A musical score references a tool used by composers or conductors in the act of musical creation. A musicologist or student of music theory will also use a score to analyze a composition.

A score enables the reader to hear and understand what the composition will sound like, provided the reader can and does read music with some skill. All musicians (regardless of genre or performance medium) should be able to read and prepare a full score, although in some cases a reduced or condensed score is more appropriate.