software Or Bust?

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Written by Ramsey Brown.

Just like how an actor reads a script to play a role, musicians often read sheet music (or a score of music)  in order to play their instruments. Music notation let’s a musical performer know what notes to play, how fast or slow to play them, and gives overall instructions on performing the piece of music.

Any good music composer understands that the key to setting music onto paper is precise efficiency. Music notation is a very mature and complex skill that requires much labor -- that is until now. 

Luckily, technology always finds a way to make difficult tasks easier. With advancements in music notation software, creating high quality sheet music is now easier than ever. Though there are many known notation programs on the market, we’ve done our research and found Musescore to be the best of the best.

So, if you are looking for the perfect music composing software and scorewriter to start writing your beautiful musical compositions, Musescore is just the application for you. Their interface offers amazing features that easily gives them a competitive edge over other music notation programs. 

If you’re wondering what exactly Musescore is and how it works, then you’ve clicked on the right article. We’re going to review Musescore’s features, the paid pro version, pricing, and the pros and cons of the online music composing and sharing platform.

What is Musescore?

Musescore is the world’s most popular online score-writing and notation tool. It allows professional and amateur musicians to create their musical compositions for various instruments with many supported file formats.

It is essential to music as to what Microsoft Word is to text-writing. It is a completely open-source platform, so you can include plugins and customize them according to your music requirements.

Whether you're a Piano or a Saxophone player, Musescore offers incredible ease to you to create original and beautiful musical scores using the note mode on this software. The application is used by both skilled musicians and beginners, inspiring artistry by allowing access to view other creative's work across the platform.

Features of Musescore

So, what kind of amazing features are you going to get if you make a free account on Musescore? Lucky for you, I've done my research and am going to provide you a list of all the major features I found with the Musescore freemium version.

High-Quality Note Editor with Customization Options

One of the main reasons for the incredible popularity of Musescore is the high-quality note editor and composition interface. You can choose free templates or start from scratch.

Inputting notes with a computer mouse can be time consuming. So, the app allows you to hook up a MIDI keyboard input for your music composition. Or, there is an on screen keyboard you can use for default internal acoustics provided by the software itself. Also, adding notes manually on your score sheet is always an option.

But that's not it. The free version also allows you to customize your note editor by using tools like arpeggios, transpose instruments, accidentals, and much more. So, there's a lot of customization options along with the note-editor that the platform provides.

Easy to Use

As a beginner, you might be thinking that using such a high-end score editor must be a difficult thing, but that's not at all the case. That's how good the Musescore editor interface is for both beginners and professional musicians.

You've got the basic file menu options and tools with note adding ability, and included customization tools. Everything is structured on the screen very decently and the interface is well organized. This means that you won't have difficulty finding the right tool that your composition needs to become perfectly written.

Plugin Access

Musescore is a completely open-source music-editing software. That means that the WYSIWYG editor can be extended from having just the basic features of a library to complex and incredibly in-depth functions. Musescore has an online community of over 2 million users. Once you’ve composed your music, you can upload it to Musescore’s social group with thousands of free scores available to view and download in various formats.

This opens up a whole new avenue of customizability. Plugins are super important if you're a professional that needs added depth, information, and note-editing features on your editor. That is why Musescore takes the cake over all other competing composition software.

Various Formats Supported

If you're concerned that your file extension might not be available for export or that your music score won’t be capable of getting into the editor due to a different than usual import format, do not worry because Musescore has got you covered.

From .mid files to .xml music files and more, you can import many different file formats onto the Musescore editor. When it comes to export capability for audio, you've got MP3, FLAC, WAV, OGG, and beyond. For scores, you've got printed PDF, PNG, and even SVG format supported, and basically any other file format imaginable.

Share Your Scores with an Audience

Besides being an open-source music and notation editing platform, Musescore allows you to share your compositions and notations with the world on their platform. You can share your compositions online and be loved and followed by a huge variety of musicians and professional artists. You can share your musical work and build a whole community which is another great feature of this platform.

Free Mobile App

Not only is the Musescore website free to access for musicians, artists, and composers, but they also have a free application for both iOS and Android devices. This is yet again another powerful feature of Musescore. 

With their music scanning feature, if you have printed music, or you have found a PDF score online, you can scan and upload it to the Musescore 2.0 app. This allows you to take a piece of paper music or PDF to an editable score in seconds. 

And now, after a lot of updates and changes, you can even play your scores and use a few tools like transposing or extraction of parts; however, that's where your control power ends with the application. You can do not much more with it, but seeing that it's free, it is a great additional tool you can use on the go.

Musescore Pro

Now, you've got a little taste of what Musescore has to offer. If you're thinking of moving a step forward and getting access to all the features and tools they've to offer, I'd say going for the Musescore Pro premium version is the right decision for you.

So you’re wondering what makes the paid version better than the free version? Well by paying $6.99/month or $49/year you get access to all the features mentioned above, plus these additional benefits: 

  • Additional Mixing Tools - If you're more of a DAW fan, then Musescore Pro has a lot of mixing tools available for your tracks, including volume changer, mute capability, dynamic level changing, and solo play options.

  • Stats and Info - Have you been uploading your compositions to the website? Well, if you want information about your score popularity, stats of interaction, and usage of your musical scores, you're going to get them using Musescore Pro.

  • Control Your Scores - Musescore Pro allows you to pin your scores on your profile, essentially giving you more control over how your profile and scores display and work.

  • No Advertisements - One of the best things that any paid membership offers is ad-free usage. On Musescore Pro, you're going to have a completely ad-less interface.

  • Export and Print Options - With the help of Musescore Pro, you're going to be able to export and print your track notations according to your preferred format.

Musescore Pros & Cons

PROS:

  • Free - You get the most composition and notation tools and customizability for free, even including the handy mobile application for both iOS and Android.

  • Ease of Use - The fact that the note-editor and the mixing tools are so easy to use and the interface is so well-structured, it really helps a beginner user take full advantage of the ability that Musescore possesses.

  • Print Quality - The print's quality along with each note is just simply amazing if you ask me, on-par with some of the paid music composition software.

  • Features - All of the wide variety of features mentioned above lead me to believe this is the best music notation software on the market. 

CONS: 

  • Support System - The support system for the website and even the application is quite slow, and often people aren't able to communicate with the company very well.

  • Updates - The website and applications release updates for tackling issues and problems very late, which can be quite a problem for some musicians in a time-crunch. 

Is Musescore Worth it? 

Finally, the question you've all been thinking about, is Musescore worth it? Well, most definitely it is! For a free platform that offers so much to musicians and composers (that even some paid notation editors and composition tools don't offer), I'd say it is definitely worth the download. 

Should you pay for Musescore Pro? I'd say it depends upon your usage. If you're big on mixing tools and you want the extra features that it brings then yes, I believe the Pro version will be great for you. If you do go with the pro version, I recommend getting the yearly deal because if you're going to use it for a long time, it obviously ends up being a better value.

Wrapping Up

Musescore is overall an incredible music composition editor. If you work with music composition and/or music sheet creation, I'd highly recommend the program and app to you. If you decide to become part of the vast growing Musescore community, I hope it takes your music notation and composition to the next level! Comment below with your experiences and success stories you’ve had with using this program.


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