You could be forgiven for thinking that, if you want pro-quality music notation software, you’ll need to pay top dollar for it. This, after all, is the way it’s been in the past.
However, with the launch of MuseScore 4, the latest version of the free and open-source notation app, this is all set to change. This is the biggest update to MuseScore yet - it offers improvements to its interface, playback, score quality, capability and accessibility - and means that the software now offers a genuine alternative to its paid-for rivals.
Not convinced? Let’s consider the evidence. First up, there’s an entirely new interface, which is designed to make score creation quicker and easier than ever. You can now customise the UI to suit your workflow, ensuring that the software can help you to maximise your productivity, while the Home tab now includes video tutorials that will teach you how to compose with MuseScore 4 in minutes.
Next, there’s MuseScore 4’s new hyper-realistic playback engine. This features a library of high-quality orchestral sounds, so when you want to listen to your compositions, they’ll sound as good as they look. Designed specifically for notation, the new library is powered by performances by world-class musicians, and contains instruments that offer genuine realism and high levels of expression.
What of MuseScore 4’s engraving, though? Or, to put it another way, how good is the quality of the notation it produces?
Happily, we’re able to report that this has also been reworked, too, and now offers improved readability and legibility for composers and performers who want to follow your scores on their devices.
This has been designed by professional engravers, and enables you to produce legible and beautiful notation pretty much automatically. If you want to delve deeper, though, there are hundreds of potential adjustments and optimisations you can access.
Once you’ve finished a score, it can be shared at MuseScore.com, home to the world’s largest sheet music community.
Launching alongside MuseScore 4 is the new Muse Hub, a new desktop app that integrates with MuseScore 4 and gives users access to Muse Sounds and MuseFX.
Downloadable via Muse Hub, Muse Sounds is available for free and created specifically for notation. Users can benefit from a high-value sound library, with a nuanced set of sounds and realistic instruments performed by world-class musicians. Together with MuseFX, a collection of free sound effects and controls, you have even more possibilities to edit and customise your score
We should emphasise that MuseScore 4 really is for everyone, with new accessibility features improving ease of use for those with visual and mobility impairments. These include better screen reader support, a customisable high-contrast mode, enhanced keyboard navigation and braille export.
It’s no exaggeration, then, to say that MuseScore 4 has the potential to change the way people create music forever. It’s supported by Muse Group, which is committed to ensuring that creative tools can be accessed by all, and that there are no barriers - including financial ones - to expressing your talent.
In short, you no longer need to worry about whether you can afford the best music notation software, because MuseScore 4 gives you everything you need for nothing.