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Getting SCORE running with DOSBox and OS X

Ronald MacDonald <> v1.0, Fri Nov 4 01:28:00 EDT 2011

SCORE is a powerful piece of kit for engraving music.

Simply speaking there are two different orientations of music notation software. Firstly there are formatters. LilyPond is a good example of a pure formatter. It works like a secretary you dictate a letter and she formats it for you in her own “handwriting” (only that music is much more difficult to handle than text). You enter musically meaningful material and LilyPond outputs a graphical representation … In contrast to a formatter, an editor, as its name implies, lets you edit every single music notation element by hand. Editors are graphically oriented programs.

SCORE … lets you create any constellation of symbols used in music notation. The strength of SCORE is that you can put any symbol anywhere on a page of music, and more importantly, it will stay there.

Gordon Callon: What is SCORE?

Running SCORE under DOSBox with Windows is easy enough - and with a Virtual Machine, running DOSBox on Windows, on a Mac, is straightforward enough as well. However, booting up a VM every time is a bit of a pain, so here’s a quick guide to getting SCORE running with OS X.


At the time of writing, the most recent stable version of DOSBox for OS X is 0.74. You may either download the .dmg directly, or visit the DosBOX downloads page to select the correct disk image for your system.

Once downloaded and mounted, move the Application Launcher to your /Applications folder as usual. Then, run the file. This will create an configuration file in ~/Library/Preferences/DOSBox … which we will edit.

Finally, visit Tom Brodhead’s very helpful DOSBox page to download the ‘’ file, which contains a necessary fix to sort out scrolling issues within DOSBox.

Folder Structure

I would recommend creating a folder ‘DosROOT’ in your home directory. To that location, drag your program folder (SCOR4), so it’s at DosROOT/SCOR4. Finally, unzip the file, and place the file into the SCOR4 folder, so it’s found at DosROOT/SCOR4/

DOSBox Configuration

I only use DOSBox for SCORE, so if you’re using it for anything else you’ll not be wanting to follow these instructions exactly. For the rest of us, however, here’s how I’ve got my configuration file set up.

The configuration file is found, on OS X, at ~/Library/Preferences/DOSBox 0.74 Preferences. Obviously, this name will be slightly different if you’re running a newer version of DOSBox. Make sure to edit this file in plain text - i.e. don’t start adding colours or fonts to this file to make it look ‘pretty’.

At the line:


Change this to read:


As we’re loading DOSBox, we’re wanting it to automatically mount our DosROOT folder as its C: drive, load our scroll-fixing magic and then start up the application itself - so this is pretty straightforward.

After the line:


Add the following:

mount c ~/DosROOT
cd SCOR4

That should be it! Restart DOSBox and enjoy :)

See also: