SCORE is a scorewriter program, written in FORTRAN for DOS by Stanford Professor Leland Smith (1925-2013) with a reputation for producing very high-quality results. It was widely used in engraving during the 1980s and 1990s and continues to have a small, dedicated following of quality engravers, many of whom regard it as the world's best music-engraving program. Many publications that have earned Paul Revere and German Musikpresse engraving awards are produced with SCORE. SCORE is known for its ability to precisely position symbols on the page, and also allows the user complete control over every aspect of their music through making every possible aspect of music notation manually controllable.
SCORE runs under the DOS operating system. Music is entered using text codes from a standard ASCII keyboard. Optionally a MIDI keyboard can be used to enter pitches. Less common is entering music from a so-called menu staff using a one-click copy-and-paste method. Music notation can be saved in SCORE's proprietary format. These files in most cases have the extensions ".mus" or ".pag" (note that Finale also uses the extension ".mus" while the file format is different). SCORE outputs PostScript graphics that can either be sent to a PostScript printer directly or can be saved as an Encapsulated PostScript file. For creating publications some users import the EPS-graphics into a desktop publishing program.
Originally written for the DEC PDP-10 in 1971, Version 1 was released for DOS in 1986, and was continuously revised and updated through version 3.11 in 1994 to version 4.01 (known as SCOR4) in 2000.
A Windows version of SCORE "WinScore" was released to beta in 2008, given the version number of 5, and is still used by some customers. An online database was created where beta-testers could submit requests and bug reports. While development was slow, the program advanced from barely usable to essentially useful, albeit with many issues remaining to be solved before wide acceptance could have been expected. Some complaints included the fairly crude appearance of the user interface (looking more like an early Windows 3.1 interface than a modern one), the lack of certain commands that users had come to expect, and arbitrary redefinition of how certain commands are invoked. It was last updated to version 5.01 on November 1, 2013, six weeks before Smith's death.
SCORE does not use music fonts but a user editable symbol library based on polygons. This is a heritage from SCORE's origin in pre-PostScript times when it used a plotter for output that did not support curves or arcs. Only page text such as the title and composer are saved as text from a font.