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mscore - Man Page

MuseScore 4 sheet music editor

Examples (TL;DR)



MuseScore is a Free and Open Source WYSIWYG cross-platform multi-lingual music composition and notation software, released under the GNU General Public Licence (GPLv2).

Running mscore without any extra options launches the full graphical MuseScore program and opens any files specified on the command line.

The options are as follows:

-b | --bitrate bitrate

Set MP3 output bitrate in kbit/s

-c | --config-folder pathname

Override configuration and settings directory

-D | --monitor-resolution DPI

Specify monitor resolution (override autodetection)

-d | --debug

Start MuseScore in debug mode

-E | --install-extension extension file

Install an extension file; soundfonts are loaded by default unless -e is also specified

-e | --experimental

Enable experimental features, such as layers

-F | --factory-settings

Revert all settings, shortcuts, workspaces, extensions, translations, etc. to factory defaults; compare with the -R option

-f | --force

Ignore score corruption and version mismatch warnings in “converter mode”

-h | --help

Display an overview of invocation instructions

-I | --dump-midi-in

Display all MIDI input on the console

-i | --load-icons

Load icons from the filesystem; useful if you want to edit the MuseScore icons and preview the changes

-j | --job file.json

Process a conversion job (see Examples below)

-L | --layout-debug

Start MuseScore in layout debug mode

-M | --midi-operations file

Specify MIDI import operations file (see Examples below)

-m | --no-midi

Disable MIDI input

-n | --new-score

Start with the New Score wizard regardless whether it's enabled or disabled in the user preferences

-O | --dump-midi-out

Display all MIDI output on the console

-o | --export-to file

Export the given (or currently opened) file to the specified output file. The file type depends on the extension of the filename given. This option switches to “converter mode” and avoids the graphical user interface.

-P | --export-score-parts

When converting to PDF with the -o option, append each part's pages to the created PDF file. If the score has no parts, all default parts will temporarily be generated automatically.

-p | --plugin name

Execute the named plugin

-R | --revert-settings

Revert user preferences to factory default but retain shortcuts, workspaces, extensions, translations, etc.; compare with -F.

-r | --image-resolution DPI

Set image resolution for conversion to PNG files.

Default: 360 DPI (actually, the value of “Resolution” of the PNG option group in the Export tab of the preferences)

-S | --style style

Load a style file first; useful for use with the -o option

-s | --no-synthesizer

Disable the integrated software synthesiser

-T | --trim-image margin

Trim exported PNG and SVG images to remove whitespace surrounding the score. The specified margin, in pixels, will be retained (use 0 for a tightly cropped image). When exporting to SVG, this option only works with single-page scores.

-t | --test-mode

Set test mode flag for all files

-v | --version

Display the name and version of the application without starting the graphical user interface

-w | --no-webview

Disable the web view component in the Start Centre

-x | --gui-scaling factor

Scale the score display and other GUI elements by the specified factor; intended for use with high-resolution displays


Print a conditioned diff between the given scores


Display the full name, version and git revision of the application without starting the graphical user interface


Don't use Bravura as fallback musical font


Print a raw diff between the given scores


Run script tests listed in the command line arguments


Upload score(s) to its source URL. There must already be an online score at that URL, and the user must be signed-in to the account it belongs to. The online score will be replaced with the uploaded file, but the title and description of the online score's webpage will not change.


Export all media (except MP3) for a given score as a single JSON document to stdout


Set highlight to svg, generated from a given score


Generate an MP3 for the given score and export it as a single JSON document to stdout


Generate parts data for the given score and save them to separate mscz files


Generate parts data for the given score and export it as a single JSON document to stdout


Transpose the given score and export the data to a single JSON file, print it to stdout


Save files in template mode (e.g. without page sizes)

MuseScore supports the automatic Qt command line options (see below).

Batch conversion job JSON format

The argument to the -j option must be the pathname of a file comprised of a valid JSON document honouring the following specification:

  • The top-level element must be a JSONArray, which may be empty.

  • Each array element must be a JSONObject with the following keys:


    Value is the name of the input file (score to convert), as JSONString.


    Value is the filename of a plugin (with the .qml extension), which will be read from either the global or per-user plugin path and executed before the conversion output happens, as JSONString. Optional, but at least one of plugin and out must be given.


    Value is the conversion output target, as defined below. Optional, but at least one of plugin and out must be given.

  • The conversion output target may be a filename (with extension, which decided the format to convert to), as JSONString.

  • The conversion output target may be a JSONArray of filenames as JSONString, as above, which will cause the score to be written to multiple output files (in multiple output formats) sequentially, without being closed, re-opened and re-processed in between.

  • If the conversion output target is a JSONArray, one or more of its elements may also be, each, a JSONArray of two JSONStrings (called first and second half in the following description). This will cause part extraction: for each such two-tuple, all extant parts of the score will be saved individually, with filenames being composed by concatenating the first half, the name (title) of the part, and the second half. The resulting string must be a valid filename (with extension, determining the output format). If a score has no parts (excerpts) defined, this will be silently ignored without error.

  • Valid file extensions for output are:


    Free Lossless Audio Codec (compressed audio)


    various score metadata (JSON)


    standard MIDI file


    standard MIDI file


    internal file sanity check log (JSON)


    MPEG Layer III (lossy compressed audio)


    measure positions (XML)


    MuseScore File


    MuseScore Uncompressed File


    MuseScore Uncompressed File


    uncompressed MusicXML file


    compressed MusicXML file


    OGG Vorbis (lossy compressed audio)


    portable document file (print)


    portable network graphics (image)

    Individual files, one per score page, with a hyphen-minus followed by the page number placed before the file extension, will be generated.


    segment positions (XML)


    scalable vector graphics (image)


    RIFF Waveform (uncompressed audio)


    uncompressed MusicXML file

See below for an example.



Set this (the value does not matter) to skip initialisation of the JACK Audio Connection Kit library, in case it causes trouble.


User configuration location; defaults to ~/.config if unset.


User data location; defaults to ~/.local/share if unset.


Location of works the user created with the application; defaults to ~/Documents (or a localised version) and can be set in $XDG_CONFIG_HOME/user-dirs.dirs.

Note that MuseScore also supports the normal Qt environment variables such as QT_QPA_GENERIC_PLUGINS, QT_QPA_PLATFORM, QT_QPA_PLATFORMTHEME, QT_QPA_PLATFORM_PLUGIN_PATH, QT_STYLE_OVERRIDE, DISPLAY, etc.


/usr/share/mscore-4.3/ contains the application support data (demos, instruments, localisation, system-wide plugins, soundfonts, styles, chords, templates and wallpapers). In the Debian packages, system-wide soundfonts are installed into /usr/share/sounds/sf2/, /usr/share/sounds/sf3/ or /usr/share/sounds/sfz/, respectively, instead.

The per-user data (extensions, plugins, soundfonts, styles, templates) and files (images, scores) are normally installed into subdirectories under $XDG_DOCUMENTS_DIR/MuseScore3/ but may be changed in the configuration. Note that snapshot, alpha and beta versions use MuseScore3Development instead of MuseScore3 in all of these paths.

$XDG_CONFIG_HOME/MuseScore/MuseScore3.ini contains the user preferences, list of recently used files and their locations, window sizes and positions, etc. See above for development version paths.

$XDG_DATA_HOME/MuseScore/MuseScore3/ contains updated localisation files downloaded from within the program, plugin information, cached scores, credentials for the musescore.com community site, session information, synthesiser settings, custom key and time signatures and shortcuts. See above for development version paths.


Convert a score to PDF from the command line:

mscore -o 'My Score.pdf' 'My Score.mscz'

Run a batch job converting multiple documents:

mscore -j job.json

This requires the file job.json in the current working directory to have content similar to the following:

    "in": "Reunion.mscz",
    "out": "Reunion-coloured.pdf",
    "plugin": "colornotes.qml"
    "in": "Reunion.mscz",
    "out": [
      [ "Reunion (part for ", ").pdf" ],
    "in": "Piece with excerpts.mscz",
    "out": [
      "Piece with excerpts (Partitura).pdf",
      [ "Piece with excerpts (part for ", ").pdf" ],
      "Piece with excerpts.mid"

The last part of the job would, for example, cause files like “Piece with excerpts (part for Violin).pdf” to be generated alongside the conductor's partitura and a MIDI file with the full orchestra sound, whereas the equivalent part of the Reunion conversion will be silently ignored (because the Reunion piece (a MuseScore demo) has no excerpts defined).

https://musescore.org/sites/musescore.org/files/midi_import_options_0.xml is a sample MIDI import operations file for the -M option.


The mscore utility exits 0 on success, and >0 if an error occurs.

See Also

fluidsynth(1), midicsv(1), timidity(1), qtoptions(7)


Online Handbook, full user manual


Support Forum


Further documentation of command line options


Reverting to factory settings (troubleshooting)


Project Issue Tracker

Please check first to if the bug you're encountering has already been reported. If you just need help with something, then please use the support forum (see above) instead.


Documentation of automatic Qt command line options


MuseScore attempts to implement the following standards:


MuseScore was split off the MusE sequencer in 2002 and has since become the foremost Open Source notation software.


MuseScore is developed by MuseScore BVBA and others.

This manual page was written by mirabilos ⟨tg@debian.org⟩.


The automatic Qt command line options are removed from the argument vector before the application has a chance at option processing; this means that an invocation like

mscore -S -reverse

has no chance at working because the -reverse is removed by Qt first.


MuseScore does not honour /etc/papersize.

Probably some more; check the project's bug tracker (cf. See Also).

Referenced By

The man page musescore(1) is an alias of mscore(1).

November 6, 2020