Create your first score

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    Overview

    This chapter is a quickstart tutorial suitable for absolute beginners. It demonstrates the most basic workflow. There are also a number of similar learning resources available online, see Getting help.

    In this chapter we'll

    1. quickly create a new score which has
      • a common predefined instruments setup (template) of your choice,
      • no sharps or flats in the key signature,
      • 4/4 time signature, and
      • 32 measures,
    2. add notes and rests and other notation objects,
    3. listen to the result,
    4. adjust score and notation objects' properties and the number of measures,
    5. save the score file in a native file format, so that it is fully editable when reopened in Musescore, and
    6. export score data as non-native formats such as PDF, MusicXML, MIDI, so that other applications can utilize it. It is not the recommended way to store a score.

    Quickly create a new score

    When you open Musescore, no score file is created or opened by default (unless you have changed settings in Preferences:General:Program start). You need to create an empty score and the first thing to consider is adding empty staves using instruments setup. The quickest way is to use a predefined template:

    1. Do either one of the following:
      • in the Home: Scores tab, select New score, or click New (bottom right).
      • From the menu, select File→New.
      • Use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+N (Mac: Cmd+N).
    2. In the New score dialog that appears, click Choose from template, browse templates by Category, or use the search bar to look up a template directly,
    3. Click Done to create your new score.

    Create new score (animated image)

    Learn more about instruments and how to add them and their staffs individually in Setting up your score:Instruments.
    Learn more about template in Setting up your score:Create from template, and Templates and styles.

    Entering score information

    For the sake of simplicity, we're skipping these setups and using the default values listed earlier, but you should know that you can either add info such as key signature, time signature and tempo, pickup measure (anacrusis or upbeat measure):

    Entering notes and rests

    A new score is automatically filled with rests. The default note input mode is based on the logic that, when a new note or rest is added by the user, the subsequent notes and rests in that bar adjust their duration (note or rest value) automatically without altering the total number of beats in the bar; this is called overwrite. One way to enter new notes and rests in MuseScore is by using a computer keyboard. It is designed to be similar to typing in a word processor such as Microsoft Word:

    1. Press N to enter note input mode. A thin and tall light blue box with a clear blue left edge spanning the whole staff is now visible, indicating note input mode. The box is positioned at the beat position where the note will appear.
    2. Type (A, B, C, D, E, F, G) for notes, and type zero (0) for rests.

    Entering notes (animated image)

    Note value is specified before typing pitches.

    1. Ensure you are in note input mode as explained above.
    2. Click on the desired note value in the Note input toolbar, or use keyboard number keys 1 through 7 and the full stop, period, or dot key ..
    3. Type pitches as explained above.

    Changing note durations (animated image)

    You’re now engraving in MuseScore! Learn more about this topic in Entering notes and rests.

    Adding items from the palettes

    The Palettes panel contains the notation objects most commonly used. The Palettes panel is visible by default, if this is not the case, open it by checking View→Palettes, or pressing keyboard shortcut F9 first. To show the panel, click the Palettes tab on the left side of the screen. The simplest way to add palette items is to:

    1. Select an existing object (or range of objects) in your score (e.g. a notehead, clef, measure, etc.)
    2. In the Palettes panel, expand a palette by clicking the triangular arrow button
    3. Click a palette item

    adding palette items to the score (animated image)

    Learn more about this topic in Palettes

    Listening to the result

    Musescore's notation object interpreter and audio synthesizer provide audio playback. To listen to the score, simply press Space, or use the Play toolbar, see Playback controls.

    Dynamics symbols affect instrument playback depending on the sound data used (SoundFonts, Muse Sounds, or VSTi, see MuseScore 3 features not (yet) implemented in MuseScore 4:Velocity controls). When an instrument use SoundFonts such as MS Basic ( as with the default setting, see Mixer chapter ) and no dynamics symbol is added in the score, all notes are played mf (mezzoforte).

    When Tempo markings are not present, the playback of passages follows a default pace of 120 crotchet (quarter note) would have been in one minute. This convenient default value is decided by Musescore programmers and may not be the same as 120 (common sense musical) beats per minute.

    Making adjustments in Properties Panel

    locating the properties panel image

    The Properties panel is an upgraded version of the Inspector in other Musescore versions. It shows layout and playback properties of the selected objects or selected characters inside Text object. When nothing is selected, it shows the properties of the score. The Properties panel is visible by default, if this is not the case, open it by checking View→Properties, or pressing F8 first. To show the panel, click the Properties tab on the left side of the screen, see image above.

    To show and adjust properties of the score,

    1. Click an empty space in the score, outside all staffs.
    2. Properties are shown in the Properties panel, adjust them as required.

    To show and adjust properties of element(s),

    1. Click to select element(s) in the score, each selected element is shown colored either blue, green, orange, or purple depending on the Voice it is assigned to.
    2. Properties are shown in the Properties panel, adjust them as required.

    To show and adjust properties of selected characters inside a Text object,

    1. Click to select a Text element in the score
    2. Double click to enter edit mode
    3. Drag to select characters, or use Shift and arrow keys
    4. Properties are shown in the Properties panel, adjust them as required.

    Learn more about this topic in the Selecting elements, the Properties Panel , and the Entering and editing text chapters .

    Inserting and deleting measures

    inserting and deleting measures (animated image)

    To insert measure(s):

    1. Click on a measure to select it. The selected measure is shown enclosed in a blue box.
    2. In Properties Panel : Measures section, click Insert measures.
    3. Select desired number of measures; use the dropdown menu to change the point of insertion.
    4. Click the + button

    To delete measure(s):

    1. Select the unwanted measure(s). Use Shift+click to select a range, see Selecting elements chapter.
    2. In Properties Panel : Measures section, click the trash can icon

    Learn more about this topic in the main chapter Measures.

    Saving your score

    Saving the score in a native file format records all of its edits, it is also fully editable when reopened in Musescore. Scores can be saved locally, or to a cloud storage provided free of charge to every registered user. See also Publish to musescore.com and Share on Audio.com chapters.

    To save your score locally:

    1. Select File→Save
    2. In the dialog that appears, select folder and fill in the required info such as file name, click Save or OK

    To save your score to the cloud:

    1. Select File→Save to Cloud.
    2. You may be asked to sign in to your account on musescore.com.
    3. Fill in the Name of your score.
    4. Set a Visibility. Private means only you may see your score. Unlisted means anyone with the correct link may see your score. Public means anyone may see your score.
    5. Press Save.

    When saving to the cloud, an additional local copy is created automatically to provide offline editing functionality. A cloud score can be reopened inside the Home: Scores tab, it is marked with a small blue cloud symbol at the top left corner in the preview thumbnail.

    Learn more about this topic in the main chapter Opening and saving scores.

    Exporting your score

    Exporting is not the recommended way to store a score, see "Saving your score" section instead.

    Exporting is saving a score in a format that applications other than Musescore can utilize. These non-native formats includes PDF, MusicXML, MIDI etc. To export the full score:

    1. Select the Publish tab
    2. Click Export
    3. Select the file format
    4. Click Export

    Learn more about this topic in the main chapter File export.