Composing Music

Mup: Free Software to Produce Printed Music

Mup is a free, yet very feature-laden application for producing printed music.

Mup produces very high quality PostScript printed music output or MIDI output, based on a text input file that describes the music. Mup can print almost any kind of music, everything from a single melody line to full orchestral or choral scores complete with tempo and dynamic marks. In addition to standard 5-line staffs, it can handle 1-line staffs (typically used for percussion), and tablature notation (often used for guitar).

The software is mature; it has been used for music publication since 1992, and is popular among musicians all over the world, including music departments at Stanford, Johns Hopkins, the University of Virginia, and other major universities.

A companion Mupmate program is included which provides a GUI on top of Mup. Mupmate makes it easy to edit, display, and print musical scores. However, you can also run Mup directly.

Mup was originally released as shareware but the developers elected to make it open source in 2012.

Mup’s features include:

  • Up to 40 staffs, which can include 1-line, 5-line, and tablature staffs. Output can be restricted to any subset of the staffs. Different staffs can be different sizes.
  • Up to 3 independent voices per staff, up to 70 simultaneous notes per voice.
  • Double whole to 256th notes, with any number of dots. Tuplets.
  • Note styles of normal, grace, cue, X, diamond, plus shaped notes. Up to 4 accidentals per note, including custom accidentals. Optional parentheses around notes and/or accidentals.
  • Cross-staff stems.
  • Time signatures of cut, common, or numerators from 1 to 99 and denominators from 1 to 64. Complicated time signatures, including numerators with two or more numbers added together, or two or more fractions added together, or alternating time signatures.
  • All standard clefs, including treble, treble8, 8treble, French violin, soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, bass8, 8bass, and subbass, as well as the drum (neutral) clef. Clefs can be changed in the middle of measures.
  • Bar line styles of single, double, dashed, dotted, end, repeats, or none. Bar lines can be on staffs or between them. Subbars can be shown.
  • 8th note and shorter notes can have either flags or beams; beams can be cross-staff.
  • Guitar grids
  • Lyrics can be placed above, below, or between staffs. Unlimited number of verses, with control of font and size.
  • Headers and footers. They can be different for left and right hand pages.
  • Staffs can be grouped with braces or brackets.
  • Automatic transposition of music and/or chord marks per staff.
  • First and subsequent endings.
  • Optional rehearsal marks and/or automatic measure numbering. Rehearsal marks can be boxed, circled, or plain.
  • Crescendo/decrescendo marks.
  • Rolls, ornaments, fermatas, accents.
  • Measure repeats.
  • Ties, slurs, phrase marks, octave marks, piano pedal marks, etc. Ties, slurs, and phrase marks can be solid, dotted, or dashed.
  • Support for figured bass, analysis, and chords.
  • Optional MIDI file output. (Very useful for “proof-listening” to your songs to check for input mistakes!) Custom accidentals and alternate tuning systems are supported. Gradual changes can be specified.
  • PostScript output for printing on any PostScript compatible output device. Can be used with Ghostscript.
  • All symbols in all standard PostScript fonts supported, in 1 to 100 point size.
  • Input is a text file, for easy portability between computer systems.
  • Macros and ‘include’ files.
  • General ‘if’ clauses that can be used to generate different outputs based on values of parameters.
  • Mup will determine how to lay out the music, but there are numerous user controls available to fine-tune the output to meet your specific needs.
  • Comprehensive User’s Guide provided in both PostScript and HTML formats, including many examples.

Support: User Guide
Developer: Arkkra Enterprises
License: Open source

The image below shows Mupmate in action. Mupmate needs gv to display the output.


Return to Scorewriters

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