Compose Music Directly On Your PC. No Paper Required


Once upon a time, writing music involved the use of music notation paper (with those familiar 5 lines), and lots of pencils and erasers.  Nowadays, you can do it much more easily on a computer, using software that's really just a musical version of a word processor.  

Start with an empty sheet of notation paper, then drag notes onto the page at the appropriate point.  You can move the notes around with the mouse if you make a mistake, and you can hear your work in progress at any time just by pressing the Play button.

If you've never tried writing music this way, or indeed if you've never tried writing music at all, Forte 5 is a well-known notation software product for Windows which is available as freeware for a limited-functionality version.  Despite being free, it has everything you need in order to try creating your own tunes.

Forte 5 Freeware is available for download at (check out the last column on the page, and the download link at the bottom).  It runs on all recent versions of Windows, at the 26 MB download is malware-free according to Web of Trust and VirusTotal.  Note, however, that you may be asked to restart your computer after installing it.




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I appreciated this article and the suggestions/comments about Forte 5, Finale Notepad and Musescore: tks to all of you, guys! :-)

There should be a link to the other music notation programs already reviewed in Gizmo.

And perhaps someday a comparison of all the programs available? We want the 'best freeware' available after all!

Have used MuseScore for years, and Finale Notepad allows for a common platform for the large Finale community, but I have not heard of Forte 5. I will be interested in taking it for a spin.


MuseScore is a blast. I used Finale for many years, but I finally converted to Linux.

In other news, LMMS has finally reached version 1.0.0. So I can write scores, and render them.

Not familiar with Finale Notepad but I have used Musescore for many months and it offers the features you will only get with the commercial version of Forte5.

Two other free programs for writing sheet music:

1) Finale Notepad: like Forte Freeware, it's the limited version of their professional program.

2) Musescore: free, open-source program, which can do everything these other two can, plus much MUCH more. I used Finale Notepad for years, and was blown away by what is possible with Musescore. Find it at: