From version 2.1, you can enter notation using one of several new note input modes—in addition to the pre-existing Step-time and Re-pitch modes. These are accessed by clicking a small dropdown arrow next to the note entry button on the note input toolbar.
This is the method of note entry that MuseScore has had from the beginning. You enter notes in Step-time mode by choosing a duration using the mouse or keyboard, and then choosing a pitch using the mouse, keyboard, MIDI keyboard or virtual piano.
For details see Basic note entry.
Re-pitch mode allows you to correct the pitches of a sequence of notes while leaving their durations unchanged (not to be confused with Accidental: Respell pitches).
You can also use the Re-pitch function to create a new passage from an existing one of the same sequence of durations—by copying and pasting the latter, then applying Re-pitch.
Rhythm mode allows you to enter durations with a single keypress. Combining Rhythm and Re-pitch modes makes for a very efficient method of note entry.
The Real-time modes basically allow you to perform the piece on a MIDI keyboard (or MuseScore's virtual piano keyboard) and have the notation added for you. However, you should be aware of the following limitations which currently apply:
However, these restrictions mean that MuseScore has very little guessing to do when working out how your input should be notated, which helps to keep the Real-time modes accurate.
In the automatic version of Real-time input, you play at a fixed tempo indicated by a metronome click. You can adjust the tempo by changing the delay between clicks from the menu: Edit → Preferences... → Note Input (Mac: MuseScore → Preferences... → Note Input).
The score stops advancing as soon as you release the key. If you want the score to continue advancing (e.g. to allow you to enter rests) then you can use the Real-time Advance shortcut to start the metronome.
In the manual version of Real-time input, you have to indicate your input tempo by tapping on a key or pedal, but you can play at any speed you like and it doesn't have to be constant. The default key for setting the tempo (called "Real-time Advance") is Enter on the numeric keypad (Mac: fn+Return), but it is highly recommended that you change this to a MIDI key or MIDI pedal (see below).
The Real-time Advance shortcut is used to tap beats in manual Real-time mode, or to start the metronome clicks in automatic Real-time mode. It is called "Real-time Advance" because it causes the input position to more forward, or "advance", through the score.
The default key for Real-time Advance is Enter on the numeric keypad (Mac: fn+Return), but it is highly recommended that you assign this to a MIDI key or MIDI pedal via MuseScore's MIDI remote control. The MIDI remote control is available from the menu: Edit → Preferences... → Note Input (Mac: MuseScore → Preferences... → Note Input).
Alternatively, if you have a USB footswitch or computer pedal which can simulate keyboard keys, you could set it to simulate Enter on the numeric keypad.