When I was still a student at the University of music and performing arts in Vienna, all the students had access to the most widely used music notation software Finale at the school. I really liked it and at that time I made quite a few arrangements for classical guitar. When I finished my studies in 2011, however, I didn’t want to spend $600 on a piece of software I don’t even use that often, not to mention the high upgrade costs every few years. When looking for a cheaper application I came across Finale Printmusic and Sibelius First among others, but what really caught my eye was a free, open-source music notation software for Mac, Windows and Linux called MuseScore. Beside it being free, it’s really easy to use and learn, it supports guitar fingerings without any plugins and I’ve used it for every arrangement ever since. I also love the fact that it’s open-source and that it has a great community around it and an excellent Sheet music library any user can upload their score to.
In order to migrate all the old arrangements that are still in Finale’s proprietary format (.mus) I’ve recently found a solution as well. Simply open any .mus project in Finale and select File > MusicXML > Export. If the version of Finale you’re using doesn’t support the XML export or if you’d like more advanced export options, try installing the Dolet plugin.
That’s it, now simply open the XML file with MuseScore, check for any mismatches (I only had a few slurs on the wrong notes) and save the file in MuseScore format (.mscz).
Soon I’ll write a follow-up post on some of MuseScore keyboard shortcuts I frequently use so stay tuned.