Scores for the Web

• Jan 13, 2021 - 09:04

As Musescore 4 is still in early stage and active development, I thought it would be a good time to talk about something that as been bothering me for some time while using the amazing software that is Musescore.

100% of the time, when I create and export a score, it's for the Web. I want to include scores on my website, or create a dynamic video, or study scores on, etc.

However, I feel Musescore is actually mainly targetting paper. Setting the page size requires me to set units in milimeters or inches, which does not really make sense for the web.

As it is, let's say I want to export a score in svg with exact dimensions set in pixels, it is quite cumbersome to do, and requires me to perform complex computations by taking the dpi setting into account.

Also, Musescore automatically splits scores into pages which, again, is not necessarily wanted for short scores for a web usage.

This paper focused mindset is even plaguing, which provides all scores in a standard paper size and makes it difficult to use on small mobile screens.

For my own website, I devised a system where each score is exported using different page sizes, then I use html5 picture and srcset tags so the best score size is displayed depending on the user's screen size. Again, I was able to make it semi-automatic, but impractical for the average user.

I feel like it makes sense to think that scores will not be printed so much and be more and more shared on the web, and so it would be useful for users to configure scores more easily using units and tools that make sense for the web medium.

Is this something the core team is considering? I would love to here your thoughts on this. Thank you for reading.


I produce a lot of practice scores for a church choir, and the members only ever see the score on the web (they almost never print it). For this purpose, I just use Format > Page Settings...> Page Size > Landscape.

Given the variety of devices and screen formats people use to view scores (on desktop, tablet, phone), for me that A4 Landscape setting still seems the simplest solution. For an SATB choir (+organ) with a separate staff for each voice, that usually means only one system per page.

I don't see much appetite for the really detailed control of formatting which you are describing. I happen to use HTML to format my own web pages with embedded practice scores, but once I developed a template page it was easier to just copy-and-paste the HTML template for each new case. I have not found the need to tailor each page "so the best score size is displayed depending on the user's screen size", as you propose.

In reply to by DanielR

So you're lucky with a 'techie' choir. In our's I'm still, after many, many years, the only one using a tablet during rehearsal and 'gig', the rest uses printouts :-/.
Only on some very rare occasions (new score, no printer nearby) some of them may resort to using their phone (on a PDF sent via WhatApp).
And all that regardless that quite a few do have a tablet...

I still prefer A4 portait though.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

"So you're lucky with a 'techie' choir..."
Erm, not really. We still use battered old paper copies for practice and performance in church, and the online version is for those who want/need to learn their part at home. And one man in the choir chooses to have neither computer nor internet at home! We are still a bit rural...

And I do agree that A4 portrait is much easier to sing from!

In general, I would say this has been the direction things are moving, slowly but surely. It was one of the main reasons Automatic Placement was developed for MuseScore 3 - so that score elements could be positioned well by default even as "page" layout changes, specifically for the benefit of people reading on tablets. Not sure what you mean about unless maybe you mean trying to view the score using web browser, which does indeed show the score "as is". But the mobile apps are specifically designed to do this sort of reflowing. How well they do it is another matter, but that's also being worked on.

In reply to by DanielR

Indeed. But they do more thn playback, they also display the score, and they do it specifically in the ways being discussed here - automatically reflowing the music to fit the selected font size and screen dimensions/orientation.

However, my understanding is that they do this using a kind of proprietary scheme that is different from the automatic placement facility built into MuseScore 3, because that work actually predated the release of MuseScore 3., To be honest, I'm not really up on the latest with the mobile apps at all. But I do know this was an important goal of automatic placement and many of the other improvements made in MuseScore over the past few years.

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