Musescore 4 is a downgrade for me.

• Dec 25, 2022 - 22:57

Hello, I'm theGold (musescore username) and I'm really not liking this new Musescore 4 update so far. Before I go feather though; this is not a rant against the new update nor to the amazing dev team that made it, I'm just simply explaining and constructively criticizing some of the problems I came across with Musescore 4. So, if any major controversy on this subject comes up, please understand that it's coming from a place of heart and do not mean any sort of harm.

About Musescore 4... :
Musescore 4.0 is the (by the time I'm typing this) latest update for the platform. Made to fix and clean up some of the UI and notational problems from Musescore 3.6.2, Musescore 4 was supposed to be a big step towards the right direction not only for the platform but for the community as a whole. And that's where the problem lies. But...

I'm a positive guy, and as such, I'm not going to tell you that Musescore 4 is straight-up bad; in fact, what they did to the notation was game-changing, and now having the ability to actually pan instruments and giving them reverb was long overdue (in a good way). The UI "looks" slicker and more modern than past versions and though the instruments (in my opinion) have been negatively tampered with, the midi quality definitely improved. Of course, there is more improvement I can list here, but that's not why I wrote this.

About Me:
There are two different types of Musescore creators here: Formal users and informal users (neither one is less important nor impactful than the other). Formal users compose music on a professional level, they usually compose or transcribe music with the intention of it being played. While informal users compose music in more a creative light, they compose or transcribe music with the intention of pushing Musecore to its absolute limit with little to no regard for notation nor playability. I fall in line with the informal users... I make remixes and reimaginings of game OSTs I like using with the limitations of Musescore. I do this because I think it's a fun process composing without having restraints to make it look professional, I also use this to plot down a rough deft of the arrangement of a song so I can take it into FL studio and do the rest. When I downloaded the update for Musescore 4, I was expecting it to make the process more fun and easier for both types of users, but...

Musescore 4 clearly wasn't made for the informal user, instead, it focused on formal users with better notation UI and customizations so it could be easier to read. Which isn't a bad thing at all, even if that was the only thing they had done. But they (intentionally or not) made it made extensively harder to make the music I once loved making, alot of the instrument midi we liked to use are missing, UI is more limiting (for instance no piano roll, why?), a lot of the stuff I bet even formal users use is gone or is more complicated to load. I took two videos of the same score I've made a while ago; one was recorded from Musescore 3.6.2 the other from Musescore 4.0, tell me which is better.

Musescore 3.6.2:

Musescore 4.0:


Wait, you didn't know how to pan in 3.6? There is way too much reverb in MS4 that can't be removed. I am a combination of both users. No clear division line.

I agree. I am also more of an informal user. I love the addition of the reverb and chorus from MuseFX. I used to have to spilt up each instrument and add reverb in audacity or FL Studio, but now I can make professional sounding music with a free and easy to use software. The downside of MuseScore 4 is that many of the unique instruments that I used a lot have either been removed or I can't find them, like the overdrive, feedback, and distortion guitars, the tine electric piano, and the TR 808 drumset. To get exactly what I want, I have to export half the song in 3 and half in 4.

The score is so busy that it is hard to tell what may or may not be different. The main thing that I notice is that in the MS4 version, you don't have anything covering the bassline.
I suspect that if I didn't want to be hampered by the limitations of notation, I would use a DAW. Much better suited to that style of composing.
MS4, with all the problems it has right now, realizes my scores far better than MS3. Imagine how much better it will be down the road.

The piano roll is missing because they have had to completely rewrite it, along with the rest of the playback system. It will probably (hopefully) be re-added in a future version.

I absolutely agree that MuseScore 4 has too much built-in reverb. I think that there should at least be a way to turn it off, or even set that as the default.

I total agree. I also feel like Musescore 4 is just way more slow and clunky to use (input lag and unresponsiveness, audio & visual stuttering, etc). To me, it feels like it was released unfinished. Additionally, although the new soundfonts are definitely more realistic sounding, many important instrument sounds are just missing or of low quality (especially unpitched percussion). All in all it feels like one step forward and 3 steps back.

The new sound fonts are much better but I agree some features that I found useful occasionally are gone. It used to be possible to change the tempo of the entire score by percentage which made it possible to try out different tempos easily.
When I post to YouTube it doesn't automatically zoom out to show the whole score. I'm sure it used to. I published a Symphony and all that could be seen was the wind section. No point in publishing that.
MS 4 crashes less often than 3.6.2, rarely i fact, but is weighed down by the size of the sound fonts. I need a more powerful computer now.
I really don't like to look a gift horse in the mouth and in my experience, for my purposes, it is better but it's surprising they dropped a few things from 3.6.
Finally, if a score gets corrupted, you're out of luck. There seems to be no way to diagnose or correct the problem. You could do that in 3.6 even though it was very tedious and time consuming.
I hope there'll be some upgrades and ptches coming soon.

I don't use MU4 and it is hard for me to imagine
that this software will get as solid and functional as MU3 any time soon.
Even if all the bugs get fixed within the next 12 months, there is
still a list of regression, which is 4 times longer than the list of new features.
So I agree that MU4 is in fact a significant downgrade in stability, performance and functionality.
Maybe the whole playback revolution should first have been outsourced into
a musescore player, which you could use to playback or export a musescore file.
Now it seems as if the team has somehow lost control over the code.
Yes, the new playback can achieve some spectacular results,
but still, in the end of the day I'm using MU to write music.

In reply to by oMrSmith

Bugs are a matter of opinion. I would never pay for MS3. It is not as good as Sibelius. If you tried the free versions of paid software, those hardly count. Not even close. Playback for MS4 is starting to get there. No regression for me with MS4. Is it perfect? No software is.

In reply to by bobjp

A look, I ain't perfect but Im pretty sure that you'll missing out on customization, we have a lack of, I dont like how the mixer is at the bottom of the screen, I dont like the fact that alot of the placements of some of the little tools has changed, and I really dont like the fact that I cant change it (at least by first glance). All I want is a MU3 UI template we're in the visuals are MU4 and its runs like MU4 but it acts and formulaically arranged identical to MU3. Would 100% pay money for Muescore 3. Especially more than sibelius, the lack of actual good midi, me being able to use Sonic 3s s t h instruments and other soundfonts, some quality, overall experimentation heavily beats sibelius. Plus it's much more learning curve with sibelius than there is with Musescore.

In reply to by TheGoldenOneHD

I have no idea if Sibelius can do that or not. I don't have a paid subscription to download your score.

I come from Sibelius. The only reason I use MuseScore is because someday my old copy of Sibelius won't run on a newer OS. Depending on the project, It is still my go to. I have moved several projects from Sibelius to MU4. Some of them I can make sound better. Some of them require extensive re-writing because of the poor quality of some of the fonts. Some solo fonts don't always work well with what I write.
All that said, I spend some time every day in MU4. And have done so since before it' release.

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