Playback Jerky in Musescore 4

• Dec 28, 2022 - 18:26

I've been moving scores into Musescore 4 but find the playback is awful on my normal laptop computer, constantly breaking up and unusable for recordings. I create video files for each SATB part and put them on a website, but can't do this with Musescore 4.
My newer desktop computer doesn't have the same problem so is this a specification issue? The laptop has an i5 processor, 6 GB RAM, SSD (not hard disk).


Part of it is specs for sure. Check out the minimum requirements on the download page. It is possible to get underpowered Windows computers to playback better. In addition to the settings listed here: an audio interface can help. Doesn't have to be an expensive one. $20 will do.

In reply to by bobjp

Thanks for this and the specs seem to be the problem. I notice that when Musescore 4 is running and I try to open some other apps on my laptop it comes back with 'not enough memory'. Closing Musescore 4 down prevents this, so the inference is that Musescore 4 is memory hungry and my 6GB of RAM isn't enough. Solutions are a new laptop (expensive) or revert to Musescore 3 (no cost). Another issue with 4 is the way it opens up a new version for every score, not allowing multiple scores on tabs as before. This is a nuisance in rehearsing my choir scores.
Thanks for the suggestion of an audio interface, which is something I've never encountered. I'll check what it can do.

In reply to by jdavidmarsh

I remember when Windows XP came out. There was an uproar because you needed an almost unheard of ( for general users, anyway) 128 MB of ram. I happen to have a Focusrite Scarlett I use for recording. I also have a very old inexpensive Diamond Sound Tube Both attach by usb. They have to be selected in both MS4 and in the settings listed in the How To.
Sibelius also opens separate instances for each score. If you scroll over the MS4 icon in the taskbar, you will see previews of all the scores you have open. Including their titles. Select the one you want. Interesting that you rehearse from MS4 rather than PDF's. Although I suppose it is easier to add footnotes.

In reply to by bobjp

Thanks again, and using multiple scores from the MS4 icon is a workable alternative. Not being trained in reading scores I learn my tenor parts by playing them on Musescore, turning the Tenor volume up and using loop playback for difficult bits. I also record each SATB part separately with volume turned up, using OBS Studio to make an mp4 file for each part. I then put them onto a Wordpress site so other choir members can use them too. It's a bit time consuming so I'd be interested to hear if there are quicker ways.

In reply to by bobjp

Just found an alternative to OBS called Bandicam, which I'm finding excellent so far. Allows closer definition of the recording window and has a very nice interface. Also has a variant called Bandicut where individual recordings can be strung together. Do need to pay an annual or lifetime fee but I've done this.

If your computer can't keep up, in some audio applications it might help to increase the buffer size. Try playing around with the settings in Edit->Preferences->I/O and see if it makes any difference.

In reply to by Rickard H

Thanks also for this. I tried doubling the buffer size, then quadrupling it, both with no improvement. If M4 allows scores to be run on M3 I may do this, as M4 looks to have some nice features and a much cleaner interface. My reply to the previous respondent apply, and it's a bit drastic to have to replace my trusty laptop which has shown no other signs of aging for the standard apps I use.

In reply to by Rickard H

Yes, it's 48 kHz.
Now here's an enigma. My desktop computer plays back MS4 scores smoothly but I find it has a lower spec than the laptop's, so i3 processor / 4GB RAM not not i5 / 6GB. The desktop line-out connects to an Edifier R1280T Multimedia Speaker and the laptop to a Cambridge Soundworks box.

In reply to by jdavidmarsh

I definitely feel that any i5 processor should be enough for it to work smoothly. There must be something else afoot.

Do you get these glitches even with very simple pieces that only have one instrument?

Here are a few other things you can check:

Open task manager on the details page, add the column "CPU time" and try to find of there is some background process that is hogging your CPU.

Turn off all "sound enhancements" and hardware accelleration on the sound card.

Try turning off WiFi on the laptop and see if it makes any difference.

Try turning off antivirus temporarily. These have can sometimes interfere with other programs in interesting ways.

In reply to by Rickard H

Thanks for this.

I'm wanting to play SATB scores with extra hidden instruments, so 4 voices + 2 piano parts + percussion. CPU usage goes up to about 40% and the playback is jerky, as originally described. I tried a simpler SATB piece and the CPU usage goes down to less than 30%, still with jerky playback.

The laptop has an ethernet connection and annoyingly active Norton 360 virus protection.

Device Manager shows a Realtek High Definition Audio controller, but the driver date is 16/06/2015 ! There is a Windows 10 update available so is this likely to be safe - don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water.

In reply to by jdavidmarsh

Thanks to all for suggestions on this. I've had to give in and buy a new laptop, in fact a good excuse to do so. The main immediate difference in spec is moving from i5 / 6 GB RAM to i5 / 16GB. Maybe being 10 years younger works to the new laptop's advantage too, despite the old one's upgrade to an SSD.

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