Scores are essential in music. They include not only the notes, but also the playing directions, rests, rhythm, etc. Thus, even the most experienced musicians still rely on scores to perform a piece.
However, composing or transcribing a score is not an easy thing when one has not undergone any particular study. And digital tools are not much help: there are so many symbols and elements to transcribe and so few applications that manage to do it easily. And those that do are usually very expensive. However, in the last few years, a free, multilingual, open-source and easy-to-use software has appeared on the Web. This dream software is called MuseScore.
Available on Windows, MAC OS, Linux, and on mobile OSes (iPhone and Android), the app is suitable for both aspiring and more experienced musicians. The manipulations can be done with the computer keyboard or with a compatible MIDI keyboard. When the software opens, the sound palette that appears on the left side of the screen is huge.
It contains everything needed for a notation: clefs, posses, arpeggios, accidentals, tremolos, etc. Scores have no length limit. The application also manages repeats and codas, among others, to avoid wasting time on repetitive tasks. Not to mention that MuseScore includes a sound bank that therefore allows the software to interpret the score, offering the possibility for the composer to check if he made any mistakes.
For beginners or those who are not necessarily familiar with computer manipulations, the site offers in addition to the online manual (also offered in PDF), eleven short video tutorials available on YouTube. They can be found in direct access on the software download page and of course on YouTube. And for those looking for a tutorial in French, there's this twenty-minute video from this 21-year-old French musician and blogger that offers an overview of the software:
Like many open-source products, the software has a strong base of users who have designed plug-ins to add functionality; a way for users to enhance the already extensive app experience. Sharing isn't just about plug-ins. MuseScore also includes another site, on which one can find a large bank of scores that can be downloaded for free in mp3 or in MuseScore format (which will allow them to be edited in the app). Tens of thousands of compositions are available on the site and this is constantly growing thanks to subscribers adding up daily.
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