Orchestral gong

• Mar 5, 2021 - 20:56

Does Musescore have anything like an orchestral gong? I found a few other gongs - bowl gongs, and tuned gongs, but nothing like the sound of an orchestral gong for use at big climaxes.

Presumably this can be done by using midi or some other method - just write a part out for an instrument, and then assign it to an appropriate sound in an effects library, but it might be good if it were part of the standard system. Ideally the sound should be loud and then resonate for a few seconds.


MuseScore uses standard General MIDI soundfonts, and this is part of that, so most standard soundfonts won't include it. But yes, you can certain find and install a soundfont that does include this sound. See the Handbook under Soundfonts for more info.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

So it seems. I was discussing writing a piece tonight, and a suggestion was to put in a loud gong - but of course when I went to find "it", there isn't one!

Is there any scope for "standard" GM to be enhanced - maybe Musescore could lead the way? I don't know. Obviously if one is using a DAW and has suitable audio samples it's possible to get closer to the desired effects, but for almost the whole of my life I have known that gongs were part of an orchestral ensemble. Many constraints of the earlier Midi systems must surely have faded into insignificance now. There's really no major reason why there shouldn't be thousands of possible instruments, and each could even have appropriate audio files - as memory has become relatively cheap, and even if storage might be a problem, there are techniques to allow instrument sounds to be encoded in very small samples nowadays.

The guiro is an instrument (not always used in orchestras) which is in the Musescore set, while orchestral gongs are not.

By deliberately using another instrument outside its range (or several sounding together) it may be possible to get something to work in Musescore, but that does seem a bit of a kludge.

In reply to by dave2020X

I believe that what you are looking for is a "tam tam", which is what an orchestral gong is generally known as. There is one listed in the orchestral percussion set of instruments. I don't know what it sounds like as I have never used it. But they vary in size and sound any way and in an orchestra you get whatever the percussionist has. If you're lucky and the percussionist has just inherited from his rich uncle you get the full J Arthur Rank. If not, you get the dinner gong.

In reply to by SteveBlower

Thanks. I had a vision that there was another word last night - and meant to look up tam-tam. So you are correct, and you have reminded me.

However although I can now find it in my version of Musescore -- 3.6.2, though only under All instruments - but it will neither "go" into any score, nor make a sound. I can make up a score which appears to have a tam-tam on a stave or even use "change instrument" but it just doesn't work. I can't put notes in.
Not sure what's going on here. It might be machine specific - so I can try other machines - though all are MacOS based, but current indications are that this instrument sound or engraving is not working in MS.

In reply to by dave2020X

"I can make up a score which appears to have a tam-tam on a stave or even use "change instrument" but it just doesn't work. I can't put notes in."
Have a look at the Handbook section for Drum Notation, because unpitched percussion note input is different from pitched instruments:

When you enter Step Time note input mode (the default) for a Tam-tam, you will see a new toolbar appear below your score, with the name of the instrument and a button "Edit Drumset". To the right is a small stave image, which you can click to check what the sound is like:

MS note input with Tam-tam.png

On my test score the Tam-tam sounds like a cymbal rather than a gong, and so does the Bowl Gong. I included Tuned Gongs in my test score, which is perhaps nearer to the sound you are expecting? I am running MS 3.6.2 with the default MuseScore_General_HQ.sf3 soundfont.

Attachment Size
Tam-tam and Gongs.mscz 6.1 KB

In reply to by DanielR

Thanks for the help and the test file. It looks as though I ought to be able to load in a soundfont for each of the relevant "pitched" notes - or that maybe there is one ready made somewhere. However I couldn't find one.

The gong or tam-tam sound which your test file produces is nothing like the orchestral gongs or tam-tams I've heard in the past. There really ought to be or "must" be a way to get this done. This raises more questions, which I'll come back to, about end users adding to sound libraries in MuseScore.

Actually find the correct gong or tam-tam sound might be difficult. I've heard many orchestras and some of them have played pieces with these instruments, but none sounded like the examples I've been looking at.
VSL has some - https://www.vsl.co.at/en/Percussion/Tamtams_Gongs#!Demos - but the closest to what I'm looking for is about about 35 seconds into the Peculiar Percussion demo - but even that isn't right. Maybe there is a well defined standard, or different orchestras use instruments which sound very different.

In reply to by DanielR

Hm, the Tuned Gongs in your score sound more like church bells.

When opening the mixer, you can select the “Patch” of the Tam-Tam; choosing “Orchestra Kit” instead of “Standard” in the drop-down makes it sound better, but… mh, not exactly?

In reply to by mirabilos

There are some "better" gongs here - https://plugins4free.com/plugin/2237/ with some demo sounds.

Also there is rather a good video here - https://www.bing.com/videos/search?view=detail&mid=1AD81C6148C4CB425049… I had no idea there were so many ways of playing these things. I just assumed that one waited for the climax, and then just whacked them - but looks like there's a lot more to it than that.
There is also this rather interesting web site, which again has demo sounds - http://www.compositiontoday.com/sound_bank/percussion/tam_tam.asp

I also find the absence of a gong to be a serious problem. It is a staple of the modern symphony orchestra. Is their any possibility of a gong being added to MuseScore in the near future? I for one would be quite pleased!


I personally couldn't find any good files compatible with musescore, but a way that sort of worked that I found is to put a tremolo on the tam tam or a cymbal. It doesn't have the characteristic ring of a gong, but it simulates the roll fine.

Attachment Size
Gong_TamTamTest.mscz 4.75 KB

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