MuseScore 4 Update: Alpha 2 is now released!

• Aug 10, 2022 - 21:57

Hey everyone,

Today, we are delighted to announce the Alpha 2 release of MuseScore 4. This is a major milestone for us because it combines (with four exceptions) all the major work that will be released to the public.

Win -…
Mac -…
Linux -…


What is in MuseScore 4

An entirely new interface
- 400 new icons
- customisable colours
- A new Home tab which includes recent scores, plugins and video tutorials
- A new, friendlier onboarding process

An engraving overhaul
- New system for horizontal spacing
- New system for slurs and ties
- New system for beaming and cross-staff beaming
- New, heavily revised version of Leland and Leland text
- System objects can appear on more than one system (although this is currently only available on certain templates)
- Hundreds of other smaller fixes and optimisations for lyrics, articulation placement, tremolo marks and general positioning
- For a more comprehensive explanation of the engraving changes in MS4, please see this document.

Multiple workflow improvements
- The Properties panel (formerly the inspector) is now much more responsive, easier to understand and filled with lots of useful options
- The capabilities of the note input bar have been expanded and the toolbar itself is now much easier to customise
- A new tuplets toggle
- New articulation buttons
- A new toggle for cross staff beaming
- Parts are easier to discover, edit and alter (using the new 'Instruments' panel)
- The entire flow for creating a new score has had significant UX improvement to help new users become accustomed to the app much more quickly
- Improved instrument definitions
- Instrument descriptions for new users
- Customisable 'Tempo Lines', (accel, rit, etc.) that work with playback

A new mixer


VST instruments and effects support
- Please note that we will be building additional tools, like automation and MIDI mapping in later releases, once MS4 is out

Accessibility improvements
- A new keyboard navigation system that follows best practices to allow users to quickly move around the interface
- Improved screen reader support (in particular, we really need people to test and provide feedback on this)
- An editable high contrast mode

What is still missing

  • Our new orchestral plugin, Muse Sounds, which is installed via a new app called the Muse Hub. This will be available for testing in the Beta release
  • Uploading to is disabled until the Beta release
  • A simple interface for setting playback profiles, which is delayed until the Beta release
  • New multi-measure repeats capability

Reporting issues

About playback

The largest changes we have made have been to playback - a technical investment we decided to make now. It is the sole reason why the timeline of MuseScore 4 was extended beyond 2021. Once you hear Muse Sounds, you'll understand :)

  • The audio engine in MuseScore 4 is completely new
  • There is an entirely new playback events system, which can produce much finer and detailed instructions. These translate to both MIDI and also MIDI 2.0 (which will be advantageous once MIDI 2.0 libraries and products start to become available). The advantages of this system will be properly realised once our new orchestral library, Muse Sounds is ready (in the Beta release).
  • It is also worth mentioning that we have not been able to carry over the systems for mapping and prioritising sounds from MS3. There are two reasons for this: the first is that it is quite technically incompatible with our new system. More importantly, it is not a universal system that could also work with VST. As a result, our highest priority for MuseScore 4.1 is to reintroduce universal systems to allow users to assign sounds to articulations and text instructions. We will also be adding other types of standard VSTi capabilities too, including key switches and automation.
  • We anticipate that there will still be issues with various different VST plugins. We would greatly appreciate it if you would submit any issues you find
  • Please note that when first loading MS4, there is an option to download Muse Sounds. This option will not work until the Beta release

Incompatible features we will re-introduce in later releases

  • There are other features that have not played nicely with our new systems at all, and which will need to be replaced in later releases, namely: the plugin creator (which we want to rewrite completely as a priority), the score comparison tool and the 'Documents side-by-side' feature.


In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The mechanism for selecting which sound within the soundfont to use is one of those things that unfortunately is not likely to be there by the initial 4.0 release ...

Oh, that will certainly affect me as my instrument, the Mountain Dulcimer, is not part of the GM sounds and so I use a custom soundfont with a few variations of the instrument in it. : (

So I guess I'll be on MS 3.6 until both that and the plugin system is fully functional.

In reply to by rocchio

When you say “custom”, do you mean, you created or customized it yourself? If so, simply change it to be separate soundfonts for each sound. Even if you didn’t create it yourself, that would be a pretty simply modification to make. And very likely you’d find VST instruments as well.

For plugins, most things work as I understand it, even if “officially” it’s not “supported” yet.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

simply change it to be separate soundfonts for each sound. <-- I could, tho then I'd be managing 5 different soundfont files.

Re the plugins - for Mtn Dulcimer I am fully dependent on my plugins, so not having that subsystem fully operational just feels uncomfortable in terms of making the leap.

I do wish to make clear that I've no complaints. The Musescore project is wonderful. I'm looking forward to 4.x. And the effort being put in by you-all is greatly appreciated. Indeed, I feel a bit guilty that my old programming skills are not up to the task of pitching in and helping actually.

I'm Linux and open source all the way; and like to be in that interstice between leading-edge and bleeding-edge, which is why I use fedora. So I'll definitely continue trying out the nightly builds on-the-go and make the leap when it feels right for me. Probably, for me, the key is going to be the plugin subsystem.

In reply to by rocchio

Well, FWIW, we don't plan to leave people behind!

We need to build a universal articulation mapping system and Soundfont will be a part of that. We just were unable to port the older system for this purpose.

Thanks for your understanding!

PS (I'd also love to get my hands on your custom SF too - just to hear how it sounds!)

In reply to by Jim Ivy

I would say that until you actually hear Muse Sounds, it's probably best to withhold judgement. Because until you hear what it can do for your scores just using defaults, it's impossible to know how much you might miss the piano roll editor or any of the other small handful of tools not present in the initial 4.0 release. After all, the main reason for using those tools is to provide a workaround for bad default playback. But if the default playback is already better than anything you could accomplish with the piano roll editor, already better than anything you could accomplish via a DAW, is there really an advantage to holding onto your old workflows?

BTW, as mentioned, the mixer is resizable, and also undockable. But here too, it's also probably something you won't need nearly so much as in 3.6.2, both because the playback with Muse Sounds will be so much better, but also because simple tasks like soloing a staff or group of staves won't require the mixer. So again, I think it important to withhold judgement until you've really experienced what MuseScore 4 will be capable of. Don't assume that just because you needed to resort to some particular workaround in 3.6.2, that you'll continue to need that same workaround in 4.0.

And keep in mind, the tools that have not yet been ported to the 4.0 framework will be soon enough. Also, the idea of finding ways to reduce the space requirements of the various new or redesigned panels to allow more focus on the score is very much on the radar as well. So, instead of thinking in terms of continuing to develop the 3.x branch just to hang on to those few things, it is much better to think in terms of supporting the effort to get all that working in 4.x. I fully expect that not too long after the initial release of 4.0, you really won't be able to point to anything as being objectively better about 3.6.2.

FWIW, once Muse Sounds is available, I plan to do a MuseScore Café episode or two featuring some detailed comparisons. For instance, I could compare the playback of some given score with the default playback in 3.6.2 vs results using people's favorite third-party soundfonts vs someone's best attempt at customizing the playback via piano roll editor vs results using a DAW and someone's favorite VST instruments vs results using those same VST instruments via the native support in MuseScore 4 vs results using Muse Sounds.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Worth mentioning that beta will be out in a week or two so everyone will be able to try out Muse Sounds themselves.

In terms of audio, we have created an entirely new concept and technology for transmitting musical information to samplers, which - along with VSTi support - required a move away from the playback system and audio engine of MuseScore 3.

I'm confident people will see why we've made this change once they hear Muse Sounds. There is just no comparison in terms of quality.

In reply to by alextone

I love the implied threat in this question. After the third time, were you planning on being impolite? :D

Unfortunately, 4.0 will not have JACK support. We were unable to include it in this version due to the need to create a completely new audio engine. As with a few other things, these will be re-introduced over the next few releases.

In reply to by Tantacrul

There's no implied threat, that would be childish.

A question though. Why would JACK create a problem in designing a new audio engine, when Win and Mac systems would not, given JACK sits above ALSA, in userspace?

What's the difference?

But thanks for your response. Dare I ask how soon after 4.0 would JACK would be re-introduced?

In reply to by Tantacrul

Cool! Looking forward to it. Speaking of audio, I seem to be having some issues with playback audio. It seems it's an issue with buffer size potentially. The audio has worked fine all day, but when the file became too complex some of the tracks fail to play audio. It's like some of the playback is cached and then I'm capped on memory or something so no new info can enter playback. Any idea how to fix this? Apologies if this is an old issue.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Marc, I hope that I'm wrong but I must admit that I'm actually afraid of what will MS4 playback do to my piano scores because I want to be one able to control every aspect of the playback and not to rely on algorithm decisions. IMHO the more you will let the algorithm to influence on the aspects of the playback, the more you will be able to find both scores that sound better than before and scores that sound worse than before.

In reply to by hstanekovic

To be clear, Muse Sounds is completely optional - the default playback is not AI-based.

It's definitely conceivable to me that with enough hours of effort, manual adjustments to velocity and duration could produce marginally better results than Muse Sounds for piano specifically, because you aren't faced with the issue of slurring/tonguing/bowing/articulations differences in timbre to nearly the same extent. The rather limited control you can exercise just using MIDI - duration and velocity only - is actually sufficient to capture much of what is involved in making piano sound more "human". But for winds and strings, just having slurs work well is a game changer. No amount of fiddling with the piano roll editor or Inspector or plugins will ever allow the built-in playback to come remotely close to that.

But, as noted, the piano roll editor won't be available in 4.0 at the initial release, and it's not clear to what extent the other controls for manual adjustment of note playback will work right off the bat either. So if you do subjectively speaking decide your own manual adjustments for piano sound better to you than what Muse Sounds can do, that could be a reason to keep using 3.6.2 for a little while longer.

While this is obviously in alpha, if you manage to get VST automation in there, it will be a gamechanger. I've been producing music with the other paid DAWs for a while, but now looking for something open-source that can help combine the sound design of electronic music and human-readability of traditional notation. Love what you're doing!

I have been playing around with Virtual Drum Line with using Kontakt Player. Instruments like a Marimba or Xylophone or really any instrument that uses an actual keyboard works great. However, trying to get playback when using an instrument like a Snare, Cymbal Pack, or Concert band Combo does not work. I have to choose a placeholder instrument that is pitched, rename it to "Snare", change the playback in the mixer to Kontakt, then choose which instrument I want.

Problem is, if I am using a Marching snare and I want a rim shot, I can't notate it with a cross notehead on C5. I have to move it to another note in the staff like G6 to get the rim shot playback. Same with any other hits, such as: short, medium, and long crescendo buzz rolls, rim clicks, duts, etc. These notes typically on Kontakt are in the C6 range and up. Imagine trying to use a Concert Band Combo with multiple instrument changes. Ride cymbal, egg shaker, or tambourine. Any other sort of play back like a continuous shake or roll can't be notated with a tremolo; I would have to make it a separate note to whatever Kontakt has on its virtual keyboard for the correct playback (D6, Db6). I end up getting a score that does not look super friendly BUT T plays back nice.

I am not sure if this has been addressed and I have missed it, but if not, I was wondering if there would ever be a work around.

Thank you.

In reply to by ryanlovestrtl

I would like to second this issue. Especially for marching percussion parts that have many different implements and options such as snare, tenors, and ESPECIALLY rack percussion, it can be difficult to get scores that play back well and also look readable. MDL isn't perfect but it made a lot of improvements in this area, but with the introduction of Kontakt support and the ability to use VDL, I'm wondering how this will work.

In reply to by chrismasters9

We specifically have decided to wait until one of our next releases to comprehensively solve our percussion issues. In particular, we want to change the mappings so that VDL works 'out of the box'. We also have a whole new set of percussion sounds that will be released later too (Drumline but much better). This is among our highest priorities. Sorry it won't be in 4.0 but it will be happening quite soon afterwards.

In the meantime, for marching percussion, we encourage people to use MS3.6 + Drumline

I just installed M4. The sound plays just fine using System Default I/O. But the on-screen keyboard doesn't play any sounds. Any ideas what's going on? I tried switching to other audio device but same problems.

Also, no backward compatibility with M3? That's gonna be a serious problem.

In reply to by Jubinell Youtube

The onscreen keyboard is still being worked on - until this week, it was only useful for entering notes but not for playing otherwise. A bunch of changes were just made yesterday, so the next nightly build should be closer to how the actual release should be.

Compatibility story will be the same as each major release MsueScore has had - you can load older scores into the new version just fine, but it's too late to go back and update older version to be able to handle newer scores. So if you for whatever reason you should find you are curious how an older version would render a score created in MuseScore 4, you'll have to export to MusicXML. Is there some specific use case you have in mind for which that would be a serious problem? Shouldn't be in general.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for the comment. I guess backward compatibility is just necessary in the first few stable releases, when we run into issues with M4 when writing scores and we wanna go back to M3 while waiting for the issue to get fixed.

It would also be nice if we can copy some measures and paste between M4 and M3, but I guess that's not possible.

In reply to by Jubinell Youtube

I wouldn't really be anticipating any issues that would cause you need to take a score you started in MuseScore 4 and take it back to MuseScore 3, and hopefully any that pop up will be fixed soon enough. But as in previous releases, MusicXML export will be the best way if you need to for whatever reason.

Copy and paste is an interesting case, and actually, the way MuseScore 4 works with separate scores living in separate processes, the framework for this may already in place - copy and paste already works between separate MuseScore 4 instances. But, too late for MuseScore 3 to be rearchitected to work that way. Realistically, MusicXML will in some ways capture more than copy/paste anyhow - key & time signature changes, repeats, etc.

I apologize if this has been asked before, but... why can't I install this alpha package on my 32-bit (x86) Windows system? (it claims incompatibility in a dialog box); will MS4 be compatible with x86 systems 'till its oficial release?

In reply to by RicardoHerreraMX

In theory it is possible to build MuseScvore 4 for 32-bit Windows, but only as long as we stay on Qt 5.15. The switch do Qt 6 is planned, and there 32-bit Windows isn't a viable option any longer.

As far as I can tell the options for building for 32-bit Windows have just been removed from the MuseScore codebase.
But the PortableApps builds have been enabled, they may be 32-bit (they were in 3.x and before), not sure.

In reply to by RicardoHerreraMX

There will not be an official MuseScore 4.0 for 32-bit Window, unfortunately, even though community release is theoretically possible (as stated by Jojo), if someone with the know-how and available time decides to build and host a binary. See MuseScore 4.0 support for older operating systems for more detail of why the support for 32-bit Windows was dropped.

I would recommend using such an unofficial / community version, because:

Screenshot from 2022-10-03 14-58-58.png I can't find a way to change the font of the numbers in the volta lines, in 3.6 there was this option in the inspector, I can't see it in alpha 4. Couldn't find the option not even in Format-Style-Text Styles. Before submitting a bug to Github I would like to be sure that is something I haven't figured out properly or maybe it's just there and can't see the option! (I normally use the typical classical numbers as used in time signatures, which are in Mscore font, for fingering and volta numbers)

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Tried but it's not working, not even with latest nightly, I just have to wait for the issue mentioned by Marc Sabatella to be solved. A workaround I found is to create the score in 3.6.2 with all fonts and stuff, and then load it in Alpha 4 and fine tune the engraving. This way the font which has been set in 3.6.2 is mantained in Alpha 4.

Work well for me exept reproduction (i.e. Flute sound), but I know that in Beta there will be a very improvement on sounds.
Please on next releases work also on Parts rename and reorder.

So, been using the nightly channel for a while and I really got to daily drive this, even with all the current bugs I don't think I'm going back to 3 (not like I have anything really important I need to not lose so it's fine), congrats, can't wait for the beta!

I know you probably gonna say "it will be done when it have to be done" yeah, good, Anyway, do you think this new version will be release before ending this year? Probably December first weeks?

Gaaaah the wait is killing me!!! I'm so impatient... I just want to hear the new engine :'(
I know you need the time but pleeeease make it quick :D
So excited!!

In reply to by erinic04

Then it might be expected sometime next week (if we're lucky) ;)

Kidding aside, Musescore 4 looks promising. I'm currently using Doric 4 Pro, which is great, but doesn't represent the way I like to notate music. So looking forward to the future development of MuseScore.

I am just taking the first look on MuseScore 4, and it's a nice improvement on the interface and the overall feeling. Looking forward to the new Muse sounds. What I noticed, however, is that there is no menu integration with my Ubuntu Unity DE, like there is in MS 3. This is a minor detail, but it creates an unnecessary strip in the toolbar which is a waste of screen space on laptops using the Unity interface. Are there any plans on addressing this in the future?

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In reply to by Epic9863

The current estimate that can be given is "tomorrow, 5days ago".
The beta itself is pretty much ready for release, but the surrounding installer program has some not-yet-figured-out bugs to fix before this can happen. As soon as those bugs are cleared out, beta will be released.

I am writing for the first time since I joined. When will the beta 1 version of MuseScore 4 be released? I think the working rate is 100% based on beta 1. As far as I know, I heard that it's the end of October. I'm looking forward to it, by the way.

Can't run the nigthlies some time ago (probably again the same issue with the GLIBC version as: Of course I could upgrade OpenSuse, but in sense of "never change a running system" would be nice, that the beta wouldn't be affected of it (can start the alpha as expected).

Hello ! I Can't change the note duration at all with the keypad (and even without the keypad) but it is working fine in MuseScore 3. Any ideas ?

In reply to by ShijinSherin

It would be better to start a new thread about the problems you are having here. But first, be sure not to still be using the alpha - that's months old, and there have been tons of fixes since then. See the beta announcement, or better yet, use a nightly build.

Anyhow, when you do post, be sure to attach the actual score, not just pictures. Then we can understand and assist better.

In reply to by ShijinSherin

As I mentioned, you should really post discussions in a different forum - this one is meant only for official announcements by the official team, not for reporting bugs or asking questions about how to use MuseScore. So please, use the Development forum in the future, and then if something is confirmed to be a bug, it should be reported on GitHub.

Anyhow, I have loaded your score into the current nightly build of MuseScore 4. I don't see any obvious problem with margins. Is there something I need to do in order to see the issue? If you are still using the alpha build from several months ago, it could be there was a bug fixed long ago. Best to use current builds in your tests.

I do see places where there seems to have been leading space adjustments that are not appropriate, causing problems like notes overlapping barlines. Simply resetting those adjustments fixes those problems. There are also some changes to the style settings that are causing problems, best to reset those as well. Then, to fit more measures per system,instead of individually changing all those settings (which was creating very awkward spacing issues), simply reduce the staff size slightly in Format / Page Settings. At most, also reduce the minimum note distance in Format / Style / Measure.

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