The Best Sheet Music Makers

Technological advancements have touched all aspects of life, including the music world. While you had to burn the midnight oil writing your sheet music in the past, you can do it digitally nowadays. The free and paid tools readily available on the market can help you become the next Lennon and McCartney.

The Best Sheet Music Makers

This article explores the best sheet music makers you can use to take your compositions to the next level.

The Best Sheet Music Maker

Writing sheet music provides a platform for budding and experienced musicians to compose songs and keep viewable records. Through musical symbols, it expresses the nuances of a piece that are not noticeable when listening to music. It shows the chords of a song or a musical instrument, rhythm, and pitch.

Before technology kicked in, musicians had to use handwritten or printed music annotation. In the 1980s, innovations made it possible to present music notations on a computer. There was also the invention of scorewriter computer programs that could write music sheets electronically.

Today, the digital era has taken over, and you don’t have to spend so much time composing music. Applications do the hard work of creating quality sheet music for you. You can also play a preview of your music and print or save the sheet as an image.

Here are seven examples of software that can help you make music sheets:

  1. Musink
  2. MuseScore
  3. LilyPond
  4. GarageBand
  5. FORTE
  6. forScore
  7. Sibelius

Let’s discuss them in detail.


Musink is free software that allows you to create score sheets and MIDI files. It also has a premium version with more advanced features for Windows users. All you need to use it is to download and run it for free.


Automatic Music Writing

It’s frustrating to write your notation, realize you made an error on one note, and have to rewrite it again. With Musink, such mistakes are avoidable. You click where you want to add a note, and Musink does the rest. For complex music, the software takes you through the process of adding a note to the end.

The software also saves you the effort of formatting your composition into a formal printable document. All you do is focus on creating music.

MIDI Tools

Musink uses your MIDI setup to perform tasks to your preferences. However, some tools are only available on the pro version:

  • Playback tool: For rewinding your score on free and paid versions.
  • Import and export tool: A pro version tool for sharing files.
  • Note entry tool: A pro version for entering notes for connected MIDI devices.

Musink has room for drummers as it includes tools such as ghost notes, stickings, flams, and drum layout rules.


MuseScore allows you to build your piece note by note or to record directly onto staves. It’s free and available for Linux, Mac, and Windows. Regarding features, this software is rich, and people use it as an alternative for paid music sheet makers.

If you’re a beginner, you may find MuseScore friendly as it displays all the annotation symbols on the sidebar. Thus, it becomes easy to follow up when everything lies bare on the screen.


  • It supports unlimited score length.
  • Allows transferring to and from other sources using MIDI or MusicXML.
  • You can enter notes using MIDI, mouse, or keyboard.
  • It allows up to four voices per staff.
  • You can boost its power using plugins.


Unlike other software concentrating on substance, LilyPond focuses on creating beautiful sheets. It resulted from two curious musicians who could not understand why programmers produce soulless sheet music. Hence, they developed LilyPond, which has gained popularity for creating elegant sheet music.

The software takes care of the layout details, allowing composers to concentrate on making music instead of worrying about improving the software. It also prompts performers to focus on playing music instead of reading it.

This software may be hard to get used to because it relies heavily on programing language. Instead of drag-and-drop, it uses text input. This makes it hard to alter or corrupt original files, eliminating copy cuts.


  • Mixes music and text by converting portions of music into text.
  • It has a perfect layout choice from the start, which saves time.
  • All changes made to the layout are noticeable in the output.


GarageBand is a music sheet maker sketchpad for Mac. It has features that take after Apple products, making it easy and faster to create music tracks. GarageBand allows you to choose a Scale to prevent you from creating a wrong note and wasting time revising it. In addition to Mac features, it also has a keyboard instrument Arpeggiator.

If you’re a novice music maker, the touch screen experience should not intimidate you because the software is beginner-friendly. Though it’s free, it includes features that allow you to annotate an instrument directly and record live sound seamlessly.


  • Import and export function across Mac and iOS devices.
  • Allows third-party plugins to help you create music from scratch without owning any instrument.
  • Record feature for instruments and vocals.


FORTE is all-in-one music sheet software for music teachers and grounded musicians. You can transpose staves, write scores, and export your files as MIDI or MusicXML to other software. It comes with three paid-for packages: Premium, Home, and Basic.

The Basic plan has all the tools for beginners, while the Home and Premium plan is ideal for expert notation needs.


  • Score Wizard: This feature helps you set up scores for all musical instruments. It supports the selection mode for writing and inserts mode for writing.
  • Music Ruler: The Music Ruler ensures there are never wrong bars by helping you insert notes to the right beat.
  • Input Palette: This tool hosts all music notations to help you create complete scores. The notations have a compact notation presentation making it easier for you to create scores.
  • Plugins: It has more than 100 instrument plugins.


forScore is available for iOS and is best for creating sheet music on ITS. The Apple operating system software supports setlist creation, sheet annotation, and rearranging. However, it doesn’t support Cloud saving but saves your music library on the app instead. You can thus access your music without an internet connection.

Apart from saving your music, forScore allows you to add other composers’ music into your library so you can learn from them.


  • Uses built-in templates to create new scores.
  • It has a recording tool that allows you to preview your progress.
  • Creates a library for your music, instruments, and other musicians.
  • Can duplicate one piece into different annotations and setlists.


Sibelius sheet maker is versatile but user-friendly software popular among music teachers, students, and experts. Its large orchestration allows you to test your scores on different instruments to know how they would sound when played.

Sibelius comes in three packages: Sibelius Ultimate, Sibelius, and Sibelius First. Sibelius First is free and helps you create basic scores and notations. The other two packages are paid options and have advanced tools to make more staves, notations, and beams.


  • An innovative interface guides you through score creating process.
  • A sound library lets you listen to your music on different instruments.
  • It supports Cloud sharing.
  • 35GB sound library capacity.

Choose a Sheet Music Maker for Your Needs

In the digital age, you don’t have to spend lots of time writing sheet music by hand. With the above software, you can create error-free sheet music faster and save it on your device. Whether a professional or a beginner, you can find software with tools that meet your needs.

Have you used any of the above sheet music makers? How did you like it? Tell us in the comment section below.

One thought on “The Best Sheet Music Makers”

Floridave says:
I’ve used Sibelius quite a bit to arrange brass band and brass ensemble scores and parts. Its intuitiveness and versatility puts it a cut above most other notation programs. Also, Dorico and Finale should be mentioned.

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