Playlists - Only way I'll hear all the compositions I've downloaded. + Best way to excite kid about Musescore.

• Dec 25, 2019 - 06:07

[Edit: See also my comment on Howard's comment below! Do not brush this suggestion aside! Do not think mp3s are the answer. Does Musescore itself not appreciate the tremendous potential of Musescore?]

I've downloaded perhaps 150 original compositions + 300 well-known songs.

I'll never take the time to open and play (listen to) each one, one at a time. I'll never hear the creations!

I want to be play songs in the background until my kid says "wow! i want to learn that!" Opening each one, one at a time, doesn't flow. Musescore becomes an interruption - the enemy - instead of a source of delight. Most of the time, nothing is playing, because we are engaged in some other activity (card game, making food, playing with pet, wrestling, etc). A playlist would really help.

I could open several in a row - several operations, without waiting for each song to end before i open the next. But that won't help. I would still need to wait until one song finishes before i click for the next song to play.

I'd prefer for the notes to be visually playing along with the audio, but if it's easier to implement just the audio, that would still be great. (Ideal would be for the user to have the option.)

I know others have suggested musescore adds playlists. There wasn't much if any discussion - at least not where I saw. I'm hoping my rationales above will lead to a more thorough consideration of this proposal.

Whatever the # of people asking for this feature, I'm sure many people would end up using and loving it.



The goal of MuseScore is the notation your request seems to me quite distant. If I understand it correctly, the road could be another one. I'm thinking of a DVD burned with mp3s exported from MsS. You could then listen to it with the various functions of a player e.g. shuffle playback etc.
Basically the answer to the other conversation:

You can straightly download audio files from and use your local audio player. MuseScore is a notation programme, its primary focus is to create beatiful-looking sheet music. Playback is no more than an aid to composers when they want to hear what they've just written in order to determine whether that's what they want. So in other words, MuseScore is an editing or viewing tool, not plain-listening tool. Implementing something like playlist isn't likely going to happen.

In reply to by Howard-C

Thanks (sincerely), but ...

Does Musescore itself not realize the tremendous power of Musescore?  

Moving from mp3s to mscz's is revolutionary.  I need to say that better.  Save the world!: Let people not just consume but create!  I need to say that much much better.

I'll start with the trivial, and work my way up.   
I'd rather not add more files to my laptop.  500 files x 4 MB = 2000 MB = 2 GB.  It's not nothing.

I already download PDFs as well as MSCZs, because Musescore doesn't have a Practice Mode / Read-Optimized Mode for the laptop / pc version.  It's annoying to need to download 3 formats when just 1 should do it all.  Especially if you want to change the filename to:
-- suit your method of organization
-- add the names of the composer and performer (not in this file, but the performer who made it famous)
-- specify what-about-this-song interested you
-- correct a spelling mistake in the original filename
-- distinguish it from other files with similar names.  For example, including "piano" / "big band" --- or "easy" / "advanced"

More than the above:
While listening / having the music in the background, I want to my son or I to be able to jump over to the piano-&-laptop and see the notes being played.  Perhaps even have them on the TV, so we can glance up wherever we are and read-along.  This would improve our ability to connect sound (pitches, keys, chords...) with sheet music - it would improve our ability to both read and write sheet music.   It would even improve our ability to play songs by ear (as we better associate sounds with notes). 


It would help us to [understand / appreciate / reverse-engineer / re-create-from-the-'inside'] music.  We could at a glance see the key, the time signature, the bpm, as well as chords and notes etc. 

Have you ever heard a song on the radio or whatever and wished you were able, like Mozart in Amadeus, to instantly re-create it - or to instantly create your own variation?   More simply, have you ever wanted to know what makes this song sound the way it does?  What key is it?  What chord progression is it using?  What is that instrument I can't quite identify?

5 years ago I thought Musescore was a dream come true.   I love it - and yet it is disappointing.  Like vacuum-insulated windows, a cure for Alzheimer's, etc, I fear the day of jubilation will never come.  Paradise postponed / never.  We're almost there!  Bring it on home!  

In reply to by jonathon.neville

Equating your particular need/desire to a tantalizing pot of gold of unrealized potential for an extant product, or the revelation of what is missing to make it be the salvation of the music world, or the want of which a glaring, crippling deficiency which renders it flawed and useless .... these are, in my humble opinion, as myopic as solipsistic. "I wish it could", on the other hand, is fair, but no more than a personal feature request. Paradise, indeed.

There are copious extant and adequate jukebox technologies, and, no, you can't see the notes as they play.

Happy holidays to you; enjoy what we have.

In reply to by BSG

I enjoyed your reply - in a way - but this part does not compute:

"There are copious extant and adequate jukebox technologies, and, no, you can't see the notes as they play."

My post is all about how mp3s aren't enough, because we want to be able to see the notes as they play. Do any jukebox technologies do that?

In reply to by jonathon.neville

I thought you read what I said -- "no, you can't see the notes.". What "does not compute" other than "I want something else!"? I'm glad you enjoyed reading it.

You are also mistaken if you think that is a reliable music store in which popular songs are readily available for free. is a venue where amateur composers and arrangers post whatever they want, including their own interpretations, rip-offs, incorrect hearings of extant works, as well as occasionally reliable scores of classical works and a rare work of genius. It is a bazaar, not a store.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

So that's a no?

At first my felt reaction was "Yes! Good! Thanks!". But while I resonate with the aspirations of - and I do see it is a joint project of IMSLP and MuseScore - the stated aspirations of are far from the potential of MuseScore. See my comment on Howard's comment.

In reply to by jonathon.neville

"If this new car had a food processor and microwave oven in the back seat, families could prepare food and eat while driving! Imagine how much time could be saved, not just waiting on line in restaurants, but even sitting around the table at home just to consume food! What a shame that this new car has fallen so far from its potential? Don't you automakers realize what it could be? Don't you see the potential? Without a food processor, this car is just an advanced bicycle. How blind are you guys?"

In reply to by BSG

Note also that the OP just posted this to the web site improvements forum, where I think it is highly appropriate, and a feature I have myself wanted many times (although it is of low economic value to the site, as it makes ad clicks less, rather than more, likely).

In reply to by jonathon.neville

I was making a silly joke about valves. I can tell a true story about a responder to a classified ad selling a cornet (musical instrument) who asked that question thinking it was a car. Changes are made to MuseScore not by the vote of a committee or rulings of a potentate on submitted suggestions, but when there is enough seeming need for something and someone motivated enough (by its merit) to implement it. One person's perceived crying need or vociferous campaigning for a need that is felt by few others means little if estimations of its merit and appropriateness are not self-evident and shared.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

This is absolutely so. Many years ago, a friend of mine was selling a cornet (instrument), and got a call from someone asking "how many miles on it?" which he understood to mean "how old is it?", asked in a colorful way, and he told him, and the the potential buyer asked "How many valves?" and he said "3, like most cornets" -- and I think the potential buyer hung up, and only later did my friend realize that the caller thought it was a car.

In reply to by BSG

"If this new car had a food processor and microwave", wrote BSG.
A better analogy would be:
"If this driving-maps app could allow not just a single destination but a sequence of destinations...."

I'm not asking for something outside the realm of music playback.
MuseScore is already used for playback, and the mobile version has a mode optimized for that use.

Using the same software for both consuming and creating is not strange. It's the best way to experience music.
Hear it, then interact with it when you want to, without needing to open new software and search for files in different formats..

"Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not." - Robert Kennedy

How difficult would it be to get Musescore, upon completion of one piece of music, to open the next tab, or the next item in a list?

Similar but different: Some video editors (e.g. Magix Vegas) enable nested projects. Playing that project = playing a playlist of projects. Not to be confused with playing rendered files, this is playing editable files. Does that already exist within MuseScore? For example, open 'Opus x', which nests 3 separate MSCZ files, one for each Movement. Click play, and MuseScore plays 'Opus x, 1st Mvt', then 'Opus x, 2nd Mvt', then 'Opus x, 3rd Mvt'?

In reply to by jonathon.neville

The quote from RFK is preposterously grandiose for a proposed music software hack. It could be used to justify opening a McDonald's in St. Peter's Basilica, gluing cowboy hats on to Las Vegas pigeons (as was done in recent weeks), or launching an invasion of a foreign country.

Nested projects are very reasonable. We used to have an "album" feature. Jukebox is not, in my humble opinion.

In reply to by BSG

I agree the RFK quote is preposterously grandiose - if I intended it to refer to me. I was more wondering why people were spending a good deal of energy rejecting it before even considering how much effort it would take to implement.

Is there anything I can do to bring forward the possibility of nested projects, or to bring back the album feature?

In reply to by jonathon.neville

I think "albums" (not arbitrarily nested, but one level) are going to come back in 3.4.

I feel and others (e.g., Howard) feel that jukebox capability does not fit in with the vision, architecture, position, intent, maintainability, and describability of the application. "How easy it is" is not the only issue. The volunteer development team is not, perhaps to be too unkind, itself a jukebox.

In reply to by Howard-C

@Howard-C I think this is understating what playback is. For those of us composers who do not have orchestras and choruses at our disposal, this is all we have to allow others to hear what we have composed, for me a whole lot easier than arranging appointments to visit to hear me play the organ, as in years past.

It might be worth googling for midi players that can display notation and use playlists although this will require some work saving your scores as midi files.

Alternatively publishing the score to YouTube would allow playlists, but again manual setup work.

In reply to by yonah_ag


Publishing scores to youtube is only an option when you created the score.

Midi players that use playlists but don't display notation:
-- vanbasco karaoke player

Midi players that display notation + use playlists:
-- The free player doesn't include playlists, but you can open multiple midis in different tabs and click Ctrl-F6 to switch to the next midi. (Not terribly difficult, but I can't have music running in the background without manually clicking between each song.) Cheapest version including the playlist feature - either $59.99 or $98.99 US. I'm not sure if both of the paid versions include it.
-- - similar prices: either $59.95 or $89.95 US. I'm not sure if both of the paid versions include it.

If those companies see the value of playlists, might MuseScore too?

Those "midi players" aren't just for playback - the software includes musician versions (where the musician can change various elements) and composer versions. Not to be dramatic but I'm wondering ... if I use Notation, or MidiIllustrator, will I stop using MuseScore? I'm not suggesting the loss of me (and others with the same desires) will be a terrible loss for MuseScore. I'm just thinking if I switch to other software, I'll probably not try to straddle two programs, so ... bye bye Musescore. Maybe.

In reply to by yonah_ag

Can you make videos from scores in the pc software or only from the website?
I can't find any such option in the pc software, so can you help me understand what you mean by "you can make a video of any score that you are able to play"? When I play someone else's score on the website, there is no "Send to Youtube" option (nor any stack of three dots).

In reply to by yonah_ag

It has to be stated for the record (as it were) for those not familiar with this issue that there is a business reason why you can't simply load an arbitrary MP3 to provide the sound for a web-posted score; the web site's agreements with the music publishers does not allow them to host licensed performances (You Tube's does), and were arbitrary MP3's possible, "owned" sound would proliferate and the site would be taken down by lawyers.

In reply to by yonah_ag

That's not what I'm saying. You produced a YouTube from an MP3, and synced a score on line to it. That's exactly what's permitted. And you can upload (via the "use generated audio" checkbox) the MP3 generated by youtube for use as the backing of a score. What you cannot do (no way to do it is provided, on purpose), is cause the web site to use an MP3, not a YouTube, of your choice. If you convert an MP3 into a YouTube, and sync the score to that YouTube, that's permitted, because then YouTube bears the license responsibility, not MuseScore.

In reply to by BSG

I'm not quite following you. There was no syncing online, all work was offline until the video was ready.

What I did was:

(1) Take a screen snapshot of the MS score with each measure highlighted in turn
(2) Use MS to export audio from same score as mp3
(3) Load image snapshots and mp3 file into Windows Photo and assemble into a video
(4) Upload resulting video to YouTube.

If this is not permitted then I will remove the videos from YT.

In reply to by yonah_ag

OK, so you are not using the site in conjunction with these videos or MP3's at all. So what i said is true, but not relevant. Normally, the reason people prepare YT videos in conjunction with MuseScore is to use them as backing for scores on the site. What you did is fine. The thing that you can't do is impossible to do.

In reply to by jonathon.neville

Obviously, jukebox capability is of great importance to you (fair enough), and exotic details of which musescore is capable (e.g., figured bass, Roman chord notation, cross-staff notation and complex spacing of polyphonic scores ... have I left any hundreds of things out?) not so important. Fair enough! Bon voyage!

In reply to by yonah_ag

Thanks. That might have some merit, but it would defeat much of my purpose. For this to be useful for my kid and me, and surely for others, I want to be able to not just playback / watch / consume, but interact, without needing to stop one program, open another program, find the files in another format, open those files, then navigate to the part I want to play / analyze. Also, downloading for example 500 videos would take ___ a lot of GB.

In reply to by jonathon.neville

Amazon tells me that a thousand gigabytes (1TB) now costs $44. Is that really so much that you'd rather have products be redesigned? I have been attending concerts for a now-long life now, and although I have very often heard a chord or a riff that I was curious about. I could always wait until I got home to look up the score (I used to buy paper scores before the Internet obsoleted them). Or even when listening to a recording. I never felt that that was not soon enough. I have never, ever felt the need to stop and edit a performance or recording I was listening to (assuming I could). I've really never heard of this interaction mode with music, but maybe I'm just too old-fashioned.

In reply to by BSG

I suspect the biggest obstacle to adding any new feature to MuseScore is the availability of manpower resources in the programming team.
Based on my reads of older forum posts, another set of choke points are 1) minimizing bloat in the program 2) consideration of how applicable a new feature is to the main functionality of creating scores. I am grateful also that lately 3) improved audio reproduction has become a higher observable.
Resources are always limited, and one must be aware that talent spent on one aspect is necessarily not available for another.

In reply to by marty strasinger

We can define "bloat" as the addition of features that are not really needed. Even if there were infinite development work power available, we would not add every feature requested. There is value to saying "no, that is not a good idea, even if you think you'd like it". Development is not a jukebox, and a product not a bulletin board.

In reply to by marty strasinger

Thanks Marty & @BSG - I agree we want to avoid bloat. I like BSG's proposal of a "macro feature". How is a "macro feature" different from a plugin? ("Audio manipulation is not available to plugins.")

It's worth noting that if some users need to have not only mscz files, but also pdfs and mp3s and/or mp4s, they could consider that "bloat" - not within the software, but due to [limitations of] the software.

In reply to by jonathon.neville

A plugin is computer code in a programming language. A "macro feature" works as so: The user says, "I'm going to start doing stuff at the keyboard. Watch what I do". And you do stuff, then say, "Call that macro 'move staves', or whatever", and that sequence of actions now has a name, and you can invoke it again by name, or bind a keystroke to it. The Emacs editor and many other tools have such a feature. When written out, saved to a file, the macro looks like a sequence of keystrokes and strings, not a programming language (there is some history here...) To duplicate the macro 40 times with different sttrings requires very little skill.

In reply to by BSG

If the macro feature could be implemented like Microsoft's VBA then it would open up many possibilities, e.g. play all scores in specified folder. This would avoid having to record a macro where each file to be played has to be individually added via a file open dialogue. However, this would no doubt add a lot of bloat and comes with security implications.

In reply to by yonah_ag

I specifically mean 'recording macros'. VBA is a programming language. MuseScore already has an extension language, but, as with VBA, you must have substantial programming skill to use it. "Recording macro" is exactly what I meant.

I suppose you could, today, write a program in MuseScore plugin language that read a playlist in some format, and opened and played hundreds of scores (although I don't think it could know when one has finished playing as it is: onPlaybackComplete notifications would be a good feature) but the amount of skill required to code plugins is very substantial.

In reply to by BSG

Macros recorded in Excel end up as lines of VBA, although usually less efficiently written than hand-coded.

But even a simple recording macro capability would be useful and the saved file could be built programmatically to allow playback of all files in a folder.

Event handling would be useful, as you indicated with OnPlaybackComplete.

In reply to by yonah_ag

That's exactly what I meant. I think I invented the notion of recording macros expanding to code in 1979 (in Emacs). By onPlaybackComplete, I was referring to a proposed event in the extant event-handling architecture of the plugin language (QML); it would not be needed (or ought not be needed) in a recording-macro context.

In reply to by jonathon.neville

"Bloat" means adding excessive features and functionality to software, that is a burden to maintain and explain and document, and makes the application larger, excessive meaning "does not merit its inclusion on that basis". Everyone needs occasionally to make pdf's and mp3's. It doesn't make them if you don't ask for them. Ability to make sound and document files is essential for a score editor whose purpose is to make scores. "Bloat" does not mean "the ability to create many files". It takes some sophistication to appreciate that "not all features desirable to someone are desirable for a product."

@jonathon.neville... You have my sympathy; you made what you believed to be a perfectly reasonable suggestion, and had to endure derision and arguments based on false equivalencies. You are not asking for anything like adding a food processor to an automobile. That suggestion was ludicrous, and did not afford you the respect you deserve.

The request, as I see it, was to have MS do the things that it does for any score, but to do them in batch mode with a number of scores. You want your son to be able to see MS work its magic on a playlist. This is not at all unreasonable.

FWIW, there is a way to achieve your goal to some extent, depending on your operating system. I used to create videos of score playback in MS2 by using Game Mode on my Win10 computer. The process was somewhat tedious, and also resulted in my computer thinking that MS was a video game, but I did create some reasonable videos of playback. I don't think this solution is really what you want, but it does go some way towards being able to play back a list of scores.

I actually believe that the best solution is what you suggested - to have MS perform playback in batch mode. Kudos for an insightful suggestion!

As for those who chose willfully to misunderstand the request, it would seem that Scrooge is alive and well in 2019.

In reply to by toffle

"Bah, humbug!" I do not "misunderstand" his request, but disagree with its appropriateness or "perfectly reasonable"ness; you, obviously, do not. The difference between "misunderstand" and "disagree" is significant, please. Perhaps you "misunderstand it" :) Have a merry Christmas.

In reply to by BSG

I'd be very happy to see a "macro feature" as other editors have, where one could easily write a script that loads and plays (and closes) 5 or 500 songs of your choice as well as delete every third note or rescore 4 piano voices to SATB or whatever else you could imagine. That's where this kind of functionality belongs, not as a builtin "feature". This is where experience in the architecture of user interfaces comes in handy.

In reply to by BSG

Just because a wish for a feature is stated clearly, politely, articulately, and passionately does not make it de facto "a reasonable request", which is a value judgement to be reconciled with other factors, first and foremost, the scope and vision of the product. I see there was a great misunderstanding of my car example (of course, many vehicles, such as RV's and "stretch limos" do have such things), which was not to "ridicule" but to provide a parallel example of something incontestably useful whose natural integration with an extant system is less obvious. And as for the OP's language implying that want of this proposed feature was the difference between MuseScore being so-so and terrific, or not living up to its great potential -- enough said.

In reply to by BSG

Except that here MuseScore already happily playbacks any opened score.
What is not "perfectly reasonable" in asking MuseScore to (optionally) automatically start to playback the next opened score when several scores are opened (perhaps by a simple check box in playpanel) ?? That would do the job.

In reply to by toffle

Thanks Toffle :)

Regarding videos of score playback - yes, it could have some benefit, although I might consider that bloat. With videos it is indeed possible to "rewind", replay, pause, and even go slow-mo, so it is possible to learn to play the sheet music without stopping one program, finding the corresponding mscz file, waiting for it to open, and navigating to the position. Still, videos take a lot of space. It would be odd to require space-hogging videos when mscz files should do the trick.

Batch-mode playback, coming soon ! ? The "albums" feature, hopefully returning in 3.4, might suffice? Can you see any difference between batch-mode playback and an albums feature?

In reply to by BSG

Well, in 2.x an album at 1st is just a playlist, a list of different scores, that could be printed as one, no restriction on styles or instruments, with consecutive page numbers.
Only in a 2nd step and if having the same instruments in the same order all those scores could get combined (and subsequently edited) as one score.

In reply to by yonah_ag

That's exactly right, and use any of a thousand media players, or if you're harvesting the web site, just ask for the MP3's in the first place (but you said "I don't have 2 gig for hundreds of MP3's", so maybe you think of the score files as a space-saving convenience.)

In reply to by yonah_ag

Thanks Yonah - that batch convert ability is great. Every time I click download, I wonder whether I should be downloading mscz, pdf, musicxml, midi, or some or all of those. The answer depends on whether I'll ever be able to get a playback/reading-optimized mode (near-full screen, fit-to-screen, read-only) on my laptop using MuseScore, and whether I'll ever be able to create playlists that display the sheet music. Since I don't know the answer to those questions, I always wonder if I'm making the right choice of what to download. The batch-convert ability alleviates that. It also solves the point I mentioned about if I want to change the filename for any of the reasons I listed above, I ought only do that once, not repeatedly for each format. Henceforth I'll just download mscz's, knowing I can convert later.

Converting to mp3s however won't be the same as getting playlists of the audio from mscz files. In order for my son to use this to its potential, it needs to be painless to switch between just listening and reading.
"I'd prefer for the notes to be visually playing along with the audio, but if it's easier to implement just the audio, that would still be great." I was imagining it being possible to click a button and the sheet music, already playing, would become visible - at the current point in time. Listening to a playlist of mp3s, we would need to search for the mscz version, wait while it opens, and navigate to the part that was just playing. Navigating to for example 24:55 is not terribly hard - you don't have to try to guess what page / bar that's on/in - just open play panel, slide the position to 24:55. Still, the whole process is more cumbersome (another version of bloat?) than just clicking a button to display an mscz already playing. (Or better yet, including the visual within the playlist in the first place.)

Perhaps this feature should be requested for MS Mobile, (Android and iOS).. After all, MS Desktop is primarily for score writing and MS Mobile for score playing. It could be implemented like playlists in any MP3 player.

(Would this also be useful for musicians at a gig or session?)

In reply to by yonah_ag

Adding the feature to the mobile app or to the .com website would IMHO be a better option than the score writing program.

Some of the comments have gotten a bit sideways from the OP, but to stay on focus (and no disrespect intended) the OPs original request was to add an MP3 player function to MS; I believe this is an accurate summary/paraphrase once the extra verbiage is stripped away? When phrased like that, I personally am not in favor.

In reply to by marty strasinger

Hi Marty, I'm not the o.p. but I don't think you're right.
The o.p. wants to be able to listen to a long list of MuseScore files (without having to click on play one by one), played on screen to be able to jump on his laptop and check what the notes are whenever he hears an interesting passage that he potentially wants to learn. I don't see the link with a mp3 player at all.

In reply to by BSG

Apologies, I’m apparently not tech savvy enough to distinguish between a “conventional media player” (what is that BTW, a reference to a record player or cassette tape player? Or maybe my collection of slate 78s of Toscanini Beethoven symphonies) and an MP3 player. Maybe showing my age, but all such seem to be new-and-improved versions of what was the previous state of the art, and I tend to treat them synonymously. But again thats on me.
Is my statement then correct if one replaced “MP3 player function“ with “conventional media player function”?

In reply to by marty strasinger

@Marty no it isn't. Nothing techy in the request. Just ability to have MuseScore play all open files instead of stopping after the current one.
That would also be useful when you have a suite split in several MuseScore files and you want to hear how the pieces go well or not when played one after another. Possibly just two files by the way. You could then click a note somewhere near the end of the first file, click play to start playback from there and hear how well the second sounds to the ear when started just after the first.
There is nothing extraordinary in that request.

In reply to by marty strasinger

Hi Marty. Others can skip this - a repeat. As frfancha stated, I definitely do not want an mp3 player. I want us to be able to play our collection of mscz files in the background, and to glance up to the screen to read along - or go to our guitar or piano (with laptop on the music stand) and start learning to play what we just heard - without needing to search for the corresponding mscz file, wait for it to load, and navigate to the spot that most caught our attention. etc

In reply to by BSG

True, but the OP seems to be piano-centric. Many electronic pianos/keyboards use MIDI in their interactive learning software which often comes bundled with the purchase - e.g., play one staff while the piano plays the other, change tempo, wait for correct note, tap rhythm only).

In reply to by BSG

The interactive learning software I mention is embedded in the electronic piano/keyboard. No MIDI connection (to any outside source) is required.
Additional single instrument MIDI files (i.e., for piano) can be created and used with the learning software, if desired - to learn, for instance, a favorite song not included in the package.

In reply to by BSG

Why MIDI? Because I happen to have 1000 midi files. + Because all users can take advantage of the fact that there are midi versions of many songs that aren't in Musescore. + Because even if the tones aren't great, hearing a midi file helps me know if I'm playing it right (timing). + Because it lets me compare different arrangements before I commit to learning one instead of another (if I use that midi as sheet music). If batch-convert can convert from MIDI to MuseScore, I have no need for MIDI.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Please forget that idea of midi file. It comes from one of the first solution proposed to the O.P. : export midi from all scores and play a list of midi files.
But that's not applicable here. As can be read in the very first answer of this thread by the O.P. (just do search on this page 'midi' to find the first post where midi is mentioned)

In reply to by frfancha

MIDI files would not be a bad solution if compactness of storage space was at a premium and an outboard midi player could be "loaded" with MS's soundfont (maybe it can). Although, of course, that doesn't give him the visuals he wants, and also, many scores on MS (including 40 or so of my own) are backed with sound sources other than the MS synthesizer (i.e., YouTubes), which would fail here. Also, MS synthesizer settings would be lost (but I have yet to adjust one).

You wrote:
While listening / having the music in the background, I want to my son or I to be able to jump over to the piano-&-laptop and see the notes being played.

There exists software like synthesia which, during playback, highlights the notes on the piano keyboard in real time - as a moving piano roll:


There is an entertainment factor at play here, as one watches the successive notes 'activate'.

Additionally, the music notation can be displayed during playback:


Synthesia is no longer free, however the last open-source release version 0.6.1b is still available for download.
Perhaps it can even store a playlist.

In reply to by yonah_ag

You wrote:
Synthesis (sic) looks good but is MIDI based which was rejected as a solution earlier in this thread.

Actually, the OP wrote:
"Neither midis nor Mp3s are the answer - unless a midi-playlist could also display the music as sheet music."
(I realize it's hard to hit a changing target...)

For piano-centric music, synthesia's MIDI could be viable. Some apps do a better job of MIDI import than others. As I wrote:
There exists software like synthesia…

Which I found on this Openscore project page (referred to earlier regarding the "tremendous power of MuseScore" - i.e., the very backbone of Openscore):
Part of it says:
"Youngsters these days are looking for instant gratification. Music learning games can provide this satisfaction. OpenScore turns paper sheet music into digital scores in various formats like MIDI and MusicXML, which can be loaded into music games. Check for example the alternative way to learn to play a song through Synthesia."

I am aware of MIDI's advantages in some cases and shortcomings in others. I also realize that some software is the right tool for the job. Maybe one based on MUSICXML instead of MIDI already exists.
Perhaps someday a 'new synthesia' will come into existence based on .MSCZ.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Thanks. Although Synthesia is pretty, I think it's a terrible way to learn to play music - but (!!!) I didn't know Synthesia can display sheet music. That might do the trick. I guess I could convert all my mscz's to midi.
Any shortcomings?
1. The sound quality would sometimes be worse, if Synthesia used inferior/generic soundfonts
2. The sounds would be completely wrong if the composer / transcriber had used some of the MuseScore features mentioned by BSG
3. The sheet music would be less detailed, if the composer included advanced details
4. There would be no display of lyrics. (I'm guessing about that.)
5. It's limited to single-instruments. Not just piano. Non-piano players could ignore the piano display and just read the sheet music.
It would be better than nothing.

I like the thought of a new synthesia based on mscz.
I believe MuseScore is a great foundation for music-learning games.

In reply to by jonathon.neville

I have never understood any of these "learn music by seeing how it plays the actual keyboard keys!" (or stripes or other nontraditional visualization) methods. Sounds highly wishful and hypothetical. Has anyone here actually been, or known anyone, to whom these outré visualizations helped them learn, or teach music? In the old days, when we had enough time to sit on a sofa with a paper score while listening to recordings you paid money for, I learned a very great deal about what the music I loved looked like, and how it worked, in that way, but nobody does that any more.

In reply to by BSG

+1. Although throughout history there have been individuals who learned their music craft in non-traditional ways, for most of us (myself included!) formal instruction with a human teacher (followed by hours of practice) is the only proven way. Everyone seems to be looking for a short cut these days. I have no doubt that technology has helped to drive some improvements (such as using MS instead of pencil & paper at a keyboard), but this only demonstrates that there are ways of using time more effectively, it doesn't replace the need to study and practice.

In reply to by BSG

I have never understood any of these "learn music by seeing how it plays the actual keyboard keys!"

The entrepreneur Tim Jenison (of Tim's Vermeer) taught himself to play by slowing down Fats Waller piano rolls on his player piano.
As a kid, I learned "Chopsticks" by following how someone played the actual keyboard keys. Of course, this was before the modern computer 'visualizations' came about.

Also, if you think about it, guitar tablature is a way of learning music by seeing the actual string/fret - a kind of visualization.

Some people put note names onto notation. Others use colored notes, even staves.

Variety in teaching/learning methods should not be discouraged. The sooner a beginner starts to 'have fun' playing music, the concomitant pedagogy and formalism is easier to tolerate, and even 'practicing' becomes less of a 'chore'.

But... (sigh)... the 'old days'...
The cover of one of my first primers showed a photo of a young student learning banjo (no paper score, no visualizations at all):



In reply to by BSG

Those outré visualizations do not portend anything other than the next key press - i.e., to learn to 'play' music.
Music 'theory' is something completely different - on a different intellectual plane. Most people using synthesia type (teaching/learning) apps are not concerned about theory/analysis.
Sparkly piano key animations can not impart that level of understanding.

Notation, though, does have an upper hand here, but requires either years of empirical observation of the musical dots on the musical page (including listening) to finally "see" what happens structurally/harmonically; or, it requires an instructor to hasten one's theoretical journey by explaining concepts in a more timely fashion.

In reply to by Jm6stringer


BSG and OP agreed that MIDI wasn't up to the job so I took this as a rejection but I agree that it is hard to hit a moving target and this thread has moved all over the place.

BSG: "No midi player can display accurate notation. Critical notation details are lost in the production of midi. Midi is not intended for accurate transmittal of scores."

OP posted: "And: What BSG said. (~ Midi notation is not detailed / subtle.)"

Summary of possibilities:
1. Album feature, possibly being resurrected in MuseScore 3.4. BSG says there will be some constraints. Jo-Jo says he does have a use for 400 scores in a set / playlist / album.
1b. Nested projects - as used by some video editors. "Albums" mostly covers this idea. If you want to playback Bach's Goldberg Variations followed by Pink Floyd's The Wall (, you would need to add each score from each set, but in my imagination that will be okay. If the nesting could go another level deep, you could create a playlist of albums / playlists, just adding the "Goldberg Variations" and "The Wall", not each score.
2. Synthesia WITH sheet music display. Uses MIDI - inferior audio, inferior display of sheet music. Better than nothing. Wait - did the Synthesia idea include playlists?
3. playback in batch mode. (I don't know how this general would manifest)
4. macros - using 3rd party software? emacs? Although I used macros when I created a database in Lotus Approach 20 years ago, I can't imagine how macros could be used to create a playlist. BSG and others know.
5. asking MuseScore to (optionally) automatically start playback of the next opened score when several scores are opened (perhaps by a simple check box in playpanel), with all the open scores listed and sortable in a dialog box.

Did I miss anything?
Does this list duplicate anything? (Should some be merged with others, because despite the different words, it's the same idea?)

Where? Desktop or Mobile?
Some suggested a playlist possibility be implemented for the mobile app, not the desktop software. I understand much MuseScore development has gone into seeing the desktop version as the version for composing and the mobile version as the version for playback/read-along/play-along. I don't want to upset all that - but:
1. some of the magic of MuseScore is how it can eliminate distance between consuming and creating. It grows creative ability. An echo from above: "Using the same software for both consuming and creating is not strange. It's the best way to experience music. Hear it, then interact with it when you want to, without needing to open new software and search for files in different formats."
2. A lot of people don't have tablets. MuseScore is too small on my phone - and I think too small on many tablets. I hope a solution comes that can be used on laptops.

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