MuseScore does not respect chosen audio output on MacOS

• Mar 7, 2021 - 19:49
Reported version
Ergonomical (UX)
S3 - Major

Expected behavior:

Audio generated by MuseScore should be sent to whatever audio output device is selected in the Sound output preferences dialog.

Observed behavior:

Audio generated by MuseScore appears to very strongly prefer to be sent to the MacBook laptop speakers, regardless of which output device is chosen in the sound output preferences.

I have, once, been able to somehow get MuseScore to play audio through my USB headphones. I'm not sure how. It has not happened since, and I've repeated the steps below several times. Each time since, the output from MuseScore plays out of my laptop speakers.

Steps to reproduce:
1) Open MuseScore on a MacOS platform.
2) Plug in a pair of headphones. Confirm that other audio-playing tasks (YouTube music videos, in my case) play through the headphones.
3) Bring focus to MuseScore, and play a song. Observe the audio coming from the built-in laptop speakers.
4) Open Sound preferences, switch output to MacBook Pro speakers.
5) Observe that now YouTube plays through laptop speakers. MuseScore audio continues to play through MacBook speakers.
6) Switch audio back to USB earphones.
7) Observe that YouTube video now plays through headphones. MuseScore audio continues to play through Macbook laptop speakers.

A note on "severity" value here
I've chosen "Major" because I don't want to force those around me to listen to my fiddling with a score. My wife doesn't want to hear me tweaking things endlessly, and I don't feel I can use the product when I can't direct where the sound goes. Obviously you are free to triage this bug into whatever severity you like, but if I can't control the output this will significantly restrict the time periods during which I can use this product - or even if I use it at all.

Attachment Size
Northwest_Passage.mscz 18.55 KB


Status active duplicate

You should be able to send to whatever device you want. If your OS is not notifying MuseScore of the change, simply select the desired device in Edit / Preferences / I/O if it wasn't the default when you started MuseScore. Depending on the specifics of your system you might also need to press Restart Audio and MIDI Devices. Ideally, MuseScore would always detect device changes automatically, but currently on some systems it doesn't.

If you have further questions about how to use MuseScore, please use the Support forum to ask for help.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I think I have a bit more information about this issue, having spent another 24 hours with it (I just installed the software on Saturday, so I'm at the beginning of the learning curve with it).

The good news: Restarting MuseScore causes the audio to start respecting the OS selection.

The bad news: it seems that going to sleep and waking up may intersect with this behavior.

Immediately after filing this bug report, I quit and re-started MuseScore - and the audio started playing out of my USB headphones. That worked for the rest of my session yesterday.

This morning, I sat down at my laptop, woke it up from sleep (which encounters the lock screen). When I get back into MuseScore, however, the audio is again playing out of the laptop speakers (despite other audio going through the headphones). Again, restarting MuseScore entirely causes its audio to start going through the headphones.

I hope this helps provide some additional constraints on the problem I'm describing.

When I get into this state again, I'll try looking at the I/O device (not under the Edit menu on a Mac, btw). I'm curious, though, that there isn't an option on this dropdown to "use whatever the OS is using"? I see actual devices in that dropdown, and nothing to just go along with the OS. Given that the OS is capable of detecting and automatically switching to new devices, I'm a bit surprised that MuseScore wouldn't leverage that ability - instead asking the user to treat MuseScore specially/differently.

Yes restarting MuseScore or Restarting Audio and MIDI devcices via either the preferences menu or by toggling the MIDI button in the toolbar is indeed know to fix this problem

Since using Catalina I also have this issue. No matter what Audio output port I select, MuseScore sends output to the MacBook's built-in output. All I want to do is stop the audio output. I can select Jack in the I/O prefs to stop audio output, but then I also lose MIDI input, which I need. Opening the mixer to turn down the main volume for every instrument every time I open a score is definitely not an acceptable workaround. I hope this will be fixed.


I'm just going to point out that using macOS Monterey (12.1) and MuseScore version (64-bit):, revision: 3224f34 still has this bug.

And it doesn't matter how many times I restart the MuseScore application, Restart Audio and MIDI Devices, or change the selection in the Output dropdown, I cannot get the audio coming to my ear buds or even to the external speakers; they only use the lousy internal speakers. And in fact, even the Mac's volume controls have no effect, so I cannot control the volume level. So I basically can't hear it at all, and I'm crippled by not being able to hear my scores.

I will add that it was working a few minutes ago, and I don't know why it stopped it working.

And this has been an ongoing issue in one way or another for a couple years now, at least.

In reply to by tedcragg

Plug the speaker/headphones before starting the app. That should work. If you start the app and plug/connect your audio device after connecting (example: aux, headphone, monitors...) the sound keeps coming from the the Mac speakers. It drives me insane when that happens. I just googled and found this message, then, remembered about this glitch or whatever it is.