15 Best Free Music Notation Software For Windows

Here is a list of 15 best free music notation software for Windows. If you need a software to compose musical notations in printable form, you can go through this list and choose any one of them. Using these software, you can create, edit, modify, and print sheet music.

These music notation freeware provide all essential tools which are required to compose an audio piece. You can add time signatures, key signatures, notes, clefs, chords, voice, bars, rests, marks, texts, etc. You can compose your own songs, music, soundtracks, etc. using the options provided by these software. They also let you select music genre, desired instrument, customize staff properties, adjust tempo, change pitch, set voice and stave settings, generate guide tone, create beats, etc. In addition to that, some of these software provide advanced functionalities too, like voice editor, textual editor, Pianoroll Editor, virtual piano keyboard, text annotations, synthesizer, metronome, etc. They also come with a built-in player to listen to the audio piece which you have to composed.

Many of these software let you use the keyboard to insert musical notations to a project. Some of them even provide hotkeys for quick access to common tools and functions. You can also customize layout style of the document, like page size, view, margin, border, etc. They support popular sheet music file formats like MIDI and MusicXML for import and export. You can also print musical notations as PDF files or save sheet music as PNG, JPEG, BMP, etc.

My Favorite Music Notation Software:

MuseScore is one of my favorites as it provides variety of tools to compose sheet music. Also, it supports a good range of formats (like FLAC, WAV, PDF, etc.) to export audio piece and sheet music. It is quite easy to use.

I liked Impro-Visor too, as it provides some good tools like Roadmap, Theme Weaver, Grammar Controller, Voicing Keyboard, etc. to compose and customize music projects. You can also work on multiple musical compositions in different windows at a time using this software.

If you are good at writing music, LilyPond is a good option. It is a text based music notation software and creates high quality sheet music in the form of PDF.

For beginners, I would recommend MagicScore Piano, as it is easy to use and comes with basic functionalities of a music notation software.

You can also checkout the list of best free Audio Editor and Audio Speed Changer software for Windows.

MuseScore



MuseScore is a free music notation software for Windows. Using this software, you can create and edit printable sheet music files by composing customized music pieces through scores and notes. It provides a tool panel with quickly accessible functions to create sheet music. These functions include Grace Notes, Clefs, Key Signatures, Time Signatures, Lines, Tempo, Text, Articulations & Ornaments, and more. Other tools to mention are Synthesizer, Piano Keyboard, Mixer, etc., which can be used to compose musical notations with notes and staves.

It also provides an option of ‘Pianoroll Editor‘ with parameters like velocity, pitch, len, etc. to customize. You can also select an instrument to add elements in your music piece. It provides hotkeys for most of the functions.

It also provides an option to change sheet music layout, where you can customize page view, page size, scaling, margin, etc. Also, you can customize style, text font, etc.

You can work on multiple projects at a time in different tabs. It also lets you convert sheet music PDF to MCSZ file using Import PDF option. But, you will need to register on its official website to do so.

It supports multiple file types like MuseScore, MusicXML, Muse data files, MIDI, Capella, Guitar Pro, etc., to import. To save sheet music, it supports various formats like PDF, PNG, and SVG. You can also save output as an audio in formats like FLAC, WAV, MP3, and OGG.

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Impro-Visor



Impro-Visor is an open source music notation software. It lets you create and edit musical notations in form of a leadsheet to organize elements of music, like harmony, melody, lyrics, etc. You can enter notes (upto 32nd note), chords, keys, and other basic elements required to compose music.

You can generate a guide tone in different scales, note duration, and desired range. Also, you can create licks using a series of notes.

It provides a “Utilities” feature which has advanced tools like Advising Keyboard, Voicing Keyboard, Voicing Editor, Leadsheet Textual Editor, Theme Weaver, Style Editor and Extractor, Grammar Controller, etc. Its also has a Roadmap option to manage and view flow control of a leadsheet. You can easily move and transpose to view a song structure using this feature. You can play the composed music at any time using Play option. It also supports active and passive trading.

For importing and editing, it supports leadsheets files (.ls) and MIDI tracks. To save musical notations, you can export them as leadsheet, MIDI, and PDF (using Print option).

Impro-Visor is one of the best music notation software which provides advanced features to create, edit, and print sheet music. In case of any difficulty, you can check text and video tutorials on its website here.

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LilyPond



Lilypond is a text based music notation software. It lets you create sheet music by writing code for music.

It might be a little difficult for beginners to make sheet music using this software. So, to help you, I am writing down the steps which I have used to create musical notations using LilyPond.

  1. Open LilyPond. A Notepad file will open up, delete its content. We will write our music here.
  2. Now, first thing to write is the version of LilyPond you installed.
  3. Then, write simple notes. The final code will look something like this:

\version "2.19.62"

{ c’ d’ e’ f’ }

To know syntax for other functions, you can check complete user manual here.

Now, save this file with .ly extension. To convert it into a printable form, you just have to drag the file onto LilyPond’s desktop icon (as depicted in snapshot above). After that, a PDF file will be created for you to see and print sheet music.

Using LilyPond to create musical notations might seem tough, but the results are worth it. You can create high quality sheet music using notes, clefs, pitches, rhythms, repeats, marks, texts, etc. You can also create specific styles for specific instruments. Also, it lets you design desired page layout, export music composition as MIDI files, etc.

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Finale NotePad



Finale NotePad is another music notation software for Windows. You can compose a piece of music in printable form by using staves and notes. Unfortunately, in the free version of this software, you can only use up to eight staves in one file.

There are different functions available on the toolbar which let you quickly add full, half, quarter, eight, 16th, and 32nd notes, create tuplets, and add rests too. It also comes with tools like playback control, smart shape palette, file utilities palette, etc. You can set the measurement unit to either inches or centimeters. Other features of Finale NotePad include paper layout selection, selecting fonts, zooming (in/out), etc.

It also provides hotkeys for different commands, like editing commands (enter note, add pitch, change duration, etc.), navigation commands, and TAB specific commands.

Using this musical notations freeware, you can import and export files in formats like MusicXML, MID, and MUS.

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Crescendo




Crescendo is another free music notation software to create sheet music. You can create your own music, scores, and soundtracks in this easy-to-use software.

You can compose a music piece by adding one, half, quarter, eighth, sixteenth, and thirty-second notes and rests, and by using other options like accent, clefs, marks, tuplet, slur, dynamics, etc. It lets you change key signatures and time signatures. You can add text by using text tool and customize some other settings like page layout, staff settings, repetition, and tempo of your output music notation.

It provides playback option and an option to set instrument and VSTi too. You can use hotkeys for each option to quickly access them.

You can import Crescendo score(.CDO) and MIDI files to this music notation freeware for editing. You can save sheet music in formats like MIDI, CDO, PDF, or image formats like PNG, JPEG, BMP, GIF, PGF, RAS, etc.

Crescendo is a good music notation software. It also comes with additional install-on demand software which you can download when needed, like PitchPerfect Guitar Tuning Software, PlayPerfect Music Practice Software, Wavepad Audio Editor, TempoPerfect Metronome Software, etc.

Note: It is free to use only for non-commercial purposes.

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Lime



Lime is a portable music notation software. It lets you create, edit, and print musical notations by providing various tools for the same. To start with a new piece of music, you can add measures and time signatures. In addition to that, you have some advanced options like Advanced Alternation (metronome, or signature, or both), Time (normal, compound, common, and cut), Polytempo Duration Multiplier, etc. You can add and edit other essential music symbols like voice, clefs, key signatures, bar lines, system brackets, etc. It also provides an option to save settings for various parameters, like lyrics and text annotation, accidentals, keys, and chord symbols, beaming, dynamic markings, hairpins, lines, marks, ornaments, accents, staff lines, margins, notes spacing, and many more.

It provides a separate window for Piano, which you can use to add grace notes, tie, slur, cue, gliss, text, line, and curve annotations. You can also work on multiple music compositions in different windows at a time.

You can import Lime (.lim), MusicXML, MIDI, and NIFF files to edit and modify. For exporting, it supports Lime, MusicXML, and MIDI file formats. You can also save the sheet music as PDF and XPS by using the Print option.

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Musink




Musink is another free music notation software which lets you create nice and clean sheet music. You can compose music by adding key signatures, staves, bars, notes, rests, scores, marks, drum keys, clef, offsetting and free text, etc. You can also change barline and time signature of the notations.

You can customize voice and stave settings, like accent, anti-accent, gruppetto, stacatto, tenuto, fermata placement, tuplet bracket placement, etc. You can also customize some options for notes, rests and marks, appearance, performance, playback and MIDI, confirm dialog, and others. It also provides music playback option and auto-layout system.

Using this musical notations software, you can import only a Musink project (.musink) to edit and print. You can save a composition as a Musink project or export it as MIDI file. You can also publish your music composition as XPS, PDF, and PNG. You can also separately export drum loops as MIDI.

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Denemo



Denemo is a free music notation software for Windows. It lets you create sheet music by using various input options like MIDI input, audio input, etc. You can add notes, rests, clefs, keys, time signatures, and other musical symbols required to compose music. You can also use Object Editor to inspect notes, edit them, go to previous or next note, add or remove attributes, etc. Options to edit staff and voice properties, like selecting MIDI instrument, typeset appearance, display appearance, etc. are also available.

You can import Denemo (.denemo), Lilypond(.ly), MusicXML, and MIDI files to Denemo for editing purpose. To save sheet music, you can export it as PDF, MIDI, Denemo, PNG, or even an audio. To save it as audio, you will have to change some settings by going to Edit > Change Preference > Audio tab.

This musical notation freeware provides dual pane window: One to add input for composing music and other to view printable sheet music. Also, it allows you to work on multiple musical compositions in different tabs at the same time.

Once you get hold of Denemo, it becomes easier to create music sheet using it. To know more about how it works and features, you can check its User Manual here.

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FORTE



FORTE is another free music notation software which lets you create and edit sheet music. It is another good graphical score editing software. It provides an input palette which lets you add notes, scores, accents, dynamics, tempo, text/chords, key, meter, ornaments, repeats, clefs, etc. to create desired musical notations. You can set some notation options like resolution, duration, adding quarter note, or 64th note, type, chord name, etc. You can also edit Staff properties like instrument, appearance, performance, etc.

Import MIDI, Karaoke(.kar), FORTE(.fnf), XML, and other (.mmm, .sng) files to FORTE for editing. To save sheet music, you can export it as PDF or video.

Some functions of FORTE need additional software to work. For example, the option to export files to mobile device works only if the latest version of Dropbox is installed and configured on your PC.

Note: In this free version of FORTE, you can have only one stave per document.

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MagicScore Piano



MagicScore Piano is a free music notation software to create and print sheet music. It provides a virtual piano keyboard to compose music. You can insert notes using mouse or even your PC keyboard. Other basic music elements like slur, chord, key signatures, etc. can be used for musical notation. You can also set a note value, and choose music genre (Classic or Jazz) for the audio piece. You can also listen to the audio created.

You can import music files like MagicScore (.sfd), MIDI, Karaoke, and MusicXML, but you can save your composition in MagicScore file format and PDF (using Print option) only. You can also publish created sheet music directly on your own website in the form of music file or image (BMP, GIF, JPEG, etc.).

This freeware is a basic music notation software which provides very limited functions to compose music.

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KlavarScript



KlavarScript is a free music notation software for Windows users to create and read music. You can compose sheet music by inserting note symbols (staccato, portato, light accent, tenuto, etc.), keys (major, minor, aeolic, ionic, lonic, etc.), measure symbols (fermato, phrase, mercato, etc.), lines, stem shapes, pedal, accordion, instructions, tempi, trill, etc. You can also use the note edit mode, edit stems and beams, add a floating textblock, text anchored to timestamp, and lyrics, etc. It lets you change time signature and tempo, select desired template, add a copyright, and do more.

It supports MIDI and XML formats for importing and exporting music notations. You can use the Print option to print or save your project as a PDF or XPS document.

This software provides a traditional approach to compose and read musical notations.

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Aria Maestosa



Aria Maestosa is an open source music notation software. To start composing music, you can set key signatures, tempo, time signature, pitch (none/sharp/flat), etc. Further, you can add notes, select desired instruments to play notes (piano, bass, guitar, strings, reed, etc.), set measure bar, etc. You can add multiple tracks in one window or work on multiple compositions in different tabs. To know functionality of each tool for musical notations, see its User Manual here.

To import and export sheet music, it supports Aria Maestosa and MIDI files. You can also save sheet music as PDF or XPS using the Print option.

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Musette



Musette is another free music notation software to create and print sheet music. You can draw notes, rests, bars, accidentals, staffs, clefs, and other essential elements in order to compose your own music. You can use the Format option to change or transpose clefs, align lyrics, relocate an object from staff, etc. You can also play your composition using the built-in player.

It supports Musette and MIDI files to import music sheets to read. You can export files in the following formats: ASCII, CSV, and Songbook file. It also lets you print or save notation files in PDF using the Print option.

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Easy Music Composer



Easy Music Composer is another free music notation software. It lets you create sheet music as bitmap images (File > Save as Sheet Music).

You can compose music using notes in different scales and bars. You can use “Setting each bars” option to organize parameters like melody, chord, bass, drum, etc. It also lets you manage tone, voice, volume, tempo, etc. while creating an audio piece. You can also listen to your composition using this software.

It supports the following input and output formats: MIDI, BMP, and MF8.

Unlike previously mentioned musical notation software, it cannot create high quality sheet music.

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ABCexplorer



ABCexplorer is another text based music notation software. Unlike LilyPond, it provides a graphical interface to write your own music. You can create and edit music notation in ABC file format. You can use various tools and virtual instruments to compose an audio piece. It also provides Tempometer and Metronome to make adjustment for tempo and beats, respectively. You can play music using its DirectX based audio player.

It has a tree like structure for files and tunes management. You can import any ABC music file to edit and modify. To export sheet music, it supports formats like PDF, PNG, BMP, JPEG, MIDI, etc.

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