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May 5

MuseScore Player app available for download

We are excited to announce the release of the MuseScore Player for iOS and Android devices. With the MuseScore Player app you can read, listen, practice and perform your scores on your mobile device. Discover thousands of free scores shared by the MuseScore community by downloading the app!

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Who is this app for?

The MuseScore Player app is designed for those who want to boost their music practice, learn and memorise faster, or simply enjoy reading and listening to scores. This app will let you listen to the notes at your chosen tempo, as well as change the volume of the other parts. These features make it much easier to learn those difficult passages and speed up your ability to perfect your part!

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Why did we make MuseScore Player?

With the release of the MuseScore Player app, we are beginning to close in on our long-term vision. Just like many musicians, we at MuseScore are constantly looking for new music and arrangements to learn and perform. And for us like many other musicians, sheet music is often a frustrating obstacle that limits our ability to learn new repertoire, requiring countless hours of practice and memorization.

Much of that frustration can be attributed to the limitations of paper sheet music. If only you could hear the notes and the rhythm while practicing. If only you could zoom in on the music to make it easier to read. If only you could discover arrangements for your instrument or level without hand transcribing them. We decided we wanted to empower all musicians out there with a software to easily create digital sheet music and fix this problem altogether, thus MuseScore notation software was born.

On the heels of the success of the MuseScore notation software, we launched a sheet music sharing site at MuseScore.com. But we were still missing a critical component: a tool that would help in learning and practicing music. That’s why we are proud to share our latest creation: the MuseScore Player. This app liberates notation from the constraints of paper, and can help you learn the music you always wanted to sing or play. We hope you like it!

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By purchasing our MuseScore Player, you support us in the continued development of the free MuseScore notation software. It is common in the market of notation software that player apps are available at no cost, while their counterpart software can cost upwards of $600! We at MuseScore believe it’s more beneficial to offer this app at a low cost, and maintain the free status of the MuseScore music notation software.

Download MuseScore Player

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Available for iPadiPhoneiPod TouchKindle FireAndroid

Bach’s Goldberg Variations available in Braille

We are happy to announce the immediate availability of the Open Goldberg Variations score in braille format. It’s downloadable for free at http://opengoldbergvariations.org and we encourage you to share it.

This score will allow blind musicians to read Bach’s Goldberg Variations on braille terminal devices, or to print the score onto paper using braille embossers. We were able to make this score only with the help of the Golden Chord Braille Music Transcription Service, and with the support of over 900 backers of our recent Open Well-Tempered Clavier project.

The .brf braille file uses an internationally recognised code of ASCII characters. Depending upon which refreshable braille device is used, you may need to make an adjustment should your braille device be set up differently. The line-length is 32 cells, the page-length is 25 lines. The format is flexible enough to allow you to emboss the music in hard-copy making allowances regarding both braille embosser and choice of paper used.

This video shows Thomas Bonte, MuseScore co-founder and CEO, at the RNIB offices in London, watching the first embossing of the score, and having it reviewed by James Risdon, Music Officer at RNIB.

Here is a photo of the printed score where the braille dots are clearly visible.

Open Goldberg Variations Braille Edition

This is part is an ongoing effort to make sheet music more accessible to blind and visually impaired musicians through the use of MuseScore. A big thank you again to RNIB, UKAAF and anyone who supported us to accomplish this project.

Join MuseScore for Google Summer of Code 2014

MuseScore is part again of Google Summer of Code 2014 (GSoC)! If you are a student and you have aspirations to help improve the open source MuseScore notation software during the summertime, this is an unique opportunity to work together with the MuseScore developers and getting paid for it. Learn all about GSoC and how to apply for it.

If you are considering applying, we have a list of ideas you can choose from. You can also apply with your own idea. Don’t hesitate to contact the potential mentors from the ideas list or contact us via IRC (#musescore on freenode.net), via the developer mailing list or by leaving a comment on this post.

Don’t let you scare off by the knowledge prerequisites. You don’t need to be an expert, and there is some time for learning within the GSoC period. However, familiarity with Qt/C++ and interest in music and music notation will be helpful. If you are still doubting, read Am I good Enough?

Oct 1

Turning your sheet music into Braille

Long before we even started developing MuseScore, we were driven by a personal quest to make it easier for ourselves to learn to play our instrument. As sheet music is the cornerstone of music education, having access to the right scores at the right time is very crucial to step through the barriers of mastering your instrument. If we solve this problem for ourselves, we solve this for everyone. At least, so we thought.

Over the past 5 years, we were fully dedicated to make easy to use notation software, which creates beautiful sheet music and is freely available to everyone. And clearly we were doing something right. At times we were getting overwhelmed by the many positive testimonials from MuseScore users, which was very rewarding. But we also learned that we missed out on some musicians among you. Actually, we missed out on those who need most help of all: blind and visually impaired musicians.

Today we would like to announce a campaign to make MuseScore scores accessible in Braille. Our research shows that it is possible to apply open source technology to the scores already shared by the community on MuseScore.com and create Braille scores from them. It is a very ambitious goal but we have a plan and we would like to present to you.

We are currently 5% away from our Kickstarter goal to set free Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier. Anything beyond the original Kickstarter goal will be used to fund the development to turn MuseScore scores into Braille. First, we want to release the Open Well-Tempered Clavier as a Braille score. With some extra resources we can also release a Braille version of the Open Goldberg Variations score. Then, we want to build a free service for converting any MusicXML file into Braille. Finally, we want to convert all available scores on MuseScore.com into Braille music, and thereby radically increase the number of Braille scores available.

We need substantial financial resources to accomplish this important mission. We will invest in high-level software engineering, accessibility testing, and regulation of the quality of the Braille scores. You can directly support this cause by selecting one of several backer rewards on our Kickstarter fundraiser page.

A special reward to dedicate this campaign will be a new work of art, something that both sighted and blind people can see, consisting of a limited edition print of a newly commissioned painting that is also embossed with the Braille rendition of the beginning of the Well-Tempered Clavier. This reward is available at the new $175 level, and is now included in all of the reward levels above that.

Please join our cause and support us on Kickstarter.image

The first measures of the Goldberg Variations Aria. From top to bottom: excerpt of the manuscript, the score and conversion to Braille.

Open Well-Tempered Clavier - Ba©h to Bach

Two years after the successful Open Goldberg Variations project, we are teaming up again with pianist Kimiko Ishizaka to liberate another masterpiece of Bach. We’re happy to present to you the Open Well-Tempered Clavier - Ba©h to Bach

With your support we want to create a new digital edition and studio recording of J.S. Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier (Book 1), and we’re placing them in the public domain for everyone to download, own, share, and use, without any limitations.

Long time MuseScore user and typesetter Olivier Miquel will be creating a beautiful score that is as true to Bach’s manuscript as it can be. He will be assisted by lead developer Werner Schweer who will use this challenge as an opportunity to further improve the MuseScore software. Your support will also allow German-Japanese pianist Kimiko Ishizaka to play on a Bösendorfer piano and record in the Teldex Studio, with Anne-Marie Sylvestre as the producer. 

We are raising funds to liberate this work through Kickstarter, where you can pledge an amount and select one of the reward tiers. Rewards include copies of the printed score (GRIN Verlag edition); the Double CD (PARMA Recordings’ Navona Label); USB sticks with LOTS of cool files; scans of Kimiko Ishizaka’s study scores with fingerings, phrasing, and analysis markings; private lessons or concerts with Kimiko Ishizaka; and VIP tickets to upcoming concerts and the CD release parties (Berlin, Paris, London, New York).

Perhaps the nicest backer reward, however, is the dedication of one of the Preludes or Fugues. One of the 48 pieces is dedicated to someone or something you love or honour. This dedication will appear in all published formats of the work, including the printed score and commercial CD. Since this is a public domain work, and will be stored on all of the important internet archives and libraries, your dedication will exist and be remembered for as long as humans listen to music. This is your chance to do something eternal for someone you love. Dedications are typically 1-3 lines of text.

Please support us via http://kck.st/openwtc

MuseScore as a tool for the choir of the future

From now on we will start highlighting some interesting use cases of MuseScore on this blog. We found that talking with our users is a very inspirational way to improve MuseScore and we thought that bringing their stories back to the community could also inspire other MuseScore users.  

We see that MuseScore is used by a lot of choirs and choir directors. One of the most forward thinking users in the MuseScore community is the Norwegian conductor Kjetil Aamann. During an interview we learnt how Kjetil makes use of digital tools such as MuseScore. He also shared his vision about how choirs could operate in the future.

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Kjetil, can you tell us a bit more about your choir?

ConVita is the name of the choir where I began using MuseScore a couple of years ago. It is a mixed voice community choir consisting of 25 amateur singers. About half of the singers can read music. ConVita performs three or four concerts per year in addition to small, short performances. The concert venues may be churches, small concert halls, etc. But they also love to do flash mobs and have done so in shopping malls, airports and other public areas in Norway and abroad. 

The repertoire spans from classical choral repertoire, including medieval music, via pop arrangements to experimental stuff that involves real time improvisation. Often they use instrumental accompaniment of some kind, or even pre-recorded backing track music.

You uploaded a big part of your repertoire to MuseScore. Why did you want to take your music scores to the digital world?

Digital scores have a lot of advantages. I must have hundreds of kilograms of printed music lying around, and it can take a lot of time to find the sheets of paper that I am looking for. By storing digital scores online, I have always access to them, wherever I am. I can study scores on trains, in airports (and even on board of the aircraft), and while sitting in a cafe. 

I often travel to teach at music academies or to give workshops at festivals and conferences. If I need to find a score to show to my students, I have access to the music instantly. 

However, it takes time to create digital scores. Nowadays, when I buy a printed score, I make a digital copy of it immediately, before I have time to spill coffee on the printed music. But I have thousands of printed scores lying around that I haven’t made digital versions of yet. 

Why did you start using MuseScore?

I scan printed music to make pdf versions of the scores. When I write music, I use MuseScore. Earlier, I used Igor Engraver and Sibelius, and I still have a version of Sibelius on one of my computers. When I began using MuseScore a few years ago, I thought that I would use it only for simple notation and would turn to Sibelius when writing more complex scores. But after a couple of months, I realised that I never opened Sibelius to write music anymore. 

First time I installed MuseScore on a computer, I was on vacation, but one afternoon I wanted to write an arrangement. I only had a small computer in my bag (a netbook), and there was no notation software installed on it. So I downloaded MuseScore and used it to write the arrangement, then I took my netbook to the hotel reception and asked them to print it. After the vacation, I installed MuseScore on my other computers. MuseScore is a compact application, and since it is free software that can run on several platforms, I don’t have to worry about which notation software my colleagues around the world use. If I want to share some music with them, I send them a file via email and include a link so that they can download MuseScore if they don’t already have it installed. 

I also encourage singers in ConVita to install MuseScore on their computers so that they can play around with the arrangements I send them. Actually, some of the singers began writing choral arrangements themselves.

What do you consider as the main advantages of MuseScore?

The integration with the sharing platform at musescore.com is, in my opinion, what makes MuseScore so special. When I write an arrangement, it takes a few seconds before it is available online so that ConVita singers have access to it. 

I have no idea how many scores I have in my repertoire. I guess I have a few thousand scores in digital versions. Less than a thousand of them stored on musescore.com, and the rest stored on Google Drive. 

In a couple of weeks, I will conduct a workshop during a festival abroad. I wrote a handful of arrangements for the workshop. Earlier, I would have sent printed versions of my arrangements to the festival organizers with air mail from Norway to Serbia so that they could make copies of them, put them in envelopes and mail them to the participating singers in advance. Since the world has changed, I can now send a handful of links by email to the festival organizers, which they in turn send by email to the participants. When I meet the singers at the workshop, they already heard the choral arrangements (by playing them on musescore.com) and they bring their own scores: either they printed them on the printer they have at home, or they read their scores on their tablets.

How does MuseScore change the way your choir operates?

When I write an arrangement, I store it on musescore.com and I send a link to the score to every member of the choir. The choir members usually download the pdf version of the score in order to print it, or they store the pdf on a tablet. One of the singers also already installed the MuseScore player on an Android tablet

Our choir rehearsals are more or less conducted the same way, whether we use printed music or digital music. But when the singers rehearse at home, having digital scores that can be replayed, such as MuseScore files, gives them a powerful tool. An alto can extract her own voice from the score and have it played from her computer while singing along with it. Singers also make sound files from the MuseScore files and place them on their phones or mp3 players that they carry around with them. 

Do you use mobile devices for handling music scores?

I have a 10” tablet and a smartphone. Both are Android devices, and since my digital scores are stored on musescore.com and Google Drive, I have always access to them. I use a number of different music apps. As a choral conductor, one of the most important apps is a simple tuning fork. But sound recorders, synthesizers, sequencers etc. are also important tools. I wrote some music for choir and smartphones where the singers use sound generating apps while singing. Singers in ConVita use smartphones to record during rehearsals and listen to the recordings while rehearsing at home. Many of them have scores stored on their tablets. 

I also use my tablet during concerts. I simply place the tablet on a music stand and I am ready to go. Nowadays, many choral singers also use tablets during concerts. When singing a large work, such as an oratorium or a long mass, a tablet is lighter than a printed score. 

Mobile apps for musicians are evolving, and new tools are being developed constantly. At the same time, tablet computers are becoming more and more affordable. I see more and more singers showing up at rehearsals with tablets instead of printed scores. In the months to come, I expect that my mobile tool chest will expand. 

I look forward to the day when I can stand in line for a security check at Oslo airport and write a couple of bars choral music using an application on my mobile phone, and publish it before boarding my flight. When that day comes, I will open a bottle of champagne!

 

Kjetl’s choir ConVita doing a flashmob at Oslo airport, not yet with smartphones or tablets

Warp speed, Mr. Sulu

Isn’t it a composer’s dream to get heard by thousands of people? Composer Arthur Breur accomplished this with a ragtime he created in honour of George Takei’s birthday. George Takei is best known for his portrayal of Mr. Sulu in the Star Trek series. And just like he did on the USS Enterprise, Mr. Sulu pushed the ragtime views counter into warp speed by tweeting about the song to his 600,000+ followers.

Listen to Arthur’s ragtime below or check out the videoscore he created. Well done Arthur!

Ragtime #3: George Takei Rag by arthurbreur

Mar 1

MuseScore 1.3 is released

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We released MuseScore 1.3 this week. It’s a bug fix release, but what is new is that we also deliver an MSI package. This will makes it much easier to install MuseScore across multiple computers, ideal for system administrators of school networks. Read more about 1.3 in your own language.

Jan 9

MuseScore in Best of Kickstarter 2012

A picture of MuseScore lead developer Werner Schweer was featured in the Best of Kickstarter 2012. It’s linked to our successful Open Goldberg Variations Kickstarter project for which Werner used MuseScore to create an open source edition of Bach’s masterpiece.


Werner Schweer on the Best of Kickstarter 2012

The new edition of Bach’s Goldberg Variations as well as a superb recording of our partner Kimiko Ishizaka were released to the public in May 2012 under Creative Commons Zero. You can listen and download the work from opengoldbergvariations.org or enjoy it on iPad with the free app for iPad.

For the curious minds who wonder what you can see in the picture, Werner is demonstrating an experimental feature in MuseScore which is currently in development. This unnamed feature will make it easier to transcribe a scanned score. The video below demonstrates it nicely. If you find a good name for this feature, let us know in the comments!

Original picture by Thomas Bonte, CC-by-nc.

MuseScore Player for Android is available

We are pleased to announce the release of the MuseScore Player for Android.

With the MuseScore Player app you can search through the more than 30,000 pieces of sheet music published on MuseScore.com. Scores are:

  • Viewable at three levels of zoom
  • Playable with adjustable tempo
  • Downloadable for offline usage

You can also connect the app with your account on MuseScore.com and access your privately stored scores.

This app has been developed for smartphones firstly. Optimizations for tablet usage will arrive in forthcoming updates, as well as the ability to open external MuseScore (.mscz) files. You can post your feature requests in the Android group, or track the status of existing ones. The app runs on any mobile device with Android version 2.3.3 and above.

“I sing in an acapella group and can have my part available at all times on my phone! Thanks for doing such a professional job.” - PJRoberts

“Just what I have been looking for to put music at my finger tips! Thanks for creating such an awesome app!”  - Laura

The MuseScore Player app is available for a one time price of $4.99. It is common in the market of notation software that player apps are available at no cost, while their counterpart editors can cost up to $600. Hence, we believe it’s more beneficial to everyone to offer the mobile player apps at low cost, and maintain the free status of the editing software MuseScore.

Thank you for your support and enjoy having your sheet music collection always with you!



Image credits: Reunion by Marc Sabatella, licensed under CC-by.