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.
This is the window that is displayed when you open MuseScore for the very first time:
To open the Start Center (if not already visible), use any of the following options:
- Press F4.
- From the menu bar, select File→Start Center...
To stop the Start Center from showing up when you open MuseScore:
- From the menu bar, select Edit→Preferences... (Mac: MuseScore→Preferences...) and uncheck "Show start center" in the Program Start section of the General tab.
From the Start Center you can:
- Create a new score (by clicking on the icon with the plus sign).
- 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 ...
- Open the "Getting Started" tutorial score. Use the arrow buttons in the right-hand pane to access the link.
- Search sheet music on musecore.com.
- Access various other facilities (see right-hand pane).
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 File→New....
Enter score information
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 has been created (see Vertical frame).
Choose template file
Step 2: Choose template file.
In the left column is a list of solo, ensemble and orchestral templates, divided into categories according to musical styles. If you have previously stored any custom templates in your user templates folder, these are displayed under the heading, "Custom Templates". You can also use the Search bar (top left) to find specific templates.
To choose a score template:
Click on the name of a score template to select it, then click Next >; alternatively, just double-click the score template name. This will automatically take you to the next page of the Wizard (see Choose key signature and tempo, below).
If you wish to create a score template from scratch, click on "Choose Instruments" (under "General"), then click Next >; alternatively, just double-click "Choose instruments."
Choose instruments (or voice parts)
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 as well, 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.
To add instruments to the score, use any of the following options:
- Select one or more instruments in the left column and click Add to score.
- 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.
Once an instrument track is added to your score, you can edit its sound features by using the Mixer's track area. You will find a vertical panel in the Mixer menu for that new instrument in the lower half of the panel, next to the volume (master Gain) slider. All instruments in the score will have their own panel, with their names at the bottom of the panel. If you can't see the names, drag the vertical scroll bar downward until the instrument track labels are visible. Then just click on a panel, and edit the volume, name, instrument choice, chorus, reverb, etc. The changes will take effect immediately"
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
Important: Add a new instrument instead if the new staff you wish to add belongs to a separate instrument.
To add a staff to an existing instrument in the score:
- Select a staff of the instrument 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.
- Adjust the Staff type, if applicable.
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 arrow 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)
Step 3: Choose key signature (and tempo).
- Select the desired key signature, then click Next > to continue. Prior to version 3.5, you can also set the tempo here.
Choose time signature, tempo, pickup measure, and number of measures
Step 4: Choose time signature etc.
Here, you can set:
- The initial time signature.
- A pickup measure (anacrusis or upbeat measure), and its duration.
- The initial number of measures in the score (the default is 32, but you can add/remove measures from the score edit window).
- Tempo (prior to version 3.5, this is set on the Choose key signature (and tempo) page instead).
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 / adjust measures
Change instrument set-up
To add, delete, or change the order of instruments:
- From the menu, select Edit→Instruments...; 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 dialog, 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 "Choose 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 3\templates or
C:\Program Files (x86)\MuseScore 3\templates (Actually
%ProgramFiles%\MuseScore 3\templates or
%ProgramFiles(x86)%\MuseScore 3\templates, respectively) .
/usr/share/mscore-xxx if you installed from the package manager. If you compiled MuseScore on Linux yourself, then look under
xxx being the version you are using).
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 "Choose template file" page of the New Score Wizard—under the heading "Custom Templates".
The default location of the user templates folder is as follows:
MacOS and Linux:
Note: That above mentioned directory name ("Templates") might be translated according to your language settings!
To configure the location of your private templates folder:
- From the menu, select Edit→Preferences...→General.