Our Progress on MuseScore 4 - First Alpha Released

• Mar 30, 2022 - 17:00

Today, we are releasing the first 'Private' alpha development build for MuseScore 4.

MS4.jpg


Please note, we are not intending to expose this first alpha to a very large audience and you will need GitHub account in order to download them.


What is the purpose of this release?

Although this version is not yet 100% feature complete (details below), its purpose is to begin collecting feedback on the 'core' workflow.

  • Creating new scores
  • Opening older scores and going through the migration process
  • Notating your music
  • Hearing your music being played back
  • Choosing VST instruments and effects
  • Creating and polishing parts
  • Exporting your parts as PDFs
  • Editing the interface and saving your workspaces
  • Using MIDI keyboard interfaces

If you encounter any issues, such as crashes or obvious bugs, please log them here: https://github.com/musescore/MuseScore/issues


Next Steps

When all major issues have been resolved (see the list below), the next step is to release the 'public' alpha version.

After that, we will enter into the beta testing phase once the following work is complete:

  • The new installation process is complete
  • The new orchestral library plugin is ready
  • Uploads to MuseScore.com are working
  • The plugins we wish to package with MS4 are working

What's new? What has been improved?

Numerous engraving improvements

  • Horizontal spacing (with more improvements to come before the beta release)
  • Slurs and ties
  • Beaming
  • A new, heavily revised version of Leland and Leland text
  • A large number of MusicXML import improvements
  • System objects can appear on more than one system (although this is currently only available on certain templates)

For a more comprehensive explanation of the engraving changes in MS4, please see this document.
https://musescore.org/en/node/330793

Multiple workflow improvements
- The Properties panel (formerly the inspector) is now much more responsive and filled with lots of useful options
- The capabilities of the note input bar have been expanded and the toolbar itself is now much easier to customise
- Parts are easier to discover, edit and alter (using the new 'Instruments' panel)
- There is a new Mixer that can quickly be toggled on & off
- VST instruments and effects support

Accessibility improvements
- A new keyboard navigation system that follows best practices to allow users to quickly move around the interface
- Improved screen reader support ( we would greatly appreciate it if people would test this and provide feedback on it)
- An editable high contrast mode

Also
- A new UI with an entirely new icon set, in case you didn't notice!
- A new 'Home' tab which will include multiple tutorials and onboarding videos for MS4
- A new, friendlier onboarding process


Known missing capabilities and issues

  • The default playback may still have some sound mapping issues, where instruments are using incorrect sounds. Please log any issues you discover.

  • There will still be some playback issues, where certain articulations or playback techniques do not sound right. Our aim is to get the default playback to the same level as MuseScore 3 before creating the 'public' alpha release.

  • The final audio mixing of instruments has not yet been attempted. This is because we are about to start plugging in the new orchestral sampler and do not want to set relative global mixing values until it is ready. This will allow us to balance all three potential inputs at the same time: soundfonts, VSTi and the new orchestral library. For this reason, please refrain from logging issues related to dynamic imbalances

  • We have not yet implemented the new playback profiles interface, which allows users to specify their desired default playback. This will be in the public alpha release

  • There are still some issues with VSTi's not being sent velocity and dynamic information. Please log any VST or VSTi issues you encounter on GitHub

  • The ability to export audio files is currently switched off until we complete our playback tasks for the Public alpha release

  • We have not yet implemented the onscreen piano interface. This will be in the Public Alpha build

  • There are still some remaining engraving PRs to be merged. In particular, beams cannot be manually adjusted and cross-staff beams are currently not working. Apart from those, please log all other engraving issues you encounter.

  • Uploads to MuseScore.com will not yet work

  • Users cannot yet specify another soundfont, like Sonatina

  • There will likely be MIDI input issues. Please log anything you find

  • MIDI output from MuseScore 4 is not yet working. Please do not log these issues yet

  • We have also not yet included the plugins that we intend to package with MuseScore 4 (example: harp pedalling). As a result, our current 'Plugins' page doesn't do anything.

  • We do not yet have branding, MS4 icons or a loading screen. These are being worked on right now.


We hope you have fun trying out this first alpha version! We are in the middle of creating a new MS4 handbook and numerous tutorial videos, which will help users (old and new) understand what changes have been made and why. Unfortunately, these are not ready yet, so to a certain extent, your experience of this alpha will be somewhat a voyage of discovery!

Yours,
The MuseScore Team


Comments

Awesome! Can you imagine how exhausting it is to load the MuseScore forums several times per day in a thrill of anticipation for the first alpha release, since last October? No? Well, then just imagine my satisfaction putting the first comment here.

In reply to by famecastle

I would like to connect to your statement. I am also so excited and browse the forum and Musescore websites on average 2-3 times a week. I see how much great job the Musesore Team did and I have my fingers crossed and can't wait :)

All good for Musescore Team :)
Marcin from Poland

How safe is it to edit scores in the alpha? I understand there is some risk since it is still not released, but should I expect any score I edit and save to become corrupted and 100% have a backup or is it decently "safe enough"?

In reply to by dgcampbe

This is called a "private" alpha (not yet beta) build. You will need a GitHub account in order to download.
Common sense dictates that it is not ready for prime time. Use at your own risk. (My personal take is to not use for important work and that having a 100% backup should be a no brainer. I could be wrong, but better safe than sorry.)
See:
https://musescore.org/en/handbook/developers-handbook/comparison-stable…

In reply to by dgcampbe

This is not meant to be used for your regular scoring work. It is an early alpha and most certainly not ready yet :)

However, if you create a copy of your score and open it in MuseScore 4, we'd be very interested in hearing about your experiences.

Thanks for your efforts. I'm still use the latest nightlies from time to time. But what is the best place for an user to report it, when I notice something?
Here: As far I can see the system text properties (for system text in general, swing and maybe other system text items too) are only reachable via right click.
With MuseScore 3.6.2 there was a button at least available inside the inspector (maybe also not the best solution, but better than using right click actions?)

In reply to by Tantacrul

Yep, I'm noticed it by playing around with the swing element. Here I think it should be easily accessible to change the swing settings.
I'm not sure about other system elements, if it would be necessary to take adjustments in the properties dialogue (pizz., arco, if you add a general system text item and so on).
Also that there are also more adjustments in system text properties for some system elements with MuseScore 3.6.2 ("Change channel", "MIDI actions", "Swing settings", "Capo settings"), but not with the development version of MuseScore 4.
But as mentioned in which cases beside swing these dialogue settings could be necessary.

How does one use a VSTi on Linux? I can't see anywhere in Preferences to configure a search path, and nothing's showing up in the Mixer.

Also, I'm not really a fan of the overflow menu on panels; there's plenty of space, and it's really clunky trying to close a panel, particularly with #10219 unfixed.

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Getting an unrecognized app warning from windows when trying to install. I assume you haven't code signed the executable yet?

Thanks @jeetee for the help (seems Vital was the issue, other VSTi's worked fine; I'll investigate further). It might be an idea to tell the user about the VST3-only thing in the UI (are there plans for VST2?), as that wasn't intuitive at all.

Two questions:
1. How do I open the VST UI? One would assume that you can click the button next to the dropdown in the mixer, but that doesn't do anything.
2. When using the "MuseScore_General" soundfont, how do you change the sound without replacing the actual instrument, as you can in MU3?

Some feedback (editing this as I play around with it):
- Mixer panel can't be docked to the right - why not? It's vertical and the best spot to put it with limited vertical space.
- The "black flash" issue (#10218) is still reproducible and is getting really annoying.
- "Close" & "Dock" on panels is one extra click, but really adds up over time. Keyboard shortcuts would be good here.
- Selecting a measure doesn't start playback from the start of that measure?
- In the file picker, the enter key is passed through to the score, and doesn't interact with the picker at all.
- I use velocity controls a lot, and am finding that hiding them under the "Playback" is really slowing me down - could there be an option to "flatten" the palette, or even just move "Playback" and "Appearance" to disclosure indicators.
- The "inertia" scrolling is really bad on Linux (#10085). I know this can't be fixed until 4.1 - but it's not nice at all; this could be the deal-breaker for me.
- Semicolons in the keyboard shortcuts could be slightly confusing for new users.

  • It would be nice if you could support pinch-to-zoom on Wayland.

I'll open GitHub issues for these at some point (do you take feature requests like pinch-to-zoom on GitHub?).

In reply to by Tantacrul

I can see the tempo value referenced but apparently there hasn't yet been implemented a way to change it from a slider or something like that.
"You can look but you can't touch."
In MS3, the tempo slider is a bit buggy, a regression from all the way back in 1.x. If you change the tempo when a segment is repeated the second time by the repeat sign and after the repeat, the changes get overly radical and jumpy. https://musescore.org/en/node/313807

I have a suggestion: when the "Score" tab is opened without a score loaded, everything is greyed out and it is quite hard to know what to do next, could there be a big button button to open or create new score?

Or at least have a blank score already opened as MS3 did.

Snímek obrazovky 2022-04-03 v 3.48.11.jpg

The new ui is beautiful! Can't wait to use it regularly :-)

Hey guys im not sure where to post this but please please please add a guitar fretboard note impout like the piano note imput that shows the notes slected on the guitar! also a huge problem is in guitar the same notes can be played in diferent strings and sometimes this guitar fretboards wont adjsut to the voicing on diferent strings

I have a playback issue. But on the Github issue page it's hard to tell if it has already been reported. Playback on my Windows 10 using the Alfa and/or every nightly I've tried, sounds like I'm listening through fan blades. Choppy and gargle like. Hard to describe.

This is my first time using Musescore 4. I am stumbling over the new Properties window.

Firstly I don't really understand the Playback and Appareance sub-windows in the Properties window. They are floating windows behind buttons, rather than tabs. This setup puts some things I use all the time (like note velocity adjustment, crucial if you want playback to sound nice) behind a click but it puts properties I never use (e.g. notehead group) in full view. It's also hard to understand the inconsistency; why are some properties behind buttons and others in collapsible tabs; why have there got to be two different ways to hide advanced settings from the overview?

Then there's the General tab with a weirdly broad scope. E.g. for visibility; when I select a notehead, the visibility checkbox affects the whole chord, including both articulation marks and grace notes, but not the grace note beaming or the slur from grace note to chord.
visibility.png
I gather that those are bugs and the General tab is meant to affect all of those things. But when I want to make invisible only what I have selected, that being the notehead in this case, I need to use Hide notehead under the Note tab. The problem is that that's an element-type-specific setting; which means I cannot select elements of different types (e.g. a few noteheads and a few beams) and make them all invisible with one click or even a press of the V. When I want to make stuff invisible, I must actively think of what kinds of things I am selecting.

Also this setup does not allow me to disable playback for specific notes of a chord, that setting is only available chord-wide (or I would have to make the velocity zero; which I assume will end up with zero-velocity notes in the MIDI output rather than no notes).

If there needs to be a tab for settings of a broader scope than what I have selected, name that one Chord. A tab for settings that are available for elements of many type, such as playback and visibility, is more logically named General.

Great news!

NorFonts designer here, will MusScore4 allow using 3rd party SMuFL fonts? I got several emails from your users who want to use my NorFonts. (https://norfonts.ma/)

Thanks and keep up the good work!

—Nor Eddine Bahha

So pumped! Cannot wait for this transformation of MuseScore. Been using MuseScore since 2019 and have been absolutely loving it! The quality this program offers for being open source is incredible! Thanks for keeping this free and supporting the community as much as you can. Will log any issues I find.

Why is it that I can't open any version of MuseScore on my MacOS Montery 12.2 including this one? I have tried MS3 and this alpha version of MS4 and they both do not work.

In reply to by m_chads

It's hard to say without more information, so I recommend asking for help in the official Support forum and including more info - how you are trying to open it, and what specifically goes wrong when you try. Doing so in a new post in the Support forum rather than here will allow your post to seen by tons more people, one of whom might recognize the symptom and be able to provide a solution.

In reply to by m_chads

A very small number of users have experienced issues with MuseScore 3.6.x after upgrading Intel Macs to MacOS 12. I have not experienced the issue myself. However I have created #327408: MuseScore 3.6.2 on macOS 12 Monterey startup hang on 'Initializing sequencer and audio driver...' with forum posts linked to it. It is very light on detail and the threads seem to go quiet (for one user it auto-resolved, the other downgraded to MacOS 11).

Especially since you are experiencing the issue on 4.0 Alpha as well, I would strongly recommend you start a new thread in the Support and bug reports forum. The fact that it doesn’t work on 3.x and 4.0 Alpha should be cause for concern for the small number of affected users. It seems that users hope the developers will fix the bug (which they can’t for 4.0 since it is not reproduceable yet) or hope that version 4.0 will work for them (which it may now seem not to be the case). We as a community can also not assist in troubleshooting and fixing (the fix may be a config / setting rather than code) without more information.

In reply to by domantasmilev1

Can you be more specific? It's essentially the same default soundfont as 3.6.2, and as far as I can tell, the accordion in particular sounds identical. If you have a specific score where you hear a difference between 3.6.2 and a MuseScore 4 build, best to start a new thread in the Development forum and attach it so people can investigate further.

Regarding default playback issues, all instruments in the woodwind quintet are sounding an octave higher than what is written (Ex: C4 sounding a C5), and at least for oboe and flute the range is off by one octave, which I assume is because of the playback error.

In reply to by Miguel Vicente…

This feature will reappear in one of the next releases. We fully intended to support it in 4.0 until we discovered that it was written in a way for MS3 that could not be ported to MS4. It will require a complete rebuild. We made the call that we should not delay the release to re-implement this feature and should do it instead in a minor release quite soon. Apologies about this.

In reply to by fiddeou

I feel your sadness. Please see [MU4 Issue] nightly does not run on macOS 10.13 #8858

As per that issue, I cannot see any reason why 10.13 should not work, and the original logic that made us code in this restriction no longer applies, IMHO, since MuseScore 4.0 (at least, we cannot speak for MuseScore 4.1 yet) is and will be based on Qt 5.15.

As soon as that coded restriction is removed, 10.13 will work, whether it is nightly, subsequent alphas, betas or GA.

In reply to by Floris_V3

Or, possibly dosdude1's patcher for Catalina? Not sure if this is helpful, but for those unsupported Macs (2011 and before) there is a solution to upgrade to at least 10.15 (Catalina). I have installed this version by dosdude1 on an iMac 2009, a 2010 MB Pro and a 2011 MB Pro and they all run flawlessly, even with only 4gig RAM. I will not create a direct link here because my browser warns me it is not a secure site, but this version - with comprehensive instructions - can be found at dosdude1 dot com forward-slash catalina.

I am currently on Windows 10 and for some reason, Musescore 4 is refusing to open no matter what I do. Is this something that people have experienced at all?

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

I think this is one thing about MuseScore that I find thoroughly epic: a software this sophisticated, this versatile... completely no cost to the end user. For this reason alone I will continue my support of the team with my paltry membership dues. I was considering Dorico only for it's NotePerformer capability, but I see MuseScore so much easier to use it doesn't sort-of make sense: besides, because of Reaper I've acquired a significant (well, low-end-ish) instrument library, much of which I can implement with MS 4. Never a day goes by I don't open MS 3.62 to fiddle a bit with pieces I'm working on, always with a feeling of gratitude.

Thanks a lot ! Looking forward to Muse 4 !!
Requests:

1) Text like "staccato", "ord", "legato" with the possibility of midi commands, like sending keyswitches, and with a adjust for sending the keyswitching (or CC information) some milliseconds before the note, to change the samples.

https://musescore.org/en/node/304056

It´s a game changer for people that use VSTs with different sounds

2) Custom VST folders (and support for legacy VST 1 and 2) and a bridge for 32bits VSTs.

3) Sequencer with quantize and transport commands ( something like the sequencer of Sonar / Bandlab would be nice ).

Necessary commands for a decent sequencer, with live operation:

a) Record "R"
b) rewind one bar
c) forward one bar
d) select things by keyboard
d.1) keystroke to mark a initial selection
d.2) keystroke to mark an end selection
e) keystroke for quantize dialog with quantize options selection via keyboard (qaurter, quarter triplet, eight, eight triplet, 16th, 16th triplet, etc, with optional custom timebase quantize)
f) Tracks / TImeline interface alternating to notation interface

4) Multiple virtual ports (midi loopback , midi yoke) form more than 16 channels

This issue is very important to mock up larger scores using alternatives to the internal synth sounds. People that use sound libraries and bigger projects (including Big bands) may lack the possibility to use more than one port at the same time to use more than 16 midi channels at the same time.

Best !

In reply to by herrleinmus

As to virtual ports, I have the impression from looking at the alpha that every staff is meant to connect to its own instance of a VSTi - that is, every staff is a virtual port. This seems unusual enough to make me suppose that either I’ve missed something, or it’s just a matter of the UI being incomplete, but whatever else you can say it solves the shortage of MIDI channels.

Looks like the playback system is being overhauled. I can't make any sound with MIDI keyboard right now, so I wonder if it will be possible to use sustain pedal in real time (not when "recording") in MS4.

It's a long-wanted feature for me in MS; e.g. if I'm feeling creative and want to experiment something with MIDI keyboard, then, BUMMER! NO PEDAL! Then my creativity is replaced by frustration.

In reply to by Gabriel Araújo 9

This is currently being worked on. Note that an MSCZ file is just a ZIP archive, so even if there is no direct MSCX support, you can still edit the MSCX within the MSCZ archive same as always.

Also, if there is a bug where you are needing to resort to MSCX editing, that indicates a problem that's definitely more important to solve than providing the MSCX file in the first place. So be sure there is actual issue report in the tracker for anything where you are resorting to this. The gliss thickness is already logged, but if you know of others, definitely be sure to let people know.

In reply to by TheWakeupGuy

Not speaking officially, but more wanting to share a perspective on FOSS - which Musescore is: have a look at the github page:

https://github.com/musescore/MuseScore

Unlike corporate-managed (proprietary) software, timelines aren't as important as stable, reliable software, particularly to us FOSS end users. We're talking chalk and cheese: vaguely similar but the philosophy that drives development completely different. So, in the light of that, without wanting to be flippant about it, my answer would be: when it's ready. The software is in Private-Alpha. When developers deem it appropriate, it will go to Public-Alpha.

In the meantime, we have 3.62... and the excitement for MS 4 continues to build. I realise this isn't much of an answer but hopefully it generally aligns with the consensus of all involved with its development.

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