Music Score Software

Recommendation for a music score software.

I have been paying for Sibelius software for over a year, but could never resolve my access code problems with Avid. I have finally pulled my credit card. Their “sales people” keep telling me that they have resolved all the glitches not only associate with access codes but also with the notation problem (jumping away from the score or somewhere else when trying to make a correction) in the software itself. I have had such a difficult experience with them, I would love to get some honest feedback from people using music scoring software, particularly Sibelius because it is a good program for most of the things if one can access it.
I use a Mac and found some of the features really terrific, but also had so many problems with the program and the lack of access, that I have given up until I can be convinced it will work as promised.
Thank you for any feedback anyone can give me.

Hi Noreen,

I don’t quite understand the problem, but I’ll do my best to add value here. I purchased Sibelius many years ago when it was a one-time charge. I then paid a couple of times to upgrade to newer versions. My current version is 7-something, and continues to work well on my Windows 10 computer.

I don’t see a need to upgrade until/unless the older software no longer works as technologies progress. It makes me wonder if you could purchase an old version (license transfer?) that doesn’t run up against “access” issues? There’s also a free version that works great for simple scores, so try that if you haven’t already.

Lastly, the Sibelius forums at Avid might provide some other opinions if you haven’t tried that already.

Sorry to hear about your frustrations. Good luck!


Hey @noreen :wave:

I also use Sibelius and I have a monthly subscription with them. I think it is a $7 a month or something along those lines. As @BrianP mentioned the Avid support forums might be useful or perhaps submit a support ticket to them.

I know that a single Sibelius license grants you access on 2 machines, I have the same license running on my MacBook and on my iMac but it can be a fiddle to activate the license.

The software MuseScore is highly regarded amongst our students and teachers and it is open source so you don’t need to worry about license codes. Here is their website:

+1 for MuseScore

I’ve never tried other notation software myself but my sense from reading forums is that it’s easier to go from Sibelius to MuseScore than vice versa. As Hayden notes, MuseScore is free; however there’s a HUGE library of tunes that you can download if you join the “MuseScore Pro” community for $70 a year. I’ve probably downloaded 10-12 tunes in a year, so the cost is about the same if I had paid $5 per tune to one of the commercial transcription services. Plus, having the tune in MuseScore (or xml) format makes it really easy to annotate, transpose, reharmonize, etc.

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how easy is musescore to use and how does it compare with crescendo - that offers a free windows version for home use.
i am looking for something to quickly input simple things, without excessive keyboard and mousing around, or without wrapping my head around how to play it on a casio ct-x5000 and get something saved as a midi file and copied to my pc…
i’d like for example to rewrite some of the rootless voicings in all keys pdfs, e.g. I’d like to put each 251 chord set in both treble and bass clefs on a double clef- to practice sight reading the shapes, and also to alternate sets of type a then type B for smooth connecting all around the key cycle.

(& i tend to change my mind a lot with layouts, so I need something with easy tools to cut /paste/copy etc. and ideally to transpose.

I do already own the latest Guitar PRo software but kb input in that is clunky. its a good xml and midi reader though.

I don’t know anything about Crescendo; after a few minutes of browsing, it seems like they have a relatively small user base and it’s difficult to assess how easy it would be to use vs. MuseScore.

Note that the MuseScore business model is one where you pay a subscription to have access to a large library of transcriptions (“MuseScore Pro”), but it’s totally free to download and use the software on Mac or Windows.

It took me half a day or so to become comfortable and efficient with MuseScore. It’s possible to input notes with midi signals from an instrument but I find it easiest and most efficient to input with a computer keyboard and trackpad/mouse. Your ask–writing 251 progressions in all voicings/inversions, clefs, and keys–would take me about 10 min.

You might also have a look at this thread from last year:

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I already have some sort of cheap 12 month musescore membership, they have lots of leadsheets and piano arrangements which I wanted access to, so I probably already have access to their software. It’s the learning curve that puts me off. and also I get bad RSI if I do anything mouse intensive. Had to buy a left handed mouse last year as a preventative workaround and hide the right handed one for months to get over the last flare up. Playing keyboard seems ok, it’s drag n drop mouse actions that do most of the damage

So, good software for me will have lots of hotkey and arrow key alternatives for repetitive inouts

Hi David - there are some good hand/wrist exercises if you have RSI or worse Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). You can search on youtube.

I was diagnosed with CTS late last year given the work I did as an editor (given this up since), and as a result I had surgery on both hands given this condition.

I’m well on the road to recovery now and has taken about 6 months to get the fingers (and muscle memory) in both hands and strength back to normal. :grinning:

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