mscx file format specifications

• Dec 9, 2014 - 08:09

Hi guys!

I have a short and direct quesiont: where can I find complete downloadable reference regarding the mscx file format specifications?

I'm trying to write an algorithmic composer of some sort, and I would like to make it mscx-aware so that I can easily show the output in an immediately human-readable (and editable) format. I know that I could use Lilypond, but I find the graphical interface provided by MuseScore much more interesting and manageable. Importing .ly file in MuseScore is surely possible as it would be importing other formats like music XML or such, but it would add a step I would like to avoid.

Many thanks in advance.


Ok, men, I read your replies and I got it -- I'd better have a deeper look at the music XML specs. I'm a bit sad, though, as I'm in love with MuseScore. :)

Again, many thanks to all of you.


The mscx/mscz file format is only for MuseScore internal use. It can change in every new MuseScore version and is therefore not suitable for external use. In consequence there is no format specification. The reference is MuseScore itself.

A stable documented file format for external use is MusicXml. Its designed to be portable and its probably the file format you are looking for.

Lilypond is a programming language and not only a static description of a score. To import lilypond more or less the complete lilypond interpreter is needed. Therefore its unlikely that MuseScore (and any other program) will ever be able to import lilypond. The lilypond file format is a dead end.

In reply to by [DELETED] 3

The problem with using MusicXML is that it does not provide a complete representation of a Musescore score, for example, multiple tunes with titles on a single page. I have over a hundred contradance tune sets and to generate bass clef or alto clef versions, I am programming against the MSCX. If MSCX changes in the future, I'll need to decide whether to stick with MuseScore 3.6.2 or modify my code.

One more voice for MusicXML. It's stable, documented and widely supported. It does have its quirks though. But definitely don't use MuseScore native format.

During the last week, I had a deep look at the MusicXML file format, and I must say that you gave the proper advice -- it's ok. It works and it's not too difficult to grasp (provided that one uses just the basic features). Many thanks again.

Now it's time for me to go and TRY TO put together my automatic composer (just a didactic tool, not a serious program).

BTW, if you haven't already settled on the programming language to use and are not averse to to Python, do look at music21. It's pretty amazing, and very well suited to the sort of thing you are talking about. And then MusicXML export comes for free.

You are all taking above my head. I just want to know how to convert a mscx file to one that I can use in Windows media (WMA ext. .asp .wm .wma) so I can add it to a short video?

In reply to by Daniel Gray

Then I'd say you are reading and posting to the wrong thread :-)

Anyhow, you don't "convert" a MuseScore file to something you can use in Windows media, no more than you would "convert", say, a Microsoft Word file. MuseScore is a notation program - it's primarily intended to produce printed notation. But MuseScore can also produce an audio demo of your score - just load your score into MuseScore and "save as" one of the audio types (WAV, OGG, FLAC, and starting in 2.0, MP3).

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