Technology for composing music has progressed a great deal in recent years and is more accessible to music makers than ever before. Many software providers even create free or budget versions of their composition programs so that as users grow and improve, they can progress to the more advanced software.

Music Composition Software

Depending on a composer’s preference for their creation process and audio production needs, there are generally two categories of music composition software: the first is music notation software, which is often used for classical and notation-heavy genres that require accurate and detailed score creation. The second is a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), which is used for capturing live recordings, composing synthetic instrument parts with MIDI, and mixing and mastering audio. While most DAW’s have some basic music notation capabilities, there are now music programs that provide the features of both categories very well.

Music Notation Software

When it comes to music notation software, there are a variety of high quality options available that cater to a range of budgets and functions. MuseScore is a fantastic open source free music notation program. MuseScore is compatible across Mac and Windows, and is intuitive to use for beginners and professionals alike. Other favourite music notation software programs that have reasonably priced beginner versions scaling up to industry standard professional versions include: Finale, Forte, Noteflight and Sibelius.


GarageBand is a great introductory DAW for Mac users – this free music program allows users to compose with synthetic instruments, record live performances, and export high quality audio files. GarageBand is laid out in a similar way to the industry standard DAW’s, ensuring that beginners learn the fundamentals and can progress in the future. Most industry standard DAW programs also have free trials or budget versions to support music makers on their journey from beginner to beyond. User favourite DAW’s include Cubase, Pro Tools and Logic Pro. 

Notion 6

Notion 6 utilises a combination of technology for composing music, as it is a music notation software with many features of a DAW. Notion 6 is closely linked to the Studio One DAW as they are both created by PreSonus, with both programs offering users both notation and DAW composition options.

Whether you are a seasoned notation composer or have never worked with music scores before, PlayScore 2 can help you create accurate digital scores in minutes. The app allows music creators to easily photograph sheet music and view scores in notation software without having to input notes or understand music theory. PlayScore 2 is accessible and intuitive to use, saving time for composers, arrangers, and musicians of all levels and styles working with sheet music.

By Michelle Sciarrotta.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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PlayScore for Windows

The App That Sight Reads Sheet Music.