New features in MuseScore 4

If you’re coming to MuseScore 4 from earlier versions, you’ll notice changes not only to the user interface, but also to many familiar features and ways of doing things. These changes have been designed to improve the user experience while providing much greater functionality. Here's a very quick overview of some of the major changes.

New user interface

MuseScore 4 comes with a sleek new interface. Nearly every part of the application has been completely redesigned to be cleaner and easier to read. You can choose between light, dark and high contrast themes, as well as pick your preferred accent color. Changes to the appearance of the app can be made in Preferences.

Instruments and parts

A new instruments panel allows you to hide, rearrange and customize your instruments without having to leave the score view.

The instruments panel integrates tightly with the process of creating parts, making it much easier to produce custom parts with any combination of available instruments. There’s now also a convenient button in the toolbar that allows you to quickly open any available part.

Inspector

The Inspector from earlier versions of MuseScore is now known as the Properties panel. Every option in this panel has been re-organized and the entire experience has been streamlined. By default, the Properties panel displays multiple useful options, like the ability to show or hide empty staves and various other types of score markings. Whereas previously you needed to select single element types before you could make changes to them, MuseScore 4 always displays relevant settings, regardless of how many different elements you have selected.

New playback and VSTi support

Playback improvements are the single largest change to MuseScore 4. Apart from new sample libraries (Muse Sounds, available as a separate download), there’s now support for VSTi plugins, which can be applied to instruments using the new mixer panel. The mixer also lets you easily switch between VSTi, SoundFonts and the Muse Sounds libraries, while also supporting VST effects. Sounds will now always be saved on a per-score basis, so there is no longer any need for the Synthesizer panel found in MuseScore 3 (this has been removed in MuseScore 4). If you previously used SFZ files for playback in MuseScore 3, we now recommend that you use a free VST sampler, like Sfizz or Sforzando, both of which support SFZ playback.

Engraving improvements

MuseScore 4 features many engraving improvements, some of which will have an effect on the appearance and layout of scores created in earlier versions. The most significant changes affect the placement of beams, slurs and ties, horizontal spacing, and page layout. There are far too many changes to list here, so those interested in learning more about the particularities may wish to read this dedicated document (link forthcoming) that explains and illustrates everything in detail.

An unavoidable consequence of having made such significant engraving improvements is that it will not be possible to open a score in MuseScore 4 from an earlier version of MuseScore and have it look identical.

Cloud storage

When you save a document for the first time, you’ll now be asked whether you want to save your file locally to your computer, or to the cloud. This new option is part of an exciting expansion we are making to services on musescore.com. Learn more about this in Open/Save/Export/Print and Share Scores Online.

Other changes

As you use the program, you’ll find lots of other small but significant changes that have been designed to make the process of composing and notating music just that bit easier. These include:

  • An expanded note input toolbar, with one-click access to frequently used elements like tuplets and articulation marks. There’s also a convenient “+” menu where you can quickly add everything from notes and intervals, to frames and text elements.
  • Easy-access features in the Properties panel that let you quickly add and remove measures, and show and hide empty staves
  • A beautiful new mixer
  • Improvements to the time signature properties dialog
  • A streamlined experience for setting the language of the app
  • A new Learn center for instructional videos on how to get the most from the app