Create your first score

Updated 1 week ago


    This chapter is a quickstart tutorial suitable for absolute beginners who have zero knowledge of this notation software. It demonstrates the most basic workflow. There are also a number of similar learning resources available online, see Getting help.

    In this chapter we'll

    1. create a quick new score which has
      • a common predefined instruments setup (template) of your choice,
      • no sharps or flats in the key signature,
      • 4/4 time signature, and
      • 32 measures,
    2. add notes and rests and other notational objects,
    3. listen to the result,
    4. adjust score and notational objects' properties and the number of measures,
    5. save the score file in a native file format, so that it is fully editable when reopened in Musescore, and
    6. export score data as non-native formats such as PDF, MusicXML, MIDI, so that other applications can utilize it. It is not the recommended way to store a score.

    Create a quick new score

    When you open Musescore, no score file is created or opened by default (unless you have changed settings in Preferences:General:Program start). You need to create an empty score and the first thing to consider is adding blank staffs using instruments setup. The quickest way is to apply a predefined template:

    1. Do either one of the followings:
      • in the Home: Scores tab, select New score, or click New (bottom right).
      • From the menu, select File→New.
      • Use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+N (Mac: Cmd+N).
    2. In the New score dialog that appears, click Choose from template, browse templates by Category, or use the search bar to look up a template directly,
    3. Click Done to create your new score.

    Create new score (animated image)

    Learn more about instruments and how to add them and their staffs individually in Setting up your score:Instruments.
    Learn more about template in Setting up your score:Create from template, and Templates and styles.

    Entering score information

    For the sake of simplicity, we're skipping these setups and using the default values listed eariler, but you should know that you can either add info such as key signature, time signature, tempo, pickup measure (anacrusis or upbeat measure):

    Entering notes and rests

    A new score is automatically filled with rests. The default note input mode is based on the logic that, when a new note or rest is added by the user, the subsequent notes and rests adjust their duration ( note value or length ) automatically without affecting the total number of beats in any measures. One way to enter new note and rest in MuseScore is using a computer keyboard. It is designed to be similar to typing in a word processor such as Microsoft Word :

    1. Hit keyboard key N to enter note input mode. A thin and tall light blue box with a dark blue left border spanning the whole staff is now visible, indicating that it is currently in note input mode. The box is positioned on top of the time or beat position that the next entered note or rest is being added to.
    2. Type in letter names (A, B, C, D, E, F, G), type zero (0) for rest.

    Entering notes (animated image)

    Note duration is specified before typing letter names.

    1. Ensure it is currently in note input mode as explained above.
    2. Click on the desired note duration in the Note input toolbar, or use keyboard number keys 1 through 7 and the full stop, period, or dot key ..
    3. Type in letter names as explained above.

    Changing note durations (animated image)

    You’re now engraving in MuseScore! Learn more about this topic in Entering notes and rests.

    Adding items from the palettes

    The Palettes panel contains notational objects most commonly used. The Palettes panel is visible by default, if it is not the case, open it by checking View→Palettes, or pressing keyboard shortcut F9 first. To reveal the panel, click the Palettes tab on the left side of the screen. The simplest way to add palette items is to:

    1. Select an existing object (or range of objects) in your score (e.g. a notehead, clef, measure, etc.)
    2. In the Palettes panel, expand a palette by clicking the triangular arrow button
    3. Click a palette item

    adding palette items to the score (animated image)

    Learn more about this topic in Palettes

    Listening to the result

    Musescore's notation object interpreter and audio synthesizer provide audio playback. To listen to the score, simply press Space, or use the Play toolbar, see Playback controls.

    Dynamics symbols affect instrument playback depending on the sound data used (SoundFonts, Muse Sounds, or VSTi, see MuseScore 3 features not (yet) implemented in MuseScore 4:Velocity controls). When an instrument use SoundFonts such as MS Basic ( as with the default setting, see Mixer chapter ) and no dynamics symbol is added onto the score, all of its notes are as loudly as if a mf (mezzoforte) is added.

    Playback of passages not affected by any Tempo markings uses the pace of 120 crotchet (quarter note) would have been in one minute.

    Making adjustments in Properties Panel

    locating the properties panel image

    The Properties panel is an upgrade version of the Inspector in other Musescore versions. It shows layout and playback properties of the selected objects or selected characters inside Text object. When nothing is selected, it shows the properties of the score. The Properties panel is visible by default, if it is not the case, open it by checking View→Properties, or pressing keyboard shortcut F8 first. To reveal the panel, click the Properties tab on the left side of the screen, see image above.

    To show and adjust properties of the score,

    1. Click on any empty space on the score, outside of all staffs.
    2. Properties are shown in the Properties panel, adjust them as required.

    To show and adjust properties of element(s),

    1. Click to select element(s) on the score, each selected element is shown colorized either blue, green, orange, or purple depending on the Voice it is assigned to.
    2. Properties are shown in the Properties panel, adjust them as required.

    To show and adjust properties of selected characters inside a Text object,

    1. Click to select a Text element on the score
    2. Double click to enter edit mode
    3. Drag to select characters, or use keyboard Shift and arrow keys
    4. Properties are shown in the Properties panel, adjust them as required.

    Learn more about this topic in the Selecting elements, the Properties Panel , and the Entering and editing text chapters .

    Inserting and deleting measures

    inserting and deleting measures (animated image)

    To insert measure(s):

    1. Click on a measure to select it (any empty space in between the staff lines). Selected measure is shown enclosed with a blue box.
    2. In Properties Panel : Measures section, click Insert measures.
    3. Select the number of measures, use the dropdown menu to change the point of insertion.
    4. Click the + button

    To delete measure(s):

    1. Select the unwanted measure(s). Use keyboard Shift key to select range, see Selecting elements chapter.
    2. In Properties Panel : Measures section, click the trash can icon

    Learn more about this topic in the main chapter Measures.

    Saving your score

    Saving the score in a native file format records all of its editing status, it is fully editable when reopened in Musescore. Scores can be saved locally, or to a cloud storage provided free of charge to every registered user. See also Publish to and Share on chapters. To save your score:

    1. Select File→Save
    2. In the dialog that appears, select either
      • Save to computer option that allows saving the score in any desired folder, or
      • Save to the cloud option that saves the score online. When saving to the cloud, a additional local copy is created automatically to provide offline editing functionality. Cloud score can be reopened inside Home: Scores tab, it is indicated with a small blue cloud symbol at the top left corner of the preview thumbnail.
    3. Fill in the required info such as file name, click Save or OK

    Learn more about this topic in the main chapter Opening and saving scores.

    Exporting your score

    Exporting is not the recommended way to store a score, see "Saving your score" section instead.

    Exporting is saving score data in a format that applications other than Musescore can utilize. These non-native formats includes PDF, MusicXML, MIDI etc. To export the full score:

    1. Select the Publish tab
    2. Click Export
    3. Select the file format
    4. Click Export

    Learn more about this topic in the main chapter File export.