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Internet Resources: MuseScore 1.1 a free alternative to Finale and Sibelius!

July 31, 2011 , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thanks to Peter Kirn on his blog Create Digital Music, I learned that MuseScore has released version 1.1. It is cross-platform- Windows, Linux, Mac, and free!

I have used MuseScore, the free music notation program, for several years now. I discovered it while looking for an alternative to the entry-level Finale program when it became a pay-to-play program. My requirements were that it be cross-platform, free, and functional.

MuseScore generally fit the bill. I was able to have my students download it and do simple assignments at home. I have it loaded on the Macs in my computer lab at school.

According to their website:

MuseScore is a free cross-platform WYSIWYG music notation program that offers a cost-effective alternative to commercial programs such as Sibelius and Finale. 
You can print beautifully engraved sheet music or save it as PDF or MIDI file.
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 your keyboard, mouse, or MIDI keyboard
• Integrated sequencer and FluidSynth software synthesizer
• Import and export of MusicXML and Standard MIDI Files
• Available for Windows, Mac and Linux
• Translated in 43 languages
• GNU GPL licensed

I have used MuseScore to write and print out last-minute arrangements. It is fairly intuitive. Anecdotally, I found that when I installed it on the computer where I had Sibelius, all of my music fonts disappeared. I am not savvy enough to know whether this is related or not, but it did take a long time for me to figure out what happened and fix the problem. It is entirely possible that this was a coincidence- just a heads-up.

I am very excited to try this out, especially since it can support an unlimited number of staves. in the previous version, this was a pretty severe limitation.

I love Sibelius. It’s power and intuitive GUI opened up new worlds to me. However, the price point can be a hurdle for some students, especially when trying to keep everyone on the same version.

With open-source and cross-platform software like MuseScore, the democratizing effects in the classroom are immediate.

There is a wonderful YouTube channel with tutorial videos you can turn to for help.

There is also an iPad reader available.


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