score display

• Oct 2, 2023 - 00:53

When I open two scores, they appear on top of each other -- not side by side. To get to the first score (on the bottom) I have to close the second score (on top). It's not possible to display the scores side by side as in earlier versions of the software. Please advise


Not really. You have to do it on an OS level. even then it isn't as good. But you don't have to close the top score. Just minimize it.

Sorry to be blunt, but what the development team has done here looks like the work or a 17-year-old novice programmer. Putting each newly opened score in the Dock is COMPLETELY CONTRARY to Macos UI guidelines. No other program in the universe does this - as far as I know. It makes Musescore look amateurish. (It never occurred to me to look at the Dock for a score -- nor, I imagine, did it to any other veteran Musescore user.) Looking at the new version of a score and an earlier version side by side is a frequent step in composition work. True you can now open the scores in two separate windows, but that is awkward compared to having two tabs in a single window. And what if you want to open three or four versions of a score? In short, this new design is a patent mistake. Please fix it. (Jon - retired now, 15 + years at Apple doing product development and business development.)


Preface: I am a big fan of MuseScore. I have used it for years and am generally satisfied with its design and performance. Many thanks to the MuseScore development team for their devoted efforts to maintain the product and evolve it into the future.

Here are some thoughts about the current UI (on a Mac).

Scenario A - open two scores from the Finder

— make sure MuseScore is shut down.
— open a .mscz file from the Finder. Musescore launches and displays the score in a window
— open another .mscz file from the Finder. The second score completely covers the first score. (Both scores are 1 page). At the same time, a new Musescore icon appears in the Dock
— click this Dock icon and a new window appears displaying the FIRST score. The second score remains in the first window.

As you know, this UI is opaque and confusing.

Scenario B - open the first score from the Finder and the second using the Open command in Musescore
— Same results as Scenario A

Scenario C - Open Musescore and then open two scores
— Same results as Scenario A

Possible short-term fix (on a Mac) for all three scenarios: WHEN the user opens a score from the Finder or from the Open command, display score is a new window. FORGET about the dock.

In the long term, I hope that tabs can make a return appearance. They are simple, intuitive, and useful.


Opening a score is a basic operation for the app. In fact I don’t know how you could get any more basic. The current UI for this operation is a catastrophe. How did this happen? My guess is that you (collectively) made a fundamental design change without doing any usability testing.

Good usability testing can prevent you from driving yourself into a ditch. The good news is that you can conduct effective testing for low or no cost, that it doesn’t take much time, and that you can save yourself from a lot of unnecessary grief and extra work.

You can test the UI before you write a line of code. See “Paper Prototyping” on YouTube and “Paper Prototyping: The Fast and Easy Way to Design and Refine User Interfaces” on Amazon. And you can continue to test the UI as you implement your design. (BTW testing is a great way of resolving design disagreements.)

I strongly urge you to get a good usability engineer into the Musescore fold ASAP.

Hope this helps. Thanks again for all your good work.

Actually, on reflection I realize that opening a window for each score may provide a better way of comparing an earlier and later version of a score. You can see both scores at the same time, which you can't do with tabs -- as far as I know.

The real issues, I think, are (1) using an icon in the Dock as a mechanism for opening a MuseScore window. (Yes the user can drag a file to the dock and then open it from the dock -- but the user is in control of that.) and (2) opening a second score and having it occlude the first score with no clue as to what's going on. The truth is that with enough time people can get use to bad UI -- e.g. Sibelius, Dorico, Windows, etc.. A Russian proverb captures this point: "You can get use to hanging if you can hang long enough."

In reply to by Jdbutah

Musescore 3 allows more than one tab open at the same time, side by side. I have a wide screen so can view and work on up to three different scores (or three different sections of the same score) side by side. Because I do a lot of arrangements this ability is essential for my workflow - even if my PC was powerful enough to run MS4 I wouldn’t ‘upgrade’.

In reply to by bobjp

Yeah, I generally grouch about changes but eventually get used to whatever way a program works, especially if it gives me the results that I want.

I generally have MS3 and MS4 opened simultaneously, ubuntu on my PC, Windows on my work laptop and often use both at the same time (I have a swivly office chair and two desks). In ubuntu i use a 27" monitor, proper keyboard and have four virtual desktops - luxury. On my laptop I have a 14" screen, tiny buttons (ill-suited to my fat fongers) and I need the screen magnified to 135% but I still get the work done.

I find shelter, water, food, heat and security essential to my workflow and am thankful that I am in in a country where I can get those. Free music software is a bonus.

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