Flute playback vibrato is too much

• Sep 10, 2023 - 18:29

The flute's vibrato is obstructive to its sound. It's very distracting. The default sounds should be straight tones or subtle vibrato, because vibrato really should be only an embellishment rather than dominating the sound. None of the other wind instruments are as bad as the flute.

It would be nice to have a subtle and controlled flute sound.

The flute playback in Noteflight is a good reference, in my opinion: that one uses subtle vibrato that doesn't get in the way of the music.

Would it be possible to add a feature to add/control the vibrato used on each note, like a performer does?
If all the musicians recording sounds for MuseScore recorded straight tones, then the default would be straight tones, and there could be a feature for composers to select a note and add vibrato: they could control the frequency and depth of the vibrato, and I imagine that would just be a function of pitch adjustment.

If that's too much or too complicated, then I think the standard playback sounds just need to be more subtle.


So switch to flute 2. The numbers do not indicate parts, but rather playing techniques. Flute 2 has no vibrato.

Sorry, but vibrato is not pitch adjustment. Vibrato has to be recorded. It varies from note to note and register to register. To me the idea that composers would get to decide the type of vibrato that is produced is totally un-natural.

In reply to by bobjp

Flute 2 does have vibrato, but it is distributed differently across notes. That touches on another issue: when scoring for multiple flutes (or multiple vibrato producing instruments), the vibrato between parts 1 and 2 clashes and causes intervals and unison notes to sound out of tune: it's particularly obvious on long notes. It is impossible to create pure harmonies with the playback feature simply because the vibrato of all of the instruments muddles intonation and obstructs tonal purity. Even the 2nd parts.

I am just suggesting for the composer to have control of vibrato on these digital instruments for playback purposes because the default vibrato of the pre-recorded instruments is unnatural in a lot of styles: it forces one style of vibrato on all styles of music, so playback just sounds bad in styles that demand different types of vibrato or no vibrato. Performers do not use the same vibrato for Bach as they do for Strauss.

At the very least, each instrument should have a true straight-tone option with no vibrato so harmonic intonation is accurate and tonal purity remains intact because that is more important than vibrato in any style of music.

Vibrato is basically a sine wave of fluctuating pitch and timbre, and it can be produced digitally with sine wave pitch adjustments on straight tones; sine waves can be stretched and permutated just as vibrato can be.

And I write music for myself: it is natural to decide how to embellish my own compositions. It would just be nice to have the same control digitally as I have with an instrument.

In reply to by tjaa26

Paid notation software has vibrato options. They are completely different fonts. So there may be 5 or 6 articulations to choose from. I can't imagine artificially altered tones can sound at all natural. Two flute players performing anything are not going to match in tone quality or vibrato.
I would hope they don't use any vibrato in Bach. But our modern ears seem to need it.
I guess I'm not understanding the "digital" reference. General midi is digital to me. But fonts deal with recorded sound. These can be manipulated in a processor, as you say.
I also write for myself. But that doesn't mean I do whatever I want. In some circles, there is a lot of discussion about topics like "do you write what you know to be true, or do you write what sounds good using what you have". I used to be solidly in the first camp. But not so much any more. Just depends.

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