The MaxScore and LiveScore Editors were designed with microtones in mind, with the capability of representing pitch with unlimited precision. The editor offers notation in quarter-tone, eighth-tone and 12th-tone resolutions (the latter with two different sets of accidentals) as well the Extended Helmholtz-Ellis JI Pitch Notation, and cent precision playback via MaxScore Sampler or MaxScore Fluidsynth. Pitch Tool’s floating palette will let you transpose pitch by cent increments and/or just ratios.


The MaxScore and LiveScore editors allow you to set a notation style per staff. This way, one staff can represent music in standard notation while another displays music in the Extended Helmholtz-Ellis JI Pitch notation, in Bohlen-Pierce chromatic notation or in percussion notation, among authors. This is particularly practical when the same music is supposed to be represented both in a format that can easily be executed by a performer (performance notation) and a format that’s immediately intelligible to the reader in terms of harmonic and melodic relationships (cognitive notation). You can access the Style menu from the Staff Manager.


Pitch Tool


JI Interval

The Pitch Tools allows you to set as well as add notes and intervals in terms of just intonation ratios. The intervals menu uses the list of intervals from the Huygens-Fokker website. There are a few modes that need a bit of explanation:

  1. Add Note adds a note in respect to the current key area (C major if no other key area is specified) and octave range (4 = one-line octave). Therefore, if you select “3/2 perfect fifth” the note will be G in C major and E in A major.
  2. Set Pitch sets the pitch of a note or interval in respect to the current key area and octave range.
  3. Add Interval adds an interval in respect to the current key area and octave range.
  4. Stack Interval adds an interval in respect to the selected note or interval.
  5. Transpose transposes a note/interval by the amount expressed by the ratio.

A ratio can also be defined manually if not contained in the interval menu. Choosing “enter manually” on the top will open a dialog letting you define the desired ratio.

Use the up/down button to set the ratio and its direction.


Each note can also be labelled either according to its pitch, frequency or ratio in respect to given fundamental. N.B. labels will need to be updated manually if the pitch of the note changes.


There is a potentially unlimited number of virtual “keyboards” which will let you choose a tuning and allow convenient entry of its pitch sets. “Keyboards” are Max patches that can be created and added to the MaxScore/patchers /keyboards folder from where they will be invoked on startup. The corresponding pitch will be played back while entering a note from a “keyboard.”

MIDI Input for standard tuning

nTET-entry: Keyboard for equidistant tunings:


Input of the pitches of equidistant scales within arbitrary frame intervals. The Action menu contains following items: Add Note, Add Interval, Set Pitch, Set Transposition Interval, Play Thru, Approximate. Add Note adds a new note, Add Interval adds an interval to an existing note and Set Pitch changes the note/interval to the desired pitch. Set Transposition Interval set the Pitch Tool’s transposition interval to the interval between the clicked pitch and the first note of the tuning. When Play Thru is selected the pitch will be heard with note entry and Approximate allows you to approximate selected pitches to the pitches of the chosen tuning.

Scala browser: Input of the pitches of any of the 4000+ scales from the Scala archive:



Both the nTET-entry as well as the Scala Browser can be used with a MIDI keyboard and function, if Play Thru is selected, in conjunction with the sampler and fluidsynth player as a microtonal instrument.



User-created keyboard for the input of Easley Blackwood’s study in 23TET.

In order to listen to his piece, find “23 notes.XML” in MaxScore/examples/Scores. In the MaxScore Combo patch open the editor, open the file and load the 23-Tones.json preset file into the MaxScore.FluidSynth2 player to experience multi-timbral playback of music in non-standard tuning.

A Bohlen-Pierce Just Intonation diamond created by Todd Harrop:



Notation of an ascending sequence of notes in 72TET with quarter-tone resolution and MIDI Cent labels:

Notation with eigth-tone resolution and MIDI Cent labels:

Notation with 12th-tone resolution and MIDI Cent labels (extended 6th-tone notation à la Manfred Stahnke):

43-tone Partch scale in Extended Helmholtz-Ellis JI Pitch Notation with ratio labels:


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