User feedback: How do you work with MuseScore?

• 9 months ago

As part of the UX design efforts , I'd like to learn about the ways you work with MuseScore, no matter whether you're a newbie who has no prior experience writing scores and is just trying it out or a seasoned professional.

Would any of you be up for a 30 minute video chat, where we would discuss the situations in which you transcribe music?

MuseScore Survey


I do not mind contributing ideas to such a project, but I do not do video chats or conferences. The bandwidth required would burn through a month's usage in less time than you propose. I could call you on an old-fashioned land-line telephone ;o) if you are anywhere in North America, but why not just post your questions here? There are a lot of people scattered through a lot of different time zones on this forum; if you insist on live discussion via video chat or conference, you'll have a difficult job arranging a time that is good for everybody, I think.

In reply to by Recorder485

I am not in North America, so land-line doesn't work for me in this case.

We're doing qualitative research, not quantitative, so a list of questions doesn't really work well for us. (There's a lot to be said about the differences between qualitative and quantitative research and the situations for which each is more suitable, but I won't get into that here.) Also, we don't want the interviewees to influence each other.

A video chat isn't strictly necessary, audio chat would suffice. Written conversation tends to be too drawn out and doesn't work well in practice.

In reply to by tinman

Written conversation tends to be too drawn out and doesn't work well in practice.

Having had the 'pleasure' of serving on a number of boards in various domains, I am not sure I agree with that statement. Obliging people to answer a question in writing often makes them slow down and think more deeply about their answers, and gives them a chance to reconsider whether what they've written is really what they meant. In 'live' discussions, OTOH, many people will say the first thing that pops into their minds in response to the last stimulus, and that is not necessarily the best response they could have provided.

I'll investigate the bandwidth cost of an audio chat on my server, and let you know if that's a feasable alternative. Please understand that we are located in the mountains, over a hundred miles north of Montreal, and the data 'pipe' here is much skinnier than it is in town (no cable company is going to install a 100-meg branch line to an isolated lake with only 30-40 potential subscribers, 85% of whom are only in residence on weekends). We only got cable internet service in my area about 8 years ago; before that we were on dial-up. Having 35 gig of bandwidth per month at 5mps seems like a major luxury by comparison, because even though the dial-up service was 'unlimited' it was so slow you couldn't physically use anywhere near 35 gig in a month no matter how hard you tried. A 1-meg photo took over three hours to download in those days...and as for streaming videos, forget it. YouTube locked up every 5 seconds or so for 2 minutes while it reloaded....

Question: Is this project something you have come up with on your own, or does it have some sort of 'official' connection to the MuseScore organisation? I realise that in an open-source context, that may be an oxymoron, but I have to ask.

In reply to by Recorder485

By "drawn out", I meant that it takes a while to get an answer, then to ask a follow-up question, etc. It's a lot of back and forth and a live conversation that could take 45 minutes could easily take a week or two over e-mail because of all the follow-ups, or several hours if live over chat (because it just takes longer to type). You also don't get the nuances that you get with spoken conversation.

Live interviews are standard UX practice, and that they work well has been confirmed by my own experience.

Since some other volunteers showed up, I'll keep you as a reserve if we need more info.

It's something I've come up with, but it has the backing of the Musescore organization.

In reply to by tinman

A video chat isn't strictly necessary, audio chat would suffice.

As promised, I checked to see if this is a viable alternative. A 30-minute VOIP call would cost me approximately 20 meg, which I can deal with if that will help MuseScore. We do not subscribe to any VOIP service, however, and I presume that would have to be resolved.

For the record, we use MuseScore in the following ways (in order of priority):

1. To create new editions of 17th- and 18th-century instrumental and vocal works (transcribed from both MSS and published editions), whether urtexts, transcriptions, or arrangements;

2. To read and edit scores submitted to the company by new composers (sometimes in MuseScore format, sometimes in musicXML exported from other scorewriters);

3. To create draft scores of new compositions of my own, transcribing from my sketchbooks;

4. To elaborate and refine my own compositions and arrangements once the basic input has been done;

5. To create the notation required in the critical reports in our editions, as well as for educational material, including methods books and textbooks. Music-notation snippets are saved in png format using the MuseScore 'screen capture' tool, and are inserted into word-processor documents as objects.

We use the server as a cloud, and maintain a private group page where our associate editors and translators can collaborate on the latest revision of the scores on which they are working.

Work methods:

We are currently using a custom build of MuseScore 2.0.1.

Input: For pitch input, we use a Korg Nano-key 2 midi keyboard; for note duration and general commands we use an Ecol'a numeric keypad; for text input, lyrics, and figured bass, we use the computer's QWERTY keyboard. I have added shortcuts to the program which enable us to accomplish many functions (such as toggling in and out of note-input mode, saving the file, and advancing the cursor to the next measure) in one keystroke from the number pad. The goal is to avoid use of the mouse or the computer's QWERTY keyboard during note input as much as possible.

Editing: All editing, layout, and page make-up work is done using the computer's QWERTY keyboard and the mouse.

Printing: We export to PDF directly from MuseScore, and use the professional version of PDF Complete to combine MuseScore pages with MSWord pages to make up the final score as a single PDF. We use the free version of the Adobe reader to send the final PDF to our printers (because the PDF Complete printer-driver conficts with our main printer, a Brother J6720DW).

That summarises our user experience fairly well. If there's anything else you need to know for your survey, let me know.

In reply to by tinman

Audio could be funny, but I don’t really want anyone to suffer through my bad spoken English, when I can read and write it just fine ;-)

I prefer IRC (text chat), but if it muse be, I can do Mumble (audio chat using Free Software) during times reasonable for Europe.

I would be glad to help if I can!
I brought Musescore to my brass band, and give them advices about how to use it. There are some very different and interesting behaviors: arrangers, people who practice their instruments with the software etc.

I am based in the UK and have been using Musescore for arranging and composing music scores and also as a teaching aid. Happy to contribute to feedback.
Kind regards
Adisha Kariyawasam

I use MuseScore a lot for producing performing copies in my role as MD of a liberal Anglo-Catholic church in the UK.

I would be up for a Google Hangout if that would be any good, but I don't do Skype due to security and privacy issues.

Please get in touch if that would be helpful.

Is there an issue with age? I am a high school sophomore but I use MuseScore quite often and would love to participate.

I am happy to help. I have been using Musescore for arranging music for choir and full orchestra, and for transcribing old manuscripts since version 1.3. Before that I used Finale. My timezone is UTC+7, and I regularly use Skype.

In reply to by Nicola Clavel-…

I will do the same for German if required.

BTW I believe you might get better and more representative results starting with a written survey (probably not in a multiple choice manner; make people answer in whole sentences). Make up a list of questions (not too long, otherwise people won't bother) that correspond to the areas you want to cover and have people respond in writing.

Then contact the ones that interest you most and arrange for a conversation in whatever medium you can agree on. This will hopefully avoid conversations going off track--something that happens very often in my experience with "spontaneous", i.e. u prepared conversations.

I could Skype. I arrange music for handbells and have noticed that Musescore doesn't seem to have all the notations I need available yet.

I can give you a short summary right here and now: I am a (amateur) composer who uses MuseScore to write serious compositions. I'm so glad I discovered it because now I don't have to pay $600 for decent notation software!

I would be willing to do a live audio chat once I get my computer working (it shouldn't take very long). I'm available from 5-9 p.m. GMT once my computer is functional. I'm not the most experienced MuseScore user, but I definitely know my way around the program!

I would like to participate. Being a guitar teacher that does all his scores himself, I assume I could be of assistance.

Cheers, Pady

I use MuseScore to drive Ableton Live. If you're interested in that kind of usage, I'd be happy to chat with you about it.


In reply to by lasconic

A couple of items in that post aren't quite right. I never updated it because I didn't think anyone was interested. For instance, Musescore will send data out on channels 11-16. Why the score I was using at the time couldn't do it is still a mystery to me.

If the community is interested in heading down this path, the number one issue (besides fixing the midi output bug) is to have MuseScore generate midi clock and song position. Once that's in place, events can be fired from within the slaved sequencer. That would keep any code needed to generate midi events out of MuseScore, which would keep the code base focused on scoring.

i use musescore for write and playing music for flute and piano.
i suggest to improve the ability for use vst and midi keyboard for record midi data track by track

Would be happy to discuss... I'm a beginner with Musescore. I've made several scores with some complexity. I've also published a few. I've used musescore for church, school and personal projects. Previously I've used finale. I have read the book, and bought the app for ipad and android.

I've used MuseScore for quite a few years now and I would be pleased to help any way I can.

I am a rank amateur, I play a Yamaha 295 keyboard (haven't mastered my PSR 650 yet!) and I use the Auto Accompaniment mode. Mostly I am playing one-finger so I just use FAKE BOOK LEAD SHEETS.

I use SharpEye 2 to scan music and then export for editing in MS2. I usually have to add most chord symbols and correct the lyrics. S/E2 often gets things messed up with extra rests and stuff in the wrong voice. Some of which I can't correct and if all else fails, I print it out from MS and re-scan it.

I know this is quite different to most of your users and that is why I might have a different approach. For instance I always have difficulty with chord symbols re-positioning themselves when I read a lead sheet back in to edit/print. The latest version seems to be worse than 1.3 and I always have to move the chords to a position where they are readable again before printing. Also, re-positioning the chords is more complicated in 2.0!

Anyway, pleased to help if I can. I'm GMT-7 but I can keep weird hours. Do agree with other comments though, that you would benefit more but a more considered response. So may i suggest the opportunity to follow up with more comments later?

In reply to by franksk

You might want to start a separate thread to ask for help with your chords symbol issues. Chord symbol handling is greatly improved in 2.0 but you do have to unlearn some habits you may have learned to work around the limitations imposed by 1.3. I think once you learn how the "new" system works you will shocked at how much better it is!

In reply to by franksk

Like I said, things changed, so if you are trying to do things the old way, it won't necessarily work as expected. You need to use the new ways, which provide a *lot* more control and are very easy to use once you learn them. I'd love to help you sort this out, so please start a new thread in the support forum where we can do so. When you do so, please attach the score you are having trouble with and give steps to reproduce the problem you are seeing.

But for the record, not to speak for anyone else, but I don't think the request for feedback was specifically intended to collect bug reports or to help people understand understand how to use the software. I'm sure they are interested in how you use the software, but ultimately, if you want help with your problem, you'd need to do that in the support forum, and I am more than happy to show you how to accomplish what you want more efficiently.

In reply to by underquark

The whole thread is about feedback! And the reason I mentioned that problem was to give an example of an issue that I notice only because of my particular usage; but you are obviously not aware of it - or something would have been fixed!

We all GREATLY appreciate the work that everyone puts into this project. So maybe if I explain the issue further, you will understand why I used this example.

When I have finished a piece of music, one of the last things I do before printing, is make sure that the chord symbols are easily readable and don't collide with other objects. They are not all on the same level - some may have to be higher, some are lower (repeat lines) - some are individually moved out of the way of repeat text, etc. So, I print the piece and save it. OK, job done! BUT, when I next open that file ALL THE CHORD SYMBOLS ARE MOVED!! So to print it again I first have to re-position all the chord symbols. AND, that is NOT as easy in 2.0 as it was in 1.3.


In reply to by franksk

Please do not use this thread for your particular issue (also calm down...)

Obviously MuseScore shouldn't move chord symbols or anything else between save and open. So if you have this behavior, please open a new forum post and we will sort it out. The next version of MuseScore will be better for everyone. The bug report forum is here: click on "Post new forum topic" and give all the information you have about this bug (Your MuseScore version, your OS, and precise steps to reproduce).

In reply to by lasconic


Someone posted earlier that they couldn't see the value in a "tete-a-tete" on Skype because you would get better information if users had time to consider their answers. I AGREE! I learned long ago that attending a meeting unprepared is simply a waste of time.

I would be happy to chat with you and THE INFORMATION ABOVE was simply to allow you to evaluate how useful that would be! AND also to PREPARE you, as best I can, for such a meeting.

Now, as a byproduct of that I see that you are TOTALLY unaware of this problem and we will get to sort that out in the next few weeks as I will be re-printing a lot of my lead sheets and I will be able to give you some good examples.

OBTW I'm pretty calm - in fact, you got me smiling!

Thanks guys, That's a wrap! Let me know if I can help with this thread's topic.

The video chat is out of the question because I would run out of data, but I'll be happy to tell you how I use MuseScore.

I find scores and transcribe them into MuseScore so I can compare what's written to the sound. This is very often disappointing because of issues such as lack of mid note volume changes and different sound options for instruments (such as muted trombone).

I also use it to compose original symphony music. Once again the limitations make hearing the symphony disappointing, but it is sufficient to have an idea of what it sounds like in reality as long as you find a better sound font than the default.

I'll throw my pennies into the pool.

I'm a musician who was never very good at reading music, but I've made my way slowly through piano scores. I've also composed throughout the "ages" guitar/bass/rock type pieces and recorded to some degree most of them. Anyway, I had this idea a year ago or so that before I continued working on my music I should learn all these little pieces of music from my past (video games/etc.) that I found to be part of my inspiration or just plain stuck to me throughout the years. I started doing this by ear, and after getting through a small handful I realized that I had better start writing down the notes and my fingering or else I'd forget some of what I was doing if I didn't continually practice them. After a while I decided what the heck, if I'm going to notate tones and fingering, I might as well learn how to do it on the computer, and I had come across MuseScore a few years back but never played with it. So, I got it up and running and started to notate without knowing what I was doing, except for the fact that I'd had experience from reading piano sheets.

Some old Nintendo games for example became too quick and complex to break down by ear, and I found myself taking a long time to break down everything even though it was still possible with patience and help via slowing down the music. To help me out I figured how to get into some tracker-based systems to see the explicit notes, and I then started to hand transcribe these notes while working out the timing. Needless to say, this was frustrating at first, but after a while I got the hang of it. Doing this with the aid of Musescore has been very educational, as if taking a college course or three. Although I'm not a master of the software, I've gained much experience, and I feel confident in my ability now to transcribe or notate music (haven't got into symphonies yet), and perusing and participating in the forums when questions arose was of much benefit. I went from wanting to aid my memory while learning to play something to learning the actual notation system pretty well. Let it be known that it is very beneficial to have on hand a selection of actual sheet music scores to look at to be able to see the settings the engravers used such as spacing, or certain placements of objects. Also, as others have mentioned, it's nice to be able to hear a tune if you find a sheet music prior to learning it on an instrument to have a better mental image of what it sounds like (I'm guessing more advanced musicians don't need this crutch, but it's nice to have).

In the end I'm thoroughly thankful for this free software, and I've learned also that if Musescore doesn't fit the bill regarding the end result, Musescore allows MusicXML export to be sent into the Lilypond system for an alternative result, which is also free. P.S. my reading skills increased by doing the aforementioned. I really recommend transcribing a few pieces while mentally reading the notes themselves to help develop reading skills.