MusiCAD has been designed since 1989 with a number of criteria in mind:
- Basis for the notation are the notes as they should be played if you have to play them again from sheet music.
- How music ends up on paper is something you should be able to determine in hindsight; so you first specify which notes should be played, only just before printing do you worry about layout and page layout.
- At play of the music you will hear what it says as precisely as possible. Whether that is nice to hear is rather uninteresting as far as MusiCAD is concerned, the point is that you can often judge very quickly by ear whether everything has been notated correctly. Because MusiCAD 'understands' chord symbols, the chord scheme can also be judged quickly by ear.
- Dividing notes into measures, measures into lines, and lines into pages is basically done automatically. Determining which notes should come under a bar is also something that MusiCAD has to do using the time signature. The time signature determines the auto accompaniment parts with the chord progression.
- MusiCAD was not primarily made to make a copy of existing music as faithfully as possible, some relatively common incorrect notations cannot or hardly be notated using MusiCAD...
- Where the MusiCAD automation falls short, you must of course be able to indicate yourself how it should be done.
- Music must be able to be entered and corrected in text format (in the versions up to 1.27 that was even the only possibility).
- The mouse is an extra input device, in principle almost everything should be possible with the keyboard.
MusiCAD is quite unforgiving of some score errors; if parts in a score are not synchronized, you will see that all music after the bar with the error usually comes out completely unusable on screen/paper; you will have to find the errors first and remove them.