Capabilities of Musescore to be a training aide for speed reading notes

• Sep 2, 2022 - 18:54

Hi all: I again wish to thank all of you for helping me master MuseScore over the last year. I have gotten reasonably well versed in part thanks to you.

I have a 3 new questions regarding Midi usage that the manual does not appear to answer fully. I'd again be grateful for any answers you can provide. Here's the situation:

My 75 yr old wife used to be quite proficient in reading piano sheet music. 15 yrs ago, she started having problems reading sheet music (her eyes were not keeping up). She also lost skill in turning sheet music pages, forcing her to pause playing until the next page. Consequently, she got depressed and chose to stop playing entirely. We both missed her playing but she despaired that she was getting too old to play. She now has lost a lot of her speed-reading ability as well, and needs to start afresh.

Last month, I convinced her that MuseScore might be able to correct her problems. It can change note size and it scrolls automatically, so no pages to flip. She reluctantly agreed to try it. In order to make this work, however, I would like to let her interact with MuseScore via a small MIDI keyboard, and her laptop. Ideally, there are three things I am asking if MuseScore can do (please answer the items individually if possible. If the manual tells me how to do so, I'd appreciate a quick reference to it):

  1. If I connect a small MIDI keyboard to her laptop and she brings up a beginner score to practice reading, can MuseScore INTERFACE with the keyboard so that it displays the note playing ONLY WHEN SHE HITS THE KEY? In other words, will it respond to her playing note by note, pausing until she hits the next note, or will its mixer automatically play the score at its own tempo and ignore her input? If so, she will complain that if she can't keep up, MuseScore will outpace her quickly and leave her behind, unless she keeps hitting the pause and play keys on the mixer with her mouse. She will quit using it, and that will be that. We need the program to be able to wait for her to hit a key before it moves on in the score. Can it do that?

  2. If I make the notes bigger so she can read them, the score/measures displayed on screen will be large and will scroll fast. Can I tell MuseScore to scroll left to right as a CONTINUOUS SCORE, so new measures will always be onscreen and she can just keep reading until end of song, without WAITING for the next page to appear?

  3. If a song has five instruments and I mute just the piano part so she can play along, can MuseScore still do items 1 and 2 above, or is the presence of more than piano a problem?

Thanks in advance for your advice. I really appreciate it.



  1. No, MuseScore is not capable of waiting for/proofing MIDI input in a follow-along kind of fashion.
    There exists a special version of MuseScore (based on a 3.0-old-development version), created by a user, that implemented such a feature. I'm not sure how easy it is to set up or use if you're not a programmer yourself, but check out for that project.

  2. Try switching to "Continuous View" if you didn't already. Then go into Edit > Preferences > Advanced and look for the "smoothPan" setting. Once enabled, it'll act as a continuous scrolling score.

  3. Since (1) isn't built into MuseScore, having multiple instruments and/or muting some of them is not something I can answer. I have personally not used the special build from (1) myself, so I'm also not sure if it works with scores that consist of more than just a piano.
    Continuous Scrolling (2) is not affected by muting of instruments, nor by having multiple of them.

In reply to by jeetee

Jeetee: Thank you much for your quick reply. Too bad about item 1, but ...

  1. How do I turn on "Continuous View"? What menu does it?

  2. There are nine (9) lines for Smooth Pan in the Advanced menu under Preferences. I don't want to screw something up. If you were practicing reading a simple piano score and wanted MuseScore to pan continuously through the song, which boxes/entries do I need to set under Smooth Pan in the menu?

  3. I checked your reference above to the piano tutor project. It is only for Linux computers, and it is way too electronically complicated for me to try. Are you aware of any other MIDI based software program for Windows 10 that WILL pause playing the song until it senses a note is played on the MIDI keyboard? I really want my wife to have that option, at least while she is re-learning how to speed read. She will need to hear the notes playing as she plays them ... not as the program plays automatically via a mixer. Any ideas for what programs can do that?

In reply to by fsgregs

  1. Switching to Continuous View can be done via a dropdown in the toolbar area; see for more information and a screenshot

  2. For starters, the only relevant setting is smoothPan/enabled and check the box. Other settings define it's scrolling behavior, for which again the most basic one is smoothPan/cursor/position which defines the attempted position of "now" during playback on the screen. It defaults to 0.30 which means that the current score position should be around 1/3rd of the screen, horizontally speaking.

  3. I have done no research into other software more tailored towards training and feedback, so I'm afraid I'm of little help on that front.

In reply to by jeetee

jeetee: Thanks for the reply. I have found Continuous View and it will work well, so thanks. I had no idea MuseScore could do that.

I will check the smoothpan box and ignore the other settings. Thanks

My wife said she will use MuseScore and listen for mistakes, rather than need software to monitor her key input, so this request for software to do that is now moot.

It also might be worth investing in a bigger monitor.
Let her play through a short score at here own tempo
Then at a similar tempo have her play with the score sound off. Just following the playback bar. She knows how important it is to play steady. No matter the speed.

In reply to by bobjp

Bobjp: Thanks for the reply. Actually, she has quite a large monitor already connected to her laptop. That is why I want to buy her a small MIDI keyboard that she can set down on her computer desk in front of her monitor while she reads the notes on MuseScore.

If there is no other choice, I guess she will have to play some simple piano scores with and without the sound turned on at the mixer's own pace, and try to keep up. I just discovered that the Spacebar stops and starts playback, so that will make things easier if she starts to fall behind. Coupled with larger notes, edited tempos, the metronome and continuous view, we should be able to make it work!

In reply to by fsgregs

The mixer own pace can be whichever you want by adjusting the speed percentage in the play panel.
Most probably you already knew that but I mention it to be sure.
When I play along and musescore is too fast for me I just reduce that speed a bit using that percentage.

In reply to by frfancha

frfancha: I was assuming I would have to physically change the tempo on the sheet music if the song was too fast for her. Using the Play panel and simply sliding the tempo down had never crossed my mind. Thanks so much. I will explain to my wife how to use it.

Hi Frank,
I'm sorry to hear your wife's losing her piano skill and feel depressed. Is it touching to see your effort trying to help her. Regarding your 3 questions I have nothing more to offer. To your situation I hope my opinion below, come from good faith, would offer some help.
>>lost skill in turning sheet music pages
Is it motor skill of her hands? try out products like PageFlip Butterfly or ForScore
>>forcing her to pause playing until the next page
Do you mean using the right hand to flip a page so the need to pause at page turn? Or computer render speed? My laptop is the lowest tier in 2018, most pages render fast enough.
>>displays the note playing ONLY WHEN SHE HITS THE KEY (on the MIDI keyboard)
>>without WAITING for the next page to appear
I tried something similar with an ancient Win98 software long ago, the forward scrolling feedback upon playing the right note actually makes the situation worse because
* (my way of) sight reading involves moving my eyes to certain location down the score, or pulling back and focusing on a bigger score area, scrolling the score would mess up the virtualized location my brain expect.
* For success in (my) sight reading, it is crucial for me to force my ear and brain to accept it and move on when wrong keys are played occasionally, so any feedback mechanism would be counter productive
To sum up, idea of pages may in fact help sight reading
>>she will complain that if she can't keep up, MuseScore will outpace her quickly and leave her behind
Karaoke singing along put pressure on me, often encourage me to keep up and sing with lyrics.
Orchestral swelling at the back of head put pressure on me, make me feel ashamed and annoyed if I play offbeat. If a virtual conductor halt and continue the whole thing on my behalf, I'm annoyed by the stuttering. Before I play with ensemble I always practice and make sure I won't lag behind too poorly.
>>@bobjp at here own tempo ; She knows how important it is to play steady
>>I really want my wife to have that option
I saw many free apps on ipad and android offer a similar function, but their target audience are piano playing beginners. eg this one They're simple apps, their function would never match with MuseScore


In reply to by msfp

msfp: Thank you for the reply. My wife's issue with page turning is due to her struggle to play a song. Because she has lost some sight-reading speed, she is already stopping and pausing in a song ... a lot. When she also has to stop playing to turn the page, it frustrates her.

Using Continuous View, controlling the tempo speed with the Play panel, tapping the spacebar to pause playback, increasing the note sizes and turning on the metronome, probably will work just fine.

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