What open source softwares are available for creating a music score? I have Logic X but I don't think it's geared well for that kind of thing.

  • 1
    Are you aiming more for typesetting music you've already written or software to help you compose/arrange at the computer?
    – cjm
    Jan 7, 2016 at 6:58
  • @cjm I've written the song only partially. I want to write more of it, but I need to see it on paper instead to start writing out the roman numerals. But yes, the song is partially written. Jan 7, 2016 at 7:01
  • 1
    Then you should use MuseScore. I'll go edit my answer to make that clearer.
    – cjm
    Jan 7, 2016 at 7:02
  • 1
    I'm glad this question got answered well; the rules on 'no asking for specific products' are sometimes applied too harshly in my opinion.
    – Mr. Boy
    Jan 7, 2016 at 11:08

3 Answers 3


Since you're looking for software to input a score that is still under construction, MuseScore (found at musescore.org) would be my go-to application. It's a GNU-licensed graphical score editor that has playback and range-checking abilities.

In case you later want to engrave a finished score with LaTeX-like typographic quality, LilyPond is considered to be one of the finest software packages you can use. Do note that along with LaTeX quality comes a LaTeX-like workflow of entering the music into text files and then compiling them into the PDF output. However, is uses different syntax than LaTeX due to differences between the needs of typesetting text and engraving music.

  • 3
    I second LilyPond, but I'd only recommend it to folk comfortable with text based notation (as @cjm points out). Since the OP has a StackOverflow profile with questions on SQL and PHP I think LilyPond's language will be make sense.
    – dumbledad
    Jan 7, 2016 at 6:51
  • 3
    If OP is comfortable with LaTeX, LilyPond should be easy to learn. Syntax is a bit different due to the differences between the needs of typesetting text and engraving music, but they share the same basic text input to compiled PDF output concept.
    – cjm
    Jan 7, 2016 at 6:56
  • 4
    Gotta love the GNU license! Good ol' Stallman Jan 7, 2016 at 9:42
  • I use MuseScore 2. It can be really frustrating when you want to edit something, but the user interface for some feature is un-intuitive or just well hidden. But the ability to play back your score is really useful.
    – Simon B
    Jan 7, 2016 at 21:52
  • 2
    MuseScore had experimental LilyPond export. In version 2.0.2 they removed it, and recommend exporting as MusicXML then using the LilyPond tools to convert that to LilyPond format. Might be worth a try when producing the final, finished product if you find that MuseScore's printout isn't pretty enough.
    – JRE
    Jan 8, 2016 at 13:28

Another good option which I've used (before buying Sibelius) is Finale Notepad. There are paid and free versions, but the free version (IIRC) doesn't have that many limits, and I could compose quite happily with the free version.

Note that this doesn't satisfy the original question's requirement for Open Source software, but could be an option for people if they don't have the same restriction.

  • Technically, that is another option, but the only advantage Finale Notepad has over the open source competition is a better soundfont (but I think you need a paid version to get better percussion handling)
    – cjm
    Jan 7, 2016 at 19:39

If you are looking for browser based open-source software, I am currently working on inknote. It is currently incomplete, but if you are looking for something you can easily contribute to, this is it :)

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