Using Basics of Music: Music Notation and Composition

If you are taking a music fundamentals or theory course, you will likely need to notate music, which in today's world means using notation software. Music notation software is indispensable to professional musicians and composers, but because it is so easy and free to create music with a computer, it is also a wonderful and fun way for amateurs to create and explore music.

While you will likely use Basics of Music for a few months or weeks during a course, a music notation program will likely be a useful tool (or toy!) for years to come. Basics of Music has a series of simple compositions and other notation exercises to help you learn to use your chosen notation software. Our current favorite notation software is MuseScore, it is open source, free, has dozens of great tutorials, and is constantly being improved. We think the MuseScore project is great and encourage students to try that program first. But there are plenty of options if MuseScore doesn't work for you! 

Free Notation Software

  • MuseScore | The free notation program we recommend, most "Notation Program" assignments will have a MuseScore Template included to help you get started.
  • Sibelius | First | Desktop and mobile versions, maybe limit printing and number of scores.
  • | Limits your total number of scores. It is web-based, no download required, so should work well on tablets.

Professional / Industry Standard Notation Programs

  • Sibelius | Our choice for professional scores, includes a desktop and mobile version.
  • Dorico | Mobile and desktop versions, they have some published education pricing.
  • Finale | They have a 30 day free trial, after that, you cannot print or save.