DAW integration

• Dec 5, 2018 - 22:02

I would love for there to be a way to connect MuseScore to Reaper (or your DAW of choice). When I work in one application, I always find myself missing features of the other. Import/export is an option, of course...but that doesn't always go as smoothly as predicted, AND it has to be redone if I decide I want to make edits. It would be great if I could just enter stuff into MuseScore and magically have it show up as MIDI in Reaper at the same time.


There already is - it's called JACK. Just download and install that, set it up, and MuseScore can talk to your favorite DAW program just fine. But it's for playback only - your score won't show in any sort of two-way editing. That would require far more integration than is likely to happen in our lifetimes.

There is a possible workaround I'm considering to explore (though I have not attempred to try it yet), particularly promising for mixed electroacoustic-instrumental music, as well as for playback-recorded vocal parts.
It consists in creating, using a soundfont editor such as Polyphone, a soundfont containing "samples" that would be the electroacoustic sounds or vocal part. These would be triggered by "notes" in a special staff, much in the fashion of a percussion kit.

I use Musescore as notation editor for Reaper. If I update the score, it takes 2 seconds / 4 keystrokes (or Mouseclicks, if preferred) to have the changes in Reaper. The trick is done by exporting the midi from parts instead of the main score, so every instrument is written in a separate *.mid file. Those are assigned once (and only once!) in Reaper to related tracks carrying the desired VST instrument.

Why now does this show up magically in Reaper? Reaper can be configured to
- keep midi in separate *.MID files (the ones generated by MS) instead of the project file and
- to put files offline when not in focus which makes them overwritable. Reaper re-reads them when getting focus back and - yes! - incorporates your latest changes, generated by re-exportiing & overwriting the part-midi files from within MuseScore.

I never edit the midi files themselves in Reaper but have separate tracks "sending" additional midi information (e.g. CC's messages) to the tracks with the VSTi if required. That works really smooth.

In reply to by worldwideweary

Frankly speaking I don't know. Letting midi files to be overwritten outside of the application might be something specific to Reaper. Someone tried the same with Cubase and didn't succeed. The other thing, joining midi messages from different tracks should be standard for DAWs.

In reply to by drowo

Yeah, Reaper is nifty like that. One of the main problems with the mentioned method is not being able to change note on/offset values like in the piano-roll-editor and have back-and-forth communication with MS. Haha, if you could do that in a CC control lane somehow, that'd be sweet.

In reply to by worldwideweary

No, back-and-forth communication is not possible. Think of this "integration" only of way to play MS arrangements with better sounds and to mix it with human performance, vocals in my case.

What I frequently do is to add a "humanizer" plugin to the tracks and let it randomly alter velocity and timing during playback. But there are of course limitations as real human performance has only small random component.

But talking about the MS piano editor: if you make adjustments there, aren't those reflected in the exported midi files as well? Could be worth trying ...

In reply to by drowo

Oh sure, but often other software is far more functional in MIDI editing, even related with the simple offset of on/off values, let alone everything else. Honestly, it would be neat to see MuseScore and Muse Sequencer get back together again in the future with Muse's midi-editing capabilities under the hood.

In reply to by worldwideweary

What exactly do you mean by "offset on on/off values"? The same value applied to all notes or individual values per note? The latter maybe resembles the "humanizer" effect, the first one could be easily achieved by slightly shifting the position of the track in Reaper.

In reply to by drowo

The intention behind "the offset of on/off values" is to say: when a MIDI NoteOn value is triggered, and when a NoteOff is triggered. Of course the humanizing effect can do this, but then it is in the hands of algorithms, and slightly shifting would be useful for relativity of other tracks, but not so with the notes in relation to the notes of the midi information of that particular track. At any rate, 'happy' Sunday.

In reply to by worldwideweary

Unfortunately MusE is only for Linux for the time being. There is a multiplatform, open-source sequencer, Sekaiju, which in its simplicity allows very interesting features such as retrieving a real performace, quantizing it and converting to tempo changes the differences

In reply to by drowo

I know this is old, so your CC messages are on separate tracks and those aren't impacted when you reload the midi files?

I have Musescore connected to Ardour via jack and Ardour using VSTs, etc. It works well, but if there's a Musescore change, then I will eventually re-record Musescore's midi in real-time. But that's not really necessary since you can just hit play on Musescore and have the VST instruments playing back in real-time. I haven't tried CC messages yet though and not sure the best way to integrate that.

jack can be a major PITA though. cool when it works.

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