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The 8 Best Sheet Music Maker Apps for Writing Music | MakeUseOf

Are you the next Mozart? Do you want to pen the next global hit for your band? Perhaps you're trying to get your head around music theory? If so, you need some sheet music maker apps to help you write sheet music anywhere and everywhere.

Things have moved on a bit since the days of Mozart. You no longer have to make your own sheet music by candlelight with a quill; you can create it all digitally using sheet music maker apps. And these are the best tools to write sheet music.

MuseScore is a standalone app, which means you'll need to download and install the software. It's open source and free to use. In our opinion, it's the best app on this list, but your perception may differ depending on your usage requirements.

The app possesses all the essential ingredients you'd want from sheet music software. There's support for unlimited staves, your compositions can have unlimited length, you can boost its power using plug-ins, and it all looks fantastic.

While it lacks some of the advanced features you'll find in paid apps like Sibelius and Finale, it is more than adequate for most users.

Additional features include user-defined keyboard shortcuts and the ability to drag note modifiers and performance markings.

Available on: Windows, Mac, and Linux

If MuseScore rivals expensive paid apps in terms of features, BlankSheetMusic is at the other end of the scale.

It's a simple sheet music writer that lets you add some basic musical symbols to blank sheets and print them. You cannot add your own notes. If you want to print off reams of music sheets to write on manually, this is the best tool.

You do have some limited options to play with. You can add a range of clefs, tabs, and staffs, and adjust your paper size, margins, and rotation. When you're ready, just click the giant Print icon in the bottom right-hand corner.

Available on: the Web

LilyPond is the brainchild of two musicians who wanted to create "beautiful" sheet music. As such, the app focuses on style as much as substance.

Unlike some of the other apps in this list, LilyPond does not rely on a drag-and-drop interface for adding notes and musical symbols. Instead, it uses text input; it's more akin to a programming language. The app might take some getting used to if you've spent a lot of time working with more traditional sheet music tools.

The best thing about using text files for your music is that they're future-proof. They're harder to corrupt, and you'll always be able to open them, even if the parent software eventually dies.

Available on: Windows, Mac, and Linux

Musink lets you create sheet music and MIDI files.

To use Musink, just click which note you want to add and where you want it to appear. The app automatically adjusts note and rest durations automatically. To make life easier for you, it also has a selection of free templates. The templates have pre-defined note-sizes, page margins, and title fonts.

Drummers will appreciate the app---it has tools specifically designed for the instrument. They include flams, sticking, and ghost notes, as well as special layout rules.

Musink also offers a paid version. It introduces the ability to import MIDI files, record from MIDI devices, a customizable metronome, music playback, advanced publishing options, and more. The paid version of Musink will set you back $60.

Available on: Windows

forScore is the best app to write music on iOS. It lets you annotate your sheets, create setlists, rearrange pages, and more.

Because the app is iOS-only, it's been designed entirely with Apple's mobile operating system in mind. That means it scales perfectly between devices, supports split view, and supports slide-over multitasking.

forScore is also tightly integrated with the wider web. You can save music PDFs from any site, download files from your cloud storage straight into your forScore app, and find new music to play on the Musicnotes site.

There's even a practice tool that lets you set learning goals and track your progress. Check out our list of online music learning resources if you'd like more information.

Available on: iOS

EasyABC is an open source sheet music creation tool. The app is designed to work with ABC files that will play through your system's soundcard.

It covers both abcm2ps and abc2midi, and lets you import MusicXML, MIDI, and Noteworthy Composer files. It also makes exporting a breeze, with MIDI, SVG, and PDF all supported.

On the Windows version, you can record songs from MIDI directly in the app. Sadly, the feature is not yet available on the Mac release.

Lastly, it has some tools that can help you create clean ABC code. They include fixing uppercase/lowercase notes, easily adding note durations, and an experimental "do-re-mi" mode.

Available on: Windows and Mac

The Noteflight web app is split into three different tiers: Free, Premium, and Learn.

The free version lets you create up to 10 different scores which you can then share with friends and embed on web pages. You can print your creations, create music on mobile, and connect with other musicians and composers.

The Premium version lets you create unlimited scores, has support for 85 instruments, and offers real-time transcribing from MIDI instruments. It costs $49/year.

The Learn edition is aimed at schools. It costs from $69/year or $300 for lifetime access, and adds activity templates, unlimited classes and groups, and content libraries.

Available on: the Web

Sibelius is one of the best sheet music writing apps for beginners. The software is available in three tiers---Sibelius First, Sibelius, and Sibelius Ultimate.

The First package is free to download and use. You can compose simple scores with up to four staves, do some basic notation, add comments, and listen to MIDI playback.

The middle package costs $10/month and adds up to 16 instrument parts, an increased number of notation and playback features, and support for two devices.

The Ultimate package, which is aimed at music professionals, costs $20/month and allows for more bar line types, an unlimited number of staves, beams, customizable brackets and braces, and much more.

Available on: Windows and Mac

Any budding musician needs to understand how to read and write sheet music. But that's only part of the story; if you want to become a musician, you're going to need a much broader skillset.

Thankfully, music writing apps aren't the only part of the music world that have gone digital. The web is full of awesome resources to help you refine your craft.

If you would like to learn more, check out our article listing the best sites for understanding music theory.