Create a new score

Updated 4 years ago
This page shows old instructions for MuseScore 2.
For MuseScore 4 users, see Create a new score.

    To create a new score, open the New Score Wizard (see Create new score, below): this can also be accessed via the Start Center.

    Start Center

    This is the window that displays when you open MuseScore for the very first time:

    Start Center

    To open the Start Center (if not already visible), use any of the following options:

    • Press F4.
    • From the menu bar, select ViewStart Center...

    From the Start Center you can:

    • Open the "Getting Started" tutorial score.
    • View thumbnails of previously-opened scores: click on a thumbnail to open it.
    • Open a score from your computer's file system: click on Open a score ...
    • Create a new score (by clicking on the icon with the plus sign).
    • See the "In the spotlight" score of the day.
    • Search sheet music on
    • Link to mobile apps
    • Link to follow MuseScore on social networks

    Create new score

    To open the New Score Wizard when the Start Center is not open, use one of the following options:

    • Click on the New Score icon in the toolbar on the top left of the window;
    • Use keyboard shortcut Ctrl+N (Mac: Cmd+N);
    • From the menu, select FileNew....

    Note: The following subheadings may differ slightly in versions prior to MuseScore 2.2.

    Enter score information

    New Score wizard: Title, subtitle, etc.
    Step 1: Enter score information.

    Enter the title, composer, or any other information as shown above, then click on Next >. This step is optional: you can also add this information after the score is created (see Vertical frame).

    Choose template file

    New Score wizard: Select template file
    Step 2: Choose template file.

    Here, you can choose from a range of solo, ensemble and orchestral templates. Any custom templates stored in your user templates folder will be displayed under the heading, "Custom Templates". From version 2.2, you can use the Search bar (top right) to find specific templates.

    • Click on a template to select it. This will automatically take you to the next page of the Wizard (Chose key signature and tempo).
    • Alternatively, to choose exactly which instruments to include in your score, click on the "Choose Instruments" template (under "General").

    Choose instruments (or voice parts)

    New score wizard: Choose instruments

    The Choose Instruments window is divided into two columns:

    • The left column contains a list of instruments, or voice parts to choose from. This list is categorized into instrument families, and clicking a category shows the full list of instruments in each family.

      The default entry is "Common instruments" but you can choose from others, including "Jazz instruments" and "Early music". There is a search box at the bottom of the instrument window: typing the name of an instrument there will search for it in "All instruments".

    • The right column starts off empty, but will eventually contain a list of instruments for your new score in the order that they will appear.

    Add instruments

    To add instruments to the score, use any of the following options:

    • Select one or more instruments in the left column and click Add.
    • Double-click an instrument in the left column.

    The instrument names, and their associated staff lines, now appear in the list of instruments in the right column. You can add more instruments or voice parts, as needed. Each instrument added in this way is allocated its own Mixer channel.

    Note: If you want staves to share the same instrument, use the Add staff or Add linked staff commands instead (see below).

    Add Staff / Add Linked Staff

    To add a staff to an existing instrument in the score:

    1. Select a staff in the score list on the right-hand side (e.g. see "Staff 1" in the image below). Click Add Staff or Add Linked Staff.
    2. Adjust the Staff type, if applicable.

    New score wizard: Add staff

    Summary of commands:

    Command Staff added Edit staves independently? Share mixer channel? Examples
    Add Staff Unlinked Yes Yes Guitar staff/tab, Piano grand staff
    Add Linked Staff Linked No. Edit in one staff updates others Yes Guitar staff/tab

    See also, Combine pitched staff with tablature.

    Change order of instruments

    To change the order of instruments (or staves) in the score:

    • Click either an instrument name or a staff, in the right-hand column, and use the or buttons to move it higher/lower.
    Delete an instrument

    To delete an instrument, or staff line, from the score

    • Select an instrument, or a staff line, in the right-hand column, and click Remove.

    Choose key signature and tempo

    New Score wizard: Select key signature
    Step 3: Choose key signature and tempo.

    The wizard asks for two things: The initial key signature and tempo of the score. Select any of the former and click Next > to continue. An initial tempo can be set here too.

    Choose time signature, pickup measure, and number of measures

    New score wizard: Create time signature and set measure options
    Step 4: Choose time signature etc.

    You can set your initial time signature here. If the score starts with a pickup measure (also known as an anacrusis or upbeat measure), then mark the Pickup measure checkbox and adjust the "Duration" accordingly.

    Measures is set to 32 by default: you can change the number here, or add/remove measures later from the score.

    Click Finish to create your new score.

    Adjustments to score after creation

    Any settings you make in the New Score Wizard can always be changed when you start work on the score itself:

    Add/delete measures

    To add/delete measures or create a pickup measure, see Measure operations.

    Add/edit text

    To add text, see Add text (Text basics). To change existing text, see Text editing.

    Change instrument set-up

    To add, delete, or change the order of instruments: from the menu, select EditInstruments...; or use the keyboard shortcut, I. This opens the Instruments dialog which is virtually identical to the Choose Instruments dialog in the New Score Wizard (see above).

    See also Change instrument (Staff properties).

    Hide a staff

    • To hide a staff permanently: Open the Instruments dialog (I) and untick the "Visible" box for that staff.
    • To hide a staff under certain conditions: See the "Hide" options in the Score menu, and Staff Properties.

    Adjust layout and formatting

    To adjust the distance between staves and systems, set page margins etc., see Layout and formatting.


    A Template is simply a standard MuseScore file that has been stored in one of two "templates" folders: any files in these folders are automatically displayed on the "Chose template file" page of the New Score Wizard. Two templates folders are created by default:

    System templates folder

    This folder contains the templates installed with MuseScore and should not be modified. It can be found in the following locations:

    Windows: Usually at C:\Program Files\MuseScore 2\templates; or in the 64-bit versions at C:\Program Files (x86)\MuseScore 2\templates.

    Linux: Under /usr/share/mscore-xxx if you installed from the package manager. If you compiled MuseScore on Linux yourself, then look under /usr/local/share/mscore-xxx (with xxx being the version you are using).

    MacOS: Under /Applications/MuseScore

    User templates folder

    Any templates that you create for future use should be stored here. Once in the user "templates" folder, they will automatically appear on the "Chose template file" page of the New Score Wizard—under the heading "Custom Templates". Note: prior to version 2.3, you need to restart MuseScore in order to see a newly-added template.

    The default location of the user templates folder is as follows:

    Windows: %HOMEPATH%\Documents\MuseScore2\Templates.

    MacOS and Linux: ~/Documents/MuseScore2/Templates.

    To configure the location of your private templates folder:

    • From the menu, select EditPreferences...General.

    See also

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