What to do with a .mus from long long ago

This isn’t strictly a Dorico question except that I have jumped ship from Finale to Sibelius and now will work strictly in Dorico, which I gather is a road many here have been down

At some point long in the past there was a Mac OS upgrade and Finale had to do a major rework of itself and so scores from the old OS couldn’t jump to the new. At that point many of my scores were stranded and I reconstructed much of that into Sibelius from paper copies and memory until the old Mac bit the dust

Some of those old scores I had backed up onto discs which I recently dug out of a dusty box in the garage, and now exist as little mute dark squares with EXEC on them and a few with the .mus at the end of their names. I’m wondering if there’s a way to recover those, short of buying a very vintage computer and installing my vintage Finale, which I still have for who knows what reason

Incidentally my last Mac(2012?) which had all my Sibelius scores had also died, and happily I did find some local repair guys who found a similar vintage Mac into which they transplanted my hard drive, so now at least I have those to work from

Just goes to show how important it is to keep paper copies

As far as I know, the latest Finale can open old MUS files.
Then one would export them to XML and open in Dorico to resume the happy road!
Feel free to send one to test, I will gladly help.

I wouldn’t recommend opening these files with a Finale version newer than 2012 (which I believe was the last version to use the .mus format - the newer format is .musx)

There is no danger opening Finale files older than v. 12. so long as one does not save them back to the same filename as previously. Yes, there will be some clean-up, but often one can work that out without any danger.

The ‘exec’ icon is standard for any file that doesn’t have a file extension, and has its executable flag set. These files may well still be valid Finale files. I’d recommend adding the .mus file extension to their names.

You can open a .mus file in a text editor, and the first bytes will read thus:

You can download the demo of Finale 27.4, which will run for 30 days before saving is disabled. (NB: when it says “Do you want to convert the articulations”, say No.)

Files without a backup are waiting to be lost. The importance of keeping multiple copies on separate devices cannot be overstated.


So I downloaded the Finale demo as you suggested and was able to open most of the scores which I’m making paper copies of to work from in Dorico

at least two of those from 25 years back I had struggled and failed to resurrect from memory so this is a very nice development

so thanks for that

You could export as MusicXML from Finale, and import into Dorico. There will be some tidying up to do, but it will be quicker to transfer the information.

Thanks I wondered about that

Big part of the project after being away from pieces from 20-25 years ago is getting to know them again so doing the slow work of putting them into notation will be a good thing

One piece was complete but I will likely modify and another was just a dozen or so measures that I have really wanted to develop

Both of those I had struggled and failed to reconstruct from memory so seeing the scores again is a very nice thing indeed

Again thanks