The SCORE Music Publishing System

The SCORE music printing system is intended to facilitate the creation of virtually any page of standard music notation with a final quality equal to that of true engraving. Most of the shapes used in music printing are found in the SCORE drawing library. Any unusual musical symbols may be added to the library.

"SCORE has gained wide acceptance in the commercial printing of both classical and popular music on account of four features:

Its comprehensive approach to both conventional and unconventional notation.
Its extensibility
Its precise control of symbol placement on the page
The professional appearance of its output"

From Beyond MIDI, The Handbook of Musical Codes
Eleanor Selfridge-Field et al., MIT Press

Distinguished publishers issuing editions created by the SCORE program include:

Theodore Presser - Barenreiter - Guitar World Magazine - E.C. Schirmer - Universal Edition (Vienna) - Indiana University Press - Willis Music -Community of Jesus - Hal Leonard - Halstan (London) - Alfred Music - L'Oiseaux Lyre (Monaco) - Schott (Germany) - Harris Music (Toronto) - United Methodist Music - Broude Bros. - Edition Orphee - C.F. Peters - Guitar School Magazine - Breitkopf & Hartel (Germany) - Warner Bros. - Kurt Weil Foundation - C.P.P./Belwin - Durand (Paris) - G. Schirmer - Fujita Music (Japan) - Country Guitar Magazine - Vision One (Australia) - Boosey & Hawkes (London & New York) - Editions du Visage (Paris) - Vivace Press - California Music Teachers Association - Ricordi (Milan) - Peer Music - Chester (London) - Oregon Catholic Press - Cherry Lane - (and more)

The SCORE program had its origins in research done by Leland C. Smith, Professor of Music, at the Stanford University Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, starting in 1967. Over about a six year period, most of work was done at the off-campus lab site which was located very near to the famous San Andreas earthquake fault line. The earliest form of SCORE was created for the purpose of entering complex musical data into the MUSIC-5 digital sound generating system. The group involved in the digital music project, John Chowning, Leland Smith and David Poole, went on to found the Stanford Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics -- CCRMA.

When, in 1971, vector graphics terminals were made available, it became apparent that the parametric approach to describing musical data could successfully be adapted to conventional music hard-copy output. The first output was rather primitive. A 100 dpi pen plotter (CalComp) was used to produce large pages, about 30" x 38", which were then photo-reduced to conventional 8.5" x 11" paper size. In the mid-1970's a Xerox electrostatic plotter was introduced which produced output at 200 dpi on standard letter-size paper. This device was used until the Apple Laserwriter (300 dpi) and the PostScript system appeared in the 1980's. Up to 1985 all the development of SCORE was done on the PDP-10 (Digital Equipment Corporation) main-frame computers at Stanford and at the IRCAM division of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. In 1985-86 SCORE was ported to the Tandy 2000 (a machine that was quite ahead of its time) running MS-DOS. The main body of the program was written in Microsoft FORTRAN, with all the mouse and graphics elements written in Intel assembly language. These venerable languages, still to this day, provide a good basis for program development. SCORE has since been rewritten as WinScore for the WINDOWS environment, using a C++/32-bit FORTRAN mixed-language programming basis.

By 1990, the Schott company in Germany was the first major publisher to use SCORE. They provided proof sheets of their music engraving tool set to serve as models for SCORE's symbol library. Shortly thereafter G. Schirmer and Hal Leonard in the U.S.A. began publishing output from SCORE. Many music publishers were rather conservative in those days, so the idea of using the computer to print music was greeted with a good deal of skepticism. However this did not last long as the economic and quality advantages rapidly became apparent. Today, virtually every music publisher in the world produces only computer generated output.

Version 4.01 of SCORE contained by far the most advanced automatic guitar and lute tablature system ever to appear in any notation software, as well as many other significant new features. WinScore includes many facilitating improvements. Because of its high quality output and great flexibility, most of the world's leading music publishers have now used SCORE for editions which range from children's music to intricate Jimi Hendrix guitar books to complete Wagner and Verdi operas -- and even to Braille editions for the blind. Output from SCORE and WinScore, by means of PostScript .EPS files, may be incorporated into all the major text publishing programs.

WinScore will run on any WINDOWS system from W95 on. A 600/1200 dpi PostScript laser printer is required for quality output. (Printing of WinScore output can also be done on most ink-jet printers and the lowest priced laser printers by means of the shareware program called Ghostsview. This program may be downloaded from the internet. Limited MIDI input and output is available in WinScore.

************************* SCORE and the INTERNET **************************

Here are some details on the SCORE INTERNET FORUM set up at Acadia University.
Everyone is welcome to join this forum where information on details of the SCORE program are exchanged. Often there are also messages on general problems in music publishing.  There are no charges for this service.

The SCORE FORUM is an E-Mail based system.

To subscribe to Score list, send email to: score-request @

with the following command in the body of the message:

subscribe nodigest address=<your.address@xxx.yyy>     [to subscribe to the normal subscription of single messages]
[omit the <> brackets around your address]
subscribe digest address=<your.address@xxx.yyy>     [to subscribe to the daily digest]
[omit the <> brackets around your address]    

Alternatively, to subscribe to Score or to Score-Digest, send an e-mail message to gordon.callon @

If you encounter any problems in subscribing or sending messages to the list, send an email message to the list owner  (gordon.callon @

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