It's alpha week for MuseScore 4!

publishedabout 1 year ago
2 min read

Hello! This week marks the public "alpha" release of MuseScore 4 - a major milestone in the history of MuseScore! As of this writing, the alpha release hasn't *quite* happened, but it's expected between now and tomorrow's MuseScore Café, so I plan to feature it then. Be sure to tune in - live if you can, or check out the replay if not!

BTW, "alpha" is, of course, a step before "beta", which is traditionally the step before an actual release. What this means in practice is that while this alpha release is not ready for "real world" use - too many bugs and rough edges left - the development has reached a point where most features are working well enough to use. So we are encouraging people to try it out and give feedback. But note - the greatly improved new sound library that will be such a big part of MuseScore 4 is not yet ready and is not part of this alpha release. It's expected for the beta.

MuseScore Café

This week in the MuseScore Café with Marc Sabatella, we showcase the "public alpha" release of MuseScore 4! I'll go hands-on with the new interface and show you how to find your way around. Then I encourage you to start playing around with it for yourself and help test and document what is shaping up to be one of the biggest MuseScore releases ever!

The free MuseScore Café is live on Wednesday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT, or 17:30 during the winter months), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

Tip of the Week

This week's tip is a simple and direct one: the link to the Announcements forum on where you will be a able to read more about the new alpha release of MuseScore 4:

Announcement forum

Again, as of this writing, the release is not available *quite* yet, but keep checking - I anticipate seeing it within the next 24 hours.

When the announcement happens, you should also find information there on how to provide feedback on MuseScore 4. Please, don't email it to me - use whatever processes are laid out in the announcement. And if you don't see any other instructions, I would recommend posting to the Development forum.

BTW, MuseScore 4 will coexist with older versions, so no need to worry about backing anything up or losing anything. But, do note: any scores saved in MuseScore 4 will not be able to be opened in MuseScore 3. So don't use this alpha release of MuseScore 4 to save over any of your existing work. I recommend making copies of any MuseScore 3 scores you wish to try in MuseScore 4.

Music Master Class

This week in the Music Master Class with Marc Sabatella, we'll be talking about harmony as it relates to the Beatles and to your submissions.

The free Music Master Class is live on Thursday at 12:30 PM Eastern (16:30 GMT, or 17:30 during the winter months), and you can access past episodes in the archive.

In Theory

This week's lesson in the Musicianship Skills Workshop is about the primary chords I, IV, and V and how they form the basis for so much of classical music as well as blues, jazz, and rock - but in different ways. One point I make is that the blues (and therefore, jazz and rock) blends notes from the major and minor keys in a manner that an extension of, but completely analogous to, the way classical music has done for centuries. For example, classical composers have long used the minor iv chord - Fm in the key of C - to provide harmonic color. This is normally explained as borrowing scale degree b6 from the parallel minor key (Ab borrowed from C minor). The Beatles used this chord - like, a lot - but also the C7 and F7 chords that are obtained by borrowing Bb (b7) and Eb (b3) from C minor as well. So you could say that they are performing "mode mixture" in ways that draw from both classical and blues traditions.

I won't claim any of this was completely unique and never heard before the Beatles - it's actually quite common in jazz. But the way these sounds are fused together to give a certain harmonic sophistication as well as the raw edge normally associated with early Beatles music is quite striking!

Mastering MuseScore

My name is Marc Sabatella, and I am the founder and director of Mastering MuseScore. I am one of the developers and chief ambassadors for MuseScore, the world's most popular music notation software. I have been teaching music online since the dawn of the World Wide Web, and I have been teaching in person for even longer. From the publication of my groundbreaking Jazz Improvisation Primer back in the 1990’s, to my years on the faculty at major music schools, and culminating in the Mastering MuseScore School and Community, I have dedicated most of my life to helping as many musicians as I can.

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