Which version for a beginner/student?

• Feb 14, 2015 - 05:39

I'm taking an online class and the instructor recommended Musescore as one of the available notation tools.

My demands and expectations as a complete newbie are set quite low: Which version should I choose to do my homework assignments (simple things like chord inversions, short choral snippets, voice leading, etc.).

If Musescore will be moving to v2.0GA, then it makes sense to me to start learning -- both the course material and the app -- on the version that will be in production sooner or later.

So: Which version of Musescore should I download/install/learn? Are there "issues" with v2.0 beta that would interfere with (or even prevent) simple 4-voice (S, A, T, B) exercises, in normal key signatures, and (so far) all in common time.

As a newbie, I would like to minimize any learning bump that might occur when v2.0 goes "live." I've got enough new stuff on my plate just now: software transition re-learning would be a major setback [here I am, arguing for v2 beta].

Advice, please?

Tom Maynard.


In reply to by Shoichi


I just downloaded the nightly build and I am trying to learn music again after not playing or taking violin lessons since the 6th grade. So, a very long time for me. I have to learn everything again.

But I am not learning on a violin this time but a Casio CTK-6200 keyboard I got this month. I would like to type in the sheet music from the beginner keyboard books I bought and have musescore 'listen' to me play via the USB midi driver supplied by Casio (or Yamaha or whoever - I think it's standard, no?) and in a split screen of sheet music have the left side be the sheet music I typed in (hopefully correctly) and the right side by the sheet music that I'm playing in 'real-time' with mistaken notes in red and the corrections in green (so that it should match the sheet music on the left). It could then grade the practice session when the score was finished, though in some cases manually marking the score as being finished might be needed.

It'd be easy to extent this to an easier to use iterative score editing system too I think if such capabilities don't already exist. I know nothing about midi notation but it would be nice if midi notation stated what instrument(s) should was be played back though manually selecting (an)other(s) on the computer might be desirable from time to time.

Is this possible? If not how hard would it be to program such extensions? Would it be done as a plugin or would it need to be added to the core?

I sent a letter to the general musescore.org address but I figure that such a feature might already be implemented but after a bit of thought I figured the folk in the forums could point me to such features if they exist, as the main person for the musescore site is probably very busy.



In reply to by JackJura

OK, so I've tried both 1.3 & 2.0 and I see that notes turn blue as they play. Seeing this, a split screen probably isn't needed but instead of a note turning blue as it's played by the computer the musescore reads the midi stream and the note(s) turns green if it's correct and red if it's not correct.

The streams of midi notes not being supplied by the keyboard / midi input would be played as blue notes as they are now but matching the tempo of the practice session.

The difficult problem is a beginner like myself isn't liable to be very close to the correct length for the note duration but with a little delta of variance built in it's a good way for beginners to learn that correctly at the start without a metronome.

If musescore already does something like this sorry. I'm poking my nose around seeing what it can do. I like it very much so far but I like the UI better in 1.3 so far.


In reply to by JackJura

What in particular do you like better in 1.3? I suspect it's just a matter of what you are used to; 2.0 is really better in virtually every conceivably way!

But if you're specifically talking about trying to use it for playing purposes, that is definitely *not* the intent of MuseScore. it is for *creating* the music in the first place. A program that helps grade you as you you play could be a wonderful thing, but that's not the point of MuseScore; it would be much better off being a separate program that could specialize in doing that well.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I literally have spent 10 minutes each in MusicScore 1.3 and MusicScore 2.0 so it's not a matter of what I'm used to.

I know developers can be sensitive but I'm just giving an opinion and opinions can be valuable when they aren't masking ulterior motives.

I like the Start Center is attached to the right hand side of rather than the floating Start Center though I'd thing it's easily convertible between the two in bother version of MusicScore. And I had to bizarrely choose a composition from the Start Center to get MusicScore to respond to the mouse after with the Start Center closed (or crashed) off the screen anyway.

The menu shortcuts of 2.0 I prefer to be hidden until the key is pressed while the > arrows indicating the presence of an expandable sub-menu looks amateur and while still amateur they look better in MuseScore 1.3. It'd look better with some indication of a expandable submenu on 'hover' like those pastel yellow 'help blurps' a lot of programs use. Same with the 'Page View' and '100%' and similar menu entries. They look amateur although the icons themselves are head and shoulders above the scheme used in 1.3.

For the 100% I think I would use 3 different size magnifying glasses rather than numbers but that's not a big deal. Actually now that I look again the 'Page View' and Page Size' % is jarring in it's current location. I'd both move to a status bar positioned to the far left underneath the sheet music of the MusicScore window although that would violate somewhat 'status bar' intent. Many programs do that and it'd only adding a bit of status changing functionality to a status indicator because both % & page feed indicators would still be indicative of status, no?

For the text 'Concert Pitch' I'd create an icon like a conductor's hand holding a baton over a music clef that at the bottom of the icon was small and at the top was large, as if the pitch was changed.

For all the text on the left that is experienced composer terminology and so I realize those are terse phases used to express some musical concept. My preference would be those were replaced by a grid of icons but only if that each one of those terms had a singular musical symbol already invented for it. Maybe some of those terms do and some don't. For those that don't they could be gathered at the bottom of the list and kept as words and those that do have symbols they could be gathered at the top in a matrix.

But you are right the icons and UI looks much better. The sheet music looks much better too but I do waiver between liking white paper vs 'aged' paper better, the color not the print. The print on the new paper is much better.

I realize the MusicScore is created to compose music but to dismiss my earlier questions as to the current capabilities of MusicScore or plans on altering MusicScore to be capable used as music instruction program or an interactive composer tool as if those things aren't worthy of consideration because they aren't of interest to professional musicians that are used to doing things the old way, that is, manually writing music notation to compose, isn't very user, design, or future oriented.

MusicScore itself, that I really like in the 20 minutes I've used it, realizing I'm a beginner at music after not playing since the mid 1970s. I am only using it to play back music sheets others have copied or even composed themselves. Later, I'll be able to take other's sheet music or compose my own but I can't do that now.

Well actually I can copy other's sheet music so I'll try that to help test the new MusicScore 2.0 but since they are in Yamaha instruction books I would only be able to post those clearly marked as being taken from the public domain, e.g. London Bridge is Falling Down although I imagine those are posted many times over with MusicScore.

I guess I could try myself as I don't need to be a musician to read and match midi notation although if compiling QT is still like it was in 2004 even setting up a development project and compiling MusicScore would not a fun thing on my 5 year old PC.

This is kind of fun, MusicScore is so close to being so good. I think I'll go hook up my USB cable from my keyboard and see what MusicScore does with that if it can do anything...


In reply to by JackJura

Welcome and thank you for your input.

I guess Marc's point was more that MuseScore (and not MusicScore btw) has been developed in the past 10 years as a tool to compose and arrange, not as a tool to practice and learn. I believe it's why people who use its purpose for this purpose likes it. If someone tries to use it for another purpose, it might not match their expectation and they might think it's not a good tool. Which I believe it is, for the right purpose.

Of course, it should be possible to create a learning tool based on a part of MuseScore, but again I really believe it would be better in another tool. Putting too much things in a single software makes it inconvenient to use for any purpose.

You don't need to compile Qt to compile MuseScore. See http://musescore.org/en/developers-handbook/compilation for your instructions.

Just to make sure again that your expectation are aligned with what MuseScore is. MuseScore is not possible to have MuseScore listen to you on a MIDI cable or via Audio and write sheet music in realtime. You can plug a MIDI keyboard and play, but MuseScore will only enter the pitches.
MuseScore does have a MIDI import capabilities though but one needs to record a MIDI and then open it.

The current plugin framework would not help in listening to MIDI and match it to the current loaded sheet. So this feature would need to be implemented in C++. There is currently no way to write MuseScore plugins in C++.

Last thing, you asked about the complexity. It all depends about what you want to do. Recording MIDI in "realtime" in a cross platform way is probably an interesting task already. Then compare in "real time" what's coming in with the MuseScore performance (which is far from perfect btw) it's another, probably easier, task. Having the incoming MIDI stream displayed as notation in "real time" is then something else and probably harder than the rest.

Hope it helps.

In reply to by Nicolas


Thanks for clearing up that this wouldn't be 'plugin' friendly as I had hoped.

Without seeing the design I had hoped the keyboard and mouse inputs to the sheet music were both plugins and that midi as a format encoded enough information to be directly translatable from midi to sheet music, as at least a lot of it. The music score play back engine would just accent the midi from the usb or other midi cable as one or more midi streams concurrently with the sheet music.

Some of the notation on the sheet music Musescore would have figure out after the piece was finished being played.

I will setup, compile and dork around with it a bit. So it will be fun for me to learn a little about midi and how musescore is put together even if there is no interest beyond making it is, what is already is.

Cross-platform midi reading well I'd have to read about it. I did have to mess around with cross platform big-endian / little-endian log long ago for a company's network programming data packets so maybe cross platform midi wouldn't be significantly more difficult. I do have a 2007 MacMini and suppose it would be easy enough to setup a VM Ubuntu too but I have only Intel chips except for a lone 7" Android tablet.

All that's putting the horse before the cart though. I need to hook up USB midi with my PC and learn how to copy music sheets with keyboard & mouse into MuseScore and see what the midi connection to Musescore is already capable of.

The UI suggestions for 2.0 particularly with regards to -, 100 %, [Page View], and Concert Pitch would be nice minor change though.

Actually looking at the default UI again from the perspective of a user's vision the whole allotment of non-musical items but rather 'office type' items in the 1st two sections on the left of the UI [New Document | Open Document | Save Document | Print Document | Previous Document | Next Document] & [Document Size | Document View ] and the 'Inspector' is a distraction to what a musician wants to see and that is information about the musical part of their editing. I'd move all that to the status area or add a tab on the left to go with palettes. They could move tabs to the left or right hand side of the screen as they wish.

And then I'd study the information that a musician want to see when they are composing and some of which is being displayed inconspicuously in the 'tradition office program and web browser' status area and make that information conspicuous at the top.

All those pop-up related to 'Mute', 'Solo', 'Volume', instrumentation and so on I would integrate the most used of those on the top or in an area reserved at the top of the right hand size. The current inspector on the right well that could be dropped below the newly integrated pop-ups. With tear-offs and docking and such people could easily arrange it to what they are used to.

Thanks again.


In reply to by JackJura

Thanks for the feedback! I don't really have anything more to say about the possibility of some future practice tool being developed, but I do have a couple of comments about the UI.

The "Start Center" that pops up when you start MuseScore 2.0 and the "MuseScore Connect" that is pinned to the right side of MuseScore 1.3 are two totally different things with two totaklly different purposes. The StartCenter is also a place you can start when opening or creating a new score. It doesn't really contain anything very useful except when you are open or creating a score, so it doesn't really make sesne to have it take up space at all times. Not when there is the very useful Inspector that really does make sense to be open at all times. Not sure what you mean about needing to choose a composition form the Start Center - you shouldn't ever need to do that. You can dismiss it at any time, load a score via File / Open, start a new one with File / New, and indeed go to preferences and tell MuseScore to never show you the Start Center if you prefer. If you are seeing some particular usability issue, could you please describe with *specific* step by step instructions to reproduce it?

Page View, it should be mentioned, was the only view possible in 1.3 - there was no Continuous View. So even if you don't like the position of that control, I guess I can't worry too much that you like 1.3 - which lacked the control at all - better than 2.0 in this respect. Having a continous view beats not, and it seems to be that both the zoom and the view controls are virtually *always* located toward the top of the screen in most programs I am aware of. Moving either to the bottom would be a big suability mistake - few people would ever think to look for them there.

Your comments about replacing the labels of the palettes with icons is good, but again, it's that way in 1.3 too. Ideally, there should probably a choice. I prefer compactness, and icons arranged vertically take a lot more space than words, especially given it is going to need to expand horizontally to provide a usable palette anyhow.

You can set different backgrounds in either version.

Interesting idea about Concert Pitch, but I doubt I or msot people would figure out what was meant. The term at least would be familair to anyone playing an instrument that uses the concept. I really can't think of a picture that could say the same. But I am certainly open to suggestions; it does bother me a little have this text on the otherwise icon-based toolbar! But, again, it was that way in 1.3 too.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I'm using MuseScore 2.0. The issue I talked about earlier with the Start Center locking up the entire MuseScore app until I selected a document to open I have not been able to replicate.

It's not really the big deal to change the UI to be more music centric and less office document centric as you think. MuseScore is on Android and iOS and most of those users have no concept of Microsoft Word or Apple Pages UIs. Windows 10 will have a universal API and MuseScore with need a suitable API for that.

However, I've said my fill and MuseScore already has most of the UI flexibility I mentioned.

Anyway, it is easy to arrange the UI in MuseScore 2.0 to be nearly what I said already. The status of various items is the only thing I couldn't move to a top row for better visibility. I could probably turn off those underlines for shortcuts too if I kept looking.

I would have liked to been able to have the option to dock the elements I moved as tabs on either side of the sheet music as well but I'm already happy with the flexibility to move it to the bottom.

For the learning tool well it's already been made clear they have no interest but they directed my to the build instructions and it looks like if I have enough interest I'll have to learn how MuseScore uses the Jack API.

ugh! The text tools should be opened as a tab next to the Inspector (in the way the 'Selection' can be docked by the 'Palettes') and the Piano Keyboard centered horizontally.

Thanks a lot everyone. Super program.

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