Take the 2-minute tour ×
Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I'm taking a music composition course and it's highly recommended we grab some software for music composition, the two most popular being Sibelius and Finale. They aren't overly pricey, as both have student versions, but I was wondering if anyone knew of some good free music composition programs.

share|improve this question
I love superuser because you can actually ask similar questions and get real answer :) –  Pitto Dec 9 '10 at 17:02
add comment

closed as off topic by random Nov 25 '12 at 4:21

Questions on Super User are expected to relate to computer software or computer hardware within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

5 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Check out MuseScore http://www.musescore.org/

Its terrific and open source.

EDIT: Sept. 2011: http://musescore.org/en/download

Edit: No Longer in Beta, and very useful.

EDIT: As Open Source implies, this is a collaborative effort. It has a fantastic group of developers and wonderful support. It is being translated into many, many languages and is available for Linux, Mac and Windows.

Highly recommended.

(I am not a part of this product except as a user).

EDIT: Here is a comparison of MuseScore and Finale Notepad. This is a MuseScore site. http://musescore.org/comparing-musescore-and-finale-notepad-feature-feature

EDIT: Beta 0.9.6 beta 2 released: http://prereleases.musescore.org/windows/

EDIT: 0.9.6 released http://musescore.org/en/node/6002

Edit: 1.0 released.

Edit: Getting better and better.

EDIT: Update: 1.2 released:http://musescore.org/en/musescore-1.2-released

share|improve this answer
Looks great, checking it out now, Thanks! –  Evan Sep 24 '09 at 21:53
Please post your impressions. Regards. –  Xavierjazz Sep 28 '09 at 5:15
Unfortunately even the recent version (0.9.5) is way too unstable. Sometimes the file gets corrupted so I lose my work. But it's an effort worth mentioning, and by far the most mature among its alternatives (Canorus, Denemo). –  thSoft Feb 4 '10 at 12:52
@thSoft - Version 0.9.6 is now released - much more stable. –  Xavierjazz Feb 25 '10 at 20:12
1.0 and getting better! –  Xavierjazz Apr 8 '11 at 11:37
add comment

There's also Lilypond, which is to Finale/Sibelius what Latex is to Microsoft Word - you write music in a text file as a series of notes and run it through the Lilypond processor which converts it to a PDF & MIDI file. It's now quite mature and produces beautiful music.

share|improve this answer
+1 So many thanks for mentioning LilyPond! It handles literally all aspects of musical notation, lays out the score automatically the optimal way, and is free and cross-platform software. –  thSoft Feb 4 '10 at 12:53
I'd just like to point out that while it is beautiful and I love using it, it's got a really painful learning curve. –  Babu Dec 9 '10 at 16:35
add comment

I highly recommend using LilyPond, but with an auxiliary editor that makes editing more convenient (a little bit closer to WYSIWYG):

share|improve this answer
add comment

If your requirements are moderate, maybe NoteFlight is for you - it's a free online music notation editor.

share|improve this answer
free up to a point –  rogerdpack May 1 '11 at 2:31
add comment

Musink is an excellent free music composition application I use. It's Windows only and really easy to use (less clunky than Sibelius or Finale). Very quick to write with, creates PDFs, PNGs, MIDI files etc. Free download from http://musink.net

share|improve this answer
I think the question has been deemed off topic as "a shopping or buying recommendation" (though you mention free download!) and though a useful answer I think we should discourage off topic questions. –  pnuts Nov 25 '12 at 6:03
add comment

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.