Music Notation

8 Best Free Linux Music Notation Software

Last Updated on February 7, 2020

This Group Test has been replaced by 12 Excellent Free Scorewriters – Compose, arrange, print, and publish music

Music notation is a system which represents music in a written form by using musical symbols. For a musician to be able to read, understand, and play music, the composition must be in written form. A system of notation is essential for musicians to be able to play music as intended by the composer.

It is widely acknowledged that Sibelius and Finale are two software packages that are heavyweights in the music notation field. Unfortunately, these software applications are expensive and their developers have no plans to release the titles for Linux. Fortunately, the vast majority of budding musicians and composers will never need the functionality offered by Sibelius and Finale.

The purpose of this article is to highlight cost-effective alternatives to Sibelius and Finale that run under Linux. The software featured here is released under freely distributable licenses, all are available to download at no charge, and can produce music scores which are engraved with traditional layout rules.

To provide an insight into the quality of software that is available, we have compiled a list of 8 high quality free Linux music notation apps. Hopefully, there will be something of interest here for anyone who wants to produce elegant music scores.

Now, let’s explore the 8 music notation applications at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, screenshots, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.

Music Notation
LilypondProduce musical scores that are engraved with traditional layout rules
RosegardenSophisticated MIDI (and audio) sequencer and notation editor
MusescoreGraphical WYSIWYG music score typesetter
DenemoMusical score editor intended primarily as a frontend to Lilypond
TuxGuitarMultitrack tablature editor and player writen in Java-SWT
Impro-VisorEducational program designed to help musicians compose and hear solos
FrescobaldiLilyPond sheet music text editor for KDE4
CanorusGraphical music score editor written for the Qt4 toolkit
Best Free and Open Source SoftwareRead our complete collection of recommended free and open source software. Our curated compilation covers all categories of software.

The software collection forms part of our series of informative articles for Linux enthusiasts. There are hundreds of in-depth reviews, open source alternatives to proprietary software from large corporations like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Adobe, IBM, Cisco, Oracle, and Autodesk.

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