MuseScore is the leading free & open source music notation software for Windows, Mac and Linux. It is easy to use and makes beautiful sheet music. MuseScore is often praised as a cost effective alternative for Sibelius and Finale.
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- Create beautiful sheet music, fast and easy
- WYSIWYG, notes are entered on virtual page
- Unlimited number of staves & up to four voices per staff
- Easy and fast note entry with mouse, keyboard or MIDI
- Playback with integrated sequencer and FluidSynth software synthesizer
- Import of xml, mxl, md, bww, ove, mgu, sgu, cap, kar
- Export to midi, wav, flac, ogg, pdf, png, ps, svg, ly
- Available for Windows, Mac and Linux
- Translated in 43 languages
Really excellent for free software in that it doesn't force you to use their templates or conform to any format outside of the basic rules of music themselves. I'm not giving it all five stars because it's a little hard to navigate and very glitchy—things will randomly move and get messed up, and once you get to a certain level of complexity the whole program crashes at the slightest provocation. However, if you can circumnavigate the glitches, it's great software. You can do almost whatever you want, and the playback gives the gist of what it sounds like, which is super nice.
Version 2.0 is a great improvement. I like it more than Harmony Assistant and Finale Song Writer, which I have both. The only problem is that plugin writing is not documented well, but the average user doesn't need it.