Using Musescore 2 to make sheet music for Alan Walker’s Darkside

Musescore 2 is a fantastic piece of open source software that can make professional quality sheet music. Industry music professionals gravitate to either Sibelius or Finale, but more than a few also use Musescore. While Sibelius and Finale sell for around $500 USD, Musescore is free and available for download here.

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I was going to make a tutorial or even a video of the process I use making sheet music for teaching purposes, but for now here’s a quick overview of me scoring Darkside by Alan Walker.

Opening up Musescore, I created a new score and entered the song/composer details:

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I choose the instruments – in this case, voice and ukulele tab:

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The key signature was E minor (like every Alan Walker song hehe):

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I entered the time signature, a 2-beat pick up and the approximate number of bars:

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I opened up the song on youtube, listened for the chords and started writing the melody in. TIP: In case you do try this software: press ‘n’ to enter notes; use the ‘a’ key for an ‘a’ note, ‘b’ key for a ‘b’ note etc and use the number key commands to change rhythmic values (‘5’ for example is a quarter note). It’s all about getting the key commands sorted with this software – it’s pretty easy once to get used the workflow.

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I finished the basic melody and started adding in the lyrics:

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I double checked the rhythm alongside the lyrics:

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I finished off the lyrics and put the chords in. I copied the melody and pasted it into the ukulele TAB staff (easy step!):

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Then had a final listen and realised there is a pre-chorus before the second chorus….argh. I considered leaving it out, as I didn’t really want the song to go to three pages, but went ahead and put it in, pushing my time to finish this to about 50 minutes. Then I spaced out some of the words (using the arrow keys), put some repeats in and finished up the basic song.

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It’s easy to find the chords to songs online but it’s next to impossible to find split scores (stave + TAB) for ukulele with proper notation so I end up making them. Often I need to change the key to suit the ukulele but this song was fine. Four verse notes were unplayable on the ukulele (A3 and B3) so I had to bump them up an octave, apart from that it was a pretty easy song to transcribe.

If you play music and want to write, I can definitely recommend Musescore 2 as an inexpensive (free!) way to have a go.

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