ChoralWiki:Downloadable tools

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You don't need any special software to browse or search the CPDL site itself. If you can read this, you can use CPDL. However, to view and download individual scores, you'll need to install some other software on your computer. Almost all scores on CPDL are available in Portable Document Format (PDF) ( Icon_pdf.gif ), which means you can open and print them using a free program called Adobe Reader (see below).

MIDI files are computer-generated audio files, not scores. Most Windows and Mac computers can play MIDI files without any additional software, using a built-in sound card and speakers. Simply click on any MIDI link ( Icon_snd.gif ) to open and playback the MIDI file. Some composers and editors provide MP3 files ( Icon_mp3.gif ) which are larger than MIDI files but which usually provide a much better representation of what a score should sound like. Occasionally, performances of works by choirs are available, though these may not be uploaded to CPDL server. MP3 files can usually be opened with the same software that opens MIDI files, such as Windows Media Player.


Below are downloadable tools (free unless noted) for viewing sheet music and notation files. See also further information that may be available about individual Music notation programs.


File Ext.


Acrobat Reader



Most sheet music files are in this format, requiring Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available for Windows, Mac OS X and for Linux.

7-Zip Unzipper



Some source and MIDI files are "zipped", that is, archived into a zip file to reduce the file size, or to combine many files (eg. multiple MIDI files) into a single file for convenience. MusicXML files, which tend to be rather large, are sometimes saved as a zip file with the extension MXL. These can be safely renamed to ZIP if necessary. 7-Zip is open source software for archiving and expanding zipped files. Only available for Windows, though users of Windows XP and above already have the ability to unzip such files - simply double click on the file and follow the instruction. Mac users should use the Archive that comes with OSX.




Create, play back, and print sheet music for free. MuseScore is cross-platform, multi-lingual, open source music notation software. It features an easy to use WYSIWYG editor with audio score playback for results that look and sound beautiful. MuseScore is translated in 45 languages, and run on Windows, Mac and Linux. You can get help in the online handbook or by asking your question to the community in the MuseScore forum. MuseScore core developers team also runs a sheet music sharing website :

Finale Reader



Finale Reader is a free program that enables one to view, play and print music files created by Finale, Finale Allegro, Finale PrintMusic, Finale SongWriter and Finale NotePad.




FinaleViewer was originally designed by Coda Music to make Finale scores viewable within a web browser, and was previously called "SmartMusic Viewer"; however development on the web browser plug-in was abandoned by Finale. The free version of Finale Reader (above) is sufficient to open Finale scores and play them back. However some web sites affiliated with CPDL do not offer the Finale files directly, requiring the FinaleViewer plug-in.

Note: There are two software items which have been named "FinaleViewer".

  • The earlier one was the browser plug-in with this name in 2003, which replaced a previous similar plug-in called "SmartMusic Viewer", both of which were deprecated in 2004 in favor of Finale Notepad (now replaced by Finale Reader). It is this plug-in that some websites affiliated with CPDL require.
  • More recently, beginning in late 2006 or early 2007, the name "Finale Viewer" was given to a user side component to a suite of server software developed by MakeMusic! for use in selling sheet music through e-commerce. The current version probably will not work as a substitute for the earlier one.

Encore (demo version)

Encore Icon.png


Encore (demo version) enables one to view music files created by Encore notation software. Available for Windows and Macintosh. Note: Save and Print are disabled in all demo versions.

NoteWorthy Composer Viewer

Noteworthy viewer.gif


NoteWorthy Composer Viewer enables one to view music files created by NoteWorthy Composer notation software. Only available for Windows.

Sibelius Scorch

Get scorch 94x42.png


The Scorch viewer enables one to view files created with Sibelius notation software.




Ghostscript enables one to open files created with PostScript software. After installing it, one will need a previewer based on Ghostscript. For Windows platform this might be GSview; for Linux platform, ggv (gnome) or kghostview (KDE).




Lilypond is a free software from the GNU project and allows to edit, print PDF files, and generate MIDI files from the LY scores written.
A LY score is basically a plain text file. A LY score can be written with any text editor, or with the help of software like Denemo or Rosegarden, and can then be compiled to pdf or midi.
Lilypond is a very powerful tool, it requires a bit of skill and curiosity about computer science matters, and a bit of time to become a learned user, but in the end you will be amazed by the results you can achieve. It can be installed for free on almost any platform including Windows and Linux of course. Tutorials and examples can be found on the official website.

Capella Reader

Capella logo.gif


Capella Reader allows one to view, play and print Capella files. Only available for Windows.

Melody Player



Melody Player allows one to view files created by Melody Assistant and Harmony Assistant.




The VLC Software for Mac allows one to play MIDI files (.MID), RIFF files (.RMI), Karaoke files (.KAR) and extended MIDI files (.XMI) files via software synthesis with a sound font file (*.SF2).




MUP is a shareware program that allows one to view, edit and create scores and MIDI files. A demo version is available at no cost, but indicates across the printed score that it was printed using a demo or unregistered version of the software. Available for Windows, Linux, Mac and other operating systems. Includes a GUI but can be operated without using the GUI. As of 20090221, the cost is $29, which includes free upgrades and support from the developers and also knowledgeable users over a user mailing list.




MCMusiceditor is a free program that runs on Windows. Its creators indicates that it runs fast and aims to be easier to use than Lilypond, Sibelius or Finale, while producing high-quality PDF. A helpfile and snippets can be found here.




The ABC notation is a simple code for music notation originally develloped by Chris Walshaw. Popular free and multi platform programs for processing ABC files are abcm2ps, abc2midi, and abctab2ps. The free ABC editor flabc combines these three programs under a simple graphical user interface and is available for MacOS X, Linux, and Windows.

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