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Using Notation Software: Finale, MuseScore, and Sibelius

Music Notation Software

Some assignments require music notation software and let's face it, using them is faster and more legible than writing music on staff paper by hand. However, it takes some time to learn the software or lacking that, a really good cheat sheet. This guide has some quick introductions to the ins and outs of the most used music notation software along with helpful keyboard shortcuts that can really save you time and hopefully will reduce the confusion learning this software can cause.

There are three main pieces of software covered in this guide: Finale, MuseScore, and Sibelius. 



Finale is used by major and minor publishers around the world and can be found on music library computers at universities far and wide. Probably the most well-known proprietary music notation software, it was one of the first out on the market and has undergone many changes over the years. This guide will cover the edition available here in the Music Library. 



If you don't want to buy Finale and you want to have score-writing software on your own computer, you will probably want to look into MuseScore. It's a free, open source music notation software, and while it had a lot of bugs not long ago, it keeps getting better and more advanced and in the past few years gives Finale a run for its money. 



Originally released a few years after Finale, Sibelius is another very popular notation software. Touted by its proponents as being more intuitive than Finale, it is definitely worth investigating. This guide will cover the edition available here in the Music Library.