The 10 Best Music Notation And Composition Software (2023)

Music notation software has made the composition process a lot easier, as it allows you to digitally create, edit, and print sheet music with great ease.

Music writing software programs can be extremely helpful tools when it comes to composing softwares and writing music. No matter what your skill level or experience may be, there is definitely a music writing software program out there that will fit your needs.

1. MuseScore 2

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Available for FREE on Windows and Mac OS along with a great visual interface, MuseScore 2 is a top choice for many music writers and composers.

That’s just the start – its easy access to input tools and in-depth information on the notes make it even better. It also allows you to import MIDI and MusicXML files. Additionally, MuseScore 2 includes samples to try out or integrate into your compositions.

  • Free download

  • Easy to use

  • Easy import/export

2. Sibelius

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Known for its easy-to-use and wide range of templates that Sibelius first offers can kick start your imagination when you are stuck in a creative rut.

The software offers various versions, including a free version, a four-instrument version, a limited sixteen-instrument version, and a paid forty-instrument version, providing users with several options to choose from. It also provides a cloud option for storage and sharing purposes.

Sibelius First is suitable for composing music that requires up to 4 parts, making it more than sufficient.

  • Easy to use and enter notes

  • Easy composition sharing

  • No graphic image score saving

  • The limited version is priced affordably

3. Noteflight

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Noteflight is a music notation program that is user-friendly and provides a smooth performance. It is suitable for both songwriters and composers, and it offers various features that allow for customization. The program is compatible with different devices such as iPhone, Windows, and Android.

Noteflight provides an online platform that allows users to share their compositions and collaborate with others in real-time. Its compatibility with learning systems like Google Classroom makes it an advantageous tool for students and educators. Additionally, the program has an online community that facilitates discussions among its users.

  • Free and Remote use

  • Easy sharing

  • To get ‘unlimited’ features, you need a paid subscription or lifetime license.

4. QuickScore Elite Level II

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The QuickScore Elite Level II allows for unique audio and MIDI editing to give the users room for creativity. The latest update is compatible with the VST plugin and instruments.

The QuickScore Elite is great for recording, synchronization, playback, and audio mixing which makes it a creative hub for all kinds of music notation and alterations.

  • Extensive editing options

  • Easy edit and record

5. Notion 6

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Notion 6 is an extremely compatible and accessible software supported with the MIDI device. It allows swift input MIDI notes from your keyboard and virtual guitar/piano.

A wide instrumental library, exquisite design, and composition-friendly interface make it a winning performer that too without an intrusive manual.

Although the software is a little on the pricier side the investment is worth it if you are serious about music writing. Artists like the Wooten brothers and the London Symphony Orchestra have chosen this software for their recordings.

  • Very good editing options
  • Comprehensive platform
  • Extremely detailed

6. Finale PrintMusic

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The Finale PrintMusic is another application that offers splendid features which include easy navigation, note entry tools, and editing options.

Nicknamed as the ‘Human Playback’, the Finale PrintMusic provides instrumental playbacks that are very close to reality like strings, percussion, and horns.

  • Supports PDF, graphic file, and MP3 with easy exports

  • Affordable price

  • Only available for Windows

7. MagicScore Maestro 8

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MagicScore Maestro is another writing software application that provides you with a good arsenal for notation, editing, and composing.

It also offers virtual piano as a top-notch feature, editing velocities, and many templates. MagicScore Maestro 8 also contains shortcuts for easy accessibility.

  • Save scores to Audio Files
  • Fast input tool

8. Dorico Pro 2

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Dorico Pro 2 is made by Steinberg, the maker of the VST plugin standard, and the maker of Cubase, the well-known DAW.

Its professional design and easy-to-use interface are impressive. Furthermore, Dorico Pro 2 provides a smart layout and instrumental adjustments while you write and compose with a vast playback library of almost 1500 sounds.

  • Best automatic engraving

  • Piano roll MIDI editor

  • Import and export to and from other programs via MusicXML, MIDI, PDF, etc.

  • DTP page layout

9. Denemo (Using Lilypond)

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(Windows, Mac, Linux)

Lilypond is an open-source application that uses text-based input by default. We recommend using an application such as Denemo, which makes it MUCH easier to use.

Using lilypond by itself is not recommended unless you are into programming-style interfaces. Denemo makes great use of the lilypond application, which produces beautiful sheet music.

  • Free to use
  • Great score transcription
  • Useful for beginners as well as veterans

10. Forte 11

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Forte 11 sports a highly intuitive interface and workflow that makes writing music a breeze. The software also includes a companion reader app in addition to the new and improved music ribbon at your disposal that includes every editing that you will need from start to finish.

The software also allows varied note inputs such as your computer keyboard, MIDI keyboard, or virtual piano. Forte 11 offers a basic and a premium version, whereas the latter is more suitable for musicians with advanced skill sets.

  • Incompatible with Mac OS.

  • Smooth workflow

  • Well designed interface


Music notation and composition software programs can be useful tools for composers to write and organize their musical ideas. These programs offer features such as easy navigation, note-entry tools, and editing options that can aid the composition process. While some of these programs may have a high price tag, they can be worth the investment if you are committed to music writing.

With numerous options available, it is important to find the music writing software that meets your specific requirements. Fortunately, this list provides a useful starting point for selecting the program that suits your needs.

Brian Clark

Brian Clark

Brian Clark is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer. He is passionate about practically all areas of music and he particularly enjoys writing about the music industry.

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