SMuFL support (fonts)

• Nov 27, 2023 - 02:20

Hello. I don't really understand how this works, but I'd like to use the music fonts shown here:

It seems like they've already been 'added' to MuseScore, but I don't really know what 'added' means:…
(183 – Added new range for Peter Hayes George’s Simplified Music Notation.)

Is there a way to get the fonts to replace the default fonts automatically? Or, even after it is written with standard note heads? It seems a very inaccessible thing to become knowledgeable about. I'm not even sure where I'd begin to learn out about using ALT fonts in MuseScore. I know there was a Third Party Sibelius plugin for this notation, but it's not available anymore. Thanks.


  1. In MuseScore 4 open a score, then open the Master palette (Shift+F9)
  2. Scroll down to the Symbols section and open the choices
  3. Then examine the Noteheads and Noteheads supplement sub-sections - read the flyover hints with the identifier for each symbol
  4. If you can't see the symbols you need, then my guess is that the Simplified Music Notation symbols have not yet been added to MuseScore

In reply to by DanielR

> but I don't really know what 'added' means
> very inaccessible thing to become knowledgeable about
> I'd like to use the music fonts shown here

updated the handbook page just now , pls see if it clears things up.

re: another related post from OP
> interested in using 'Simplified Music Notation' as a shorthand notation while composing,

Do you mean composing as in inputting these as shorthand directly and wish musescore understand them? Even the vertical position of note is changed (shown in image below taken from the pdf, it suggests notating a double sharped C at the D space!), that just differ too much from what people usually write, I'm afraid musescore will never support inputting and understanding it.

but as said by Jojo-Schmitz and DanielR , musescore may already be capable of creating score result you want, thou it may require tedious work.

I'm not commenting on the design of new notation. but out of curiosity, what is improved when you use this as shorthand for jotting down thing versus the traditional method? seems it does not simplify anything, it just changes things up. you press D on keyboard to enter double sharped C either way. if you do not use any key signature, press B, use keyboard arrow DOWN, you get Bb in two actions.

if you want to promote the reading of the new notation, you could upload the pdf file here or elsewhere if you have it. The pdf on is paid walled to most visitors.


In reply to by msfp

Hello. It's just a keyboard tablature based on traditional notation. It identifies the black keys as absolute positions by the use of note-heads, which is especially advantageous with complex chords and no need to remember changes in key signature, or remembering accidentals, naturalised notes, etc. It has supposedly been shown to enable people to learn to sight read much faster than with traditional symbols. Some people are more comfortable with lots of symbols than others. Like guitar tablature, it's not intended for analysis or teaching traditional theory, but you can add 'history symbols' to show composers intended accidental. Incidentally, there were keyboard tablatures in use in the baroque era, and the likes of Bach were fluent in how to read them. Some people might like the 12 notes to be indicated without sharps & flats, so they can clearly indicate quatertones, etc, instead. Thanks.

In reply to by AltNotation

Thanks for the info. I read and played, and then imagined composing the SMN score provided. I have come to understand the advantages of using SMN for composing (enter pitches AS IS) in such case. it relases composer's burden of using "correct" accidentals for all black keys, the composer really don't want to convey any harmonic info. (On the other hand it restricts the possible amount of information storable on the score, the score is incapable of storing reliable harmonic inforamtion.)

you may have been using a mouse to enter notes. In the last post, i assumed computer keyboard, and it seems that using computer keyboard to enter SMN may not provide significant benefits over traditional notation. pls try musescore's Virtual Piano Keyboard…

I don't comment on reading SMN, but you mentioned Bach and now I'm very interested. Mind sharing the piece's name?

In reply to by msfp

Here is an example of German organ tablature:…. It had the advantage that you didn’t need to buy expensive ruled music manuscript paper.
This is the autograph of BWV 612, in which Bach used tablature to fit the last bars on the page:…

Here is more info and how to read it:…. I’m occasionally tempted to learn but at my age life is getting a bit short!!

In reply to by msfp

Hello. If you look at Chopin in SMN, for instance, you can see chords with lots of accidentals very easily as keyboard keys, rather than matching up accidentals with cramped note-heads. But, also for casual/amateur musicians who enjoy music but don't devote their lives to it, it could be beneficial.

I think for traditional music & serious classical musicians, you want information conveyed. It's not an alternative, its complimentary. It could even be used to show piano students the intended notes on a difficult piano score. For jazz, pop, and styles that don't need to convey information about modulations, etc, it might be beneficial and especially for dyslexics, or people with some issues with reading and/or symbols.

SMN doesn't really need much 're-learning'. Less than 20 minutes, surely, is enough to recognise note-heads as piano keys(?) I don't think double sharps & flats are an obstacle, except for score conversion, as most composers now stick to 12 keys. I think even Chopin re-spelled keys for convenience (perhaps thinking about music in terms of keyboard). When I said 'shorthand', I meant to write down by hand, although I used 'x' for flats. Thanks.

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