The future of music

8 Best Music Writing Software Programs for DIY Musicians

August 4, 2023
best music writing software

Are you looking to get started as a DIY Musician?

There are a ton of great music-writing software programs out there, but it can be tough to find the one for you.

These are eight of the best music writing software, with a wide range of features that allow your creations to come to life.

Whatever your budget or device, there will be something in this list to help you get started on your music-writing journey.

1. Notion 6 (Windows / MacOS / iOS)

Notion 6 (Windows / MacOS / iOS)

Download here: https://legacy.presonus.com/products/Notion

Notion 6 is one of the best software out there for intuitive, easy-to-use music notation.

They are consistently releasing new features upon the feedback and requests of users, on top of the extensive features it already has.

Notion 6 boasts a range of features that are pretty exclusive to them, including handwriting recognition that allows you to write directly into the scoring area.

They will then convert your handwritten notes, rests, time signatures, and more into digital notation.

At $164.94 for the full Notion 6 package, you’ll receive unmatched sound quality and polished, professional scores.

It’s one of the best out there!

2. Sibelius (Windows / MacOS)

Sibelius (Windows / MacOS)

Download here: https://www.avid.com/sibelius

Sibelius puts you in the driver’s seat, giving you a range of three music notation software to pick from.

Sibelius First is free to download on desktop and mobile and is perfect for a beginner wanting to compose simple scores.

Sibelius Artist costs $99 a year and is great for smaller ensembles with sixteen built-in instruments.

Sibelius Ultimate is a little more expensive at $199 a year but gives you the full toolset so that you can push your limits.

It also includes a free trial!

Each of the Sibelius packages makes music notation easy, allowing you to compose, orchestrate, engrave, copy, share, and publish your creations.

It’s definitely worth a try!

3. MuseScore 2 (Windows / MacOS)

MuseScore 2 (Windows / MacOS)

Download here: https://musescore.org/en/download

MuseScore 2 is a free-to-download music notation software that is known for being easy to use and great for beginners.

The creators formulated an extensive handbook that walks you through the many features and how to use them.

Better yet, the website is filled with tutorials and how-tos so that you can make the most of it while you’re creating your score.

4. MagicScore Maestro  (Windows)

MagicScore Maestro  (Windows)

Download here: https://www.musicaleditor.com/music-notation-software.html

The Windows program MagicScore Maestro allows you to compose music and create music notation files that are clear and organized.

It takes pride in being one of the most robust and adaptable music scoring systems available.

For just $6.99 per month for a subscription or $69.95 for a full license, you may try it out for free to see whether it’s right for you.

It’s quite simple to extract notes from your score and publish them, and there are a dozen distinct ways to enter notes into your score.

5. Finale PrintMusic (Windows)

Finale PrintMusic (Windows)

Download here: https://www.finalemusic.com/products/printmusic/

Finale PrintMusic makes it easy to create professional sheet music easily and quickly.

You can immediately create scores of up to twenty-four staves, and they’re super clearly displayed and printed.

Instead of jumping in head-first, make use of the thirty-day free trial which includes every feature aside from the premium sounds.

The retail version costs $119.95, with academic versions also available for a lower price.

It is one of the best music writing software out there for collaboration and has features such as human playback and over one hundred and twenty-eight instruments to help you on your composition journey. 

6. QuickScore Elite Level II (Windows / MacOS)

QuickScore Elite Level II (Windows / MacOS)

Download here: https://www.sionsoft.com/qse2lit.html

QuickScore Elite Level II was released in 2019 with new and updated features following the success of QuickScore Elite 2012.

Many have praised it for being attractive to look at and very stable.

The program costs $179.95 upfront, or you can upgrade from Level I to Level II for just $99.95.

It is well worth it for the elegant, professional-sounding scoring.

It has even won the top ten reviews gold award for five years consecutively, proving that it is one of the top choices for DIY Musicians.

7. Steinberg Dorico (Windows / MacOS / iOS)

Steinberg Dorico (Windows / MacOS / iOS)

Download here: https://www.steinberg.net/dorico/?gad=1&gclid=CjwKCAjwlJimBhAsEiwA1hrp5loeNbMs1ObJpoBFAos-A-9_kJutN0YDgV3feTSZ4PfT-hXK54xCiRoCXzIQAvD_BwE

Steinberg Dorico has been kept current with five different versions, each improving upon the last.

With automatic engraving and layout of parts and easy note input, the interface is split into five sections.

If you’re unsure whether it’s for you, try out the trial.

It’s free to download for sixty days and allows you to test out all of the features that Dorico has to offer.

Then, the full version of Dorico Pro 5 costs $638.45, and Elements 5 costs $109.19.

8. Noteflight (online)

Noteflight (online)

Download here: https://www.noteflight.com/

Noteflight is the quickest and easiest way to create professional music scores.

It’s online, which means that no download is required and you can use it no matter where you are on any device.

Simply sign in to save your creations!

There is also a music library, and you can even sell your own arrangements and works via ArrangeMe. 

Although it is free, There is the option to upgrade to Noteflight Premium where you can create and sell an unlimited number of scores, organize them into collections, and access the premium music library.

Best Music Writing Software – Final Thoughts

This list included eight of the best music writing software programs out there, and are a must-try for any DIY musician.

If you want to be able to compose scores from home in a simple and quick way, these are worth trying out. 

Whether you’re a complete beginner with a limited budget or a practiced musician looking for professional-grade notation software, there’s something in this list for you.

You may also like: How to Write a Song

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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