How do I use another program called "Hollywood Choir" as a VST Plugin in Musescore?

• Jan 8, 2024 - 14:32

I still use MS 3.61 because of MS 4.2's continued failure (in part) to add Dynamics symbols and volume controls to staffs. I frequently insert hairpins and dynamics marks to one line of a staff, and another one using different values to the 2nd line. I can then simply adjust the volume of any/all dynamics using the inspector in MS 3.6. MS 4.2 does not do that, which is a fatal error for me. It not only does not allow dynamics marks to be edited for volume, it also does not allow individual dynamics to be assigned to each line of a staff. Varying dynamics is a key part of all orchestra's work. The Conductor routinely tells the musicians to quiet down or boost the volume "slightly" of a particular passage.

However, another question has arisen. I recently heard a score in YouTube that had a full male and female choir singing a few actual Latin lyrics in the song. They were a virtual choir, not a live choir recording. In research, I found an amazing program called "Hollywood Choirs". It is not free, but it contains a full 20 voice mixed choir that will sing any typed words you enter into it, and play the tune to accompany it using thousands of instruments. To get that, you have to load up the program's digital "station" and input notes and lyrics using a digital work station (DAW). I emailed them to ask if their program could somehow be used with MuseScore. They replied that it does not directly support MuseScore, but it will work as a "VST Plugin". Since MS allows a VST Plugin (whatever that is???), I am asking here if there is any way I can create a VST plugin for this program and somehow load it up as a plugin in MS? If not, is there any way I can replace the existing choir .sf2 soundfont with one that allows me to type a few words, and get the choir to sing the actual words in Musescore?

Thanks in advance for your advice and help


In reply to by bobjp

Bob: Thanks for the reply. The East-West Hollywood Choirs link is a link to the software I need, but sadly, the link you posted no longer works. However, I am willing to buy a limited edition with 74 instruments for $200 from the mfrer. That said, I have ABSOLUTELY no idea how to integrate or use it in Musescore. I also get that it has a BIG learning curve, with a big users manual. I suppose I could learn how to type lyrics in its separate program and produce a music track singing the lyrics I might want to add to my Musescore adaptation, but I don't think Musescore will even accept that track. I would have to produce an MP3 file in the plugin, then produce an MP3 file of my Musescore adaptation without a choir track, then combine them in Audacity to produce a 3rd MP3 song. Even then, how do I add that combined song to the Musescore website when I upload my adaptation?

Can you explain just a bit what all this would entail? Better yet, are you aware of any other "plugin" I could actually load into Musescore (in the Plugins folder), that would allow me to add a choir track to my score that SINGS ACTUAL LYRICS rather than just "Ooohs" or "Aaahs"? HELP!!!

In reply to by fsgregs

VSTs don't work via a plugin at all. They work via their own player that gets downloaded with the sounds. When you select one of the VST sounds in the mixer, the player opens and you select things that way. That's why you should practice on something free first.
I've heard of word fonts but don't really know of any in particular.

I've used the Hollywood Choirs - example:

It's emphatically not as easy as typing words into the script, at least not when the language is English with its endless spelling anomalies. You can spend many hours tinkering with the individual phonemes and still not create very intelligible output.

I don't quite understand the answers you've gotten so far. A VST instrument IS a plugin, and in a scenario like this needs to be controlled by a host application that allows you to craft a stream of MIDI data to drive it in specific and detailed ways. I'm a huge fan of Musescore but it's far from being up to this particular task, though it's fascinating to think that it might be, some day. A great notation program that's also a competent MIDI sequencer would be revolutionary.

In the meantime, look at Cakewalk, Cubase, Ableton if you want to host VST plugins effectively for anything other than live performance. There's a very substantial "learning curve" but the education will transfer to Musescore if it evolves as we hope.

In reply to by scott.1

Thanks so much for the reply. I listened to your example on Musescore using Hollywood Choir and that is EXACTLY what I am seeking ... a means of creating a choir singing actual lyric words, then inserting the result into a Musescore song uploaded to the Musescore website. I realize the learning curve is steep, but I am retired, semi-disabled, love music and have the time to learn. I am also prepared to buy the program for $200. My question is ... HOW did you incorporate singing lyrics into a Musescore score? Assuming you used the Hollywood Choir's separate program interface, what did you output and how did it somehow get loaded into a Musescore instrument track on the website? If the answer is too long for this forum, would you be willing to teach me just that answer in a separate email? My address is"

Eagerly awaiting your reply. Thanks.

In reply to by fsgregs


That audio was produced outside of Musescore, incorporated into a video file, and uploaded to YouTube. There is (was?) a feature on that lets you designate a YT video as the audio source - see "Manage audio sources" from the three dots menu on your page for a given score. I haven't uploaded to MS for over a year now, so given the state of the site these days, one always has to add "I hope that feature is still working!"

BTW after sounding off yesterday, I decided I should try the Hollywood Choirs myself in MS 4.2. I did run into problems right away: for example, the UI window doesn't size properly, so some controls seemed to be inaccessible. HC has vocal samples taken at different dynamic levels and uses MIDI CC 1 to fade between them, so without a way to edit MIDI controllers you're stuck in the soft layer. Nevertheless I did get some usable output right away. So I don't want to be overly discouraging, but I still think you'd have to plan on finding a more suitable host app before doing any real work.

In reply to by scott.1


Thanks again for the prompt reply. My wife asked me over dinner why I would want to spend $200 for the program, plus hours and hours of learning curve, to produce a singing choir track on a score I had no intention or market to sell into (all of my music is for my own use only). She also asked to listen to some demos from Hollywood Choir's website and I have to agree with her that the words sung, while quite melodic, are really hard to interpret. They only vaguely sound like the lyrics they are supposed to mimic. I would have to strive for hours to get the program to sing just a few words I can identify, then export them as an MP3 file, then load it into Audacity along with my own Musescore score (without playing the choir track), then mix them together to produce a 3rd MP3 file, then export and upload that to YouTube as a hidden file on the Musescore website, which when downloaded to their own computer by a listener, would have no such singing choir sound .. only Ooohs and Aaahs as usual.

I kind of had to agree with her that unless I have decided to become a true composer selling music, none of it made enough sense to go to the expense and effort. So ... given the work involved, I am giving up on the idea of finding a way to insert a singing choir into Musescore. I'll stick with Ooohs and Aaahs. Thanks so much for your gracious advice. Maybe in another life ...


In reply to by fsgregs


I think you've reached a very reasonable conclusion. I used it on a few short pieces but never convinced myself it would be worthwhile to take it much further - and I'm a major computer music nerd.

Here's to spouses and the sanity they can bring ;)


In reply to by bobjp

Bob: The sounds from the Spitfire website are wonderful. They have Choir, Strings and Horns apps and they are wow! Even though I have to buy them for $29 each, I might do so, if ...

Apparently, I have to load up their separate player/app to create the music you wish. I can do that, assuming the learning curve is not too big. However, I have no idea how to integrate that with Musescore. You said they work with MS 4.2, but how? Do they create a plugin that somehow I can load up, then create a track in MS like I usually do, but have their voices replace MuseSounds or ... Alternatively, do I create a music track on Spitfire separately then export an MP3 file in Spitfire that somehow MS will allow me to import? If so, how does MS handle an imported MP3?

Lastly, I do not use MS4 because of its continual problem with lack of dynamics controls. Can I somehow use Spitfire in MS 3.61?


In reply to by fsgregs

AFAIK MU3 can't use VSTs. In MU4, you download and install to their default locations, the sounds and the player. That's it. When you open a score in MU4, and open the mixer, Vst will be a category in a given channel. Select Spitfire and the player opens. That's where you choose the instrument you want. MU4 Does this automatically.

Well, we all have to use the software we think is best. I have three different VSTs loaded but I almost never use them because I don't think the sounds are better than Muse Sounds. Muse sounds are far, far from perfect. But for my purposes, better than the free commercial sounds in the VSTs I've tried.

I compose for small orchestra in a style I call film score. And mostly as a hobby. I Have never found myself needing to define a dynamic, or individual notes. Not in Sibelius, or MU3, or MU4. There are many ways to achieve dynamic balance. Which, I believe, is part of the craft of composing. I don't have MU3 on this computer. I do have it on my old computer. I only open it to answer a forum question now and then.

Many think that MU4 is a regression. A mistake. Incomplete. Beta. In reality, it's just different. MU4 realizes my MU3 scores far better than MU3 ever did. Check my page on .com. I have 2 pieces there. Only because I had to post something for a group. Otherwise I don't really care about posting there.

But we each get to use the software that works best for us.

In reply to by bobjp


OK, let's see if I understand this. If I buy the Spitfire Choir program for $30 and install it on my Windows PC, it will come with a "player/controller" that I launch and can use independently to create one or more choir tracks with notes on them that the Spitfire choir will sing in either Ooohs or Aaahs. Separately, I can open MS 4.2 and create a "choir" instrument track. To assign an instrument to it, I can pull down the F10 menu to open the Mixer. There will not only be a MuseSounds choice, but also a "VST" choice. If I click on "VST", I will see "Spitfire" listed. If I then choose that, MS will launch the Spitfire Player/Controller. What I don't know is what happens next? Do I then close the F10 menu, enter notes onto my new Choir track in MS 4.2, and when I click the Play button, the Choir notes will be played using the Spitfire choir? If not, what does happen? I need a bit more detail before I buy the program (since it is not free). Also, how do I choose which singers in Spitfire to use? Aren't there basses, altos, tenors and sopranos, etc. in both male and female voices, etc.?

Please ... just a bit more explanation. Thanks so much.


In reply to by fsgregs

> If I buy the Spitfire Choir program for $30 and install it on my Windows PC, it will come with a "player/controller" that I launch ...[snip] Separately, I can open MS 4.2 and create a "choir" instrument track. To assign an instrument to it, I can pull down the F10 menu to open the Mixer. There will not only be a MuseSounds choice, but also a "VST" choice. If I click on "VST", I will see "Spitfire" listed. If I then choose that, MS will launch the Spitfire Player/Controller. What I don't know is what happens next?

I'd say these expectations and descriptions are correct.

I've not used Spitfire's offerings, but here's what my VST3 menu looks like in MuseScore4, where I have access to Korg, Modartt/PianoTeq and Native Instruments:

Kontakt in MuseScore 4.2 mixer.png

After loading an instance of Kontakt 7 I can navigate through my library of Native Instruments instruments, select and customize via the vendor's controls. And through the Kontakt>File menu I can also access any third party .nki files I've purchased ... and I can even load instruments I've sampled and saved.

So it sounds like you're getting close!

In reply to by scorster

I think the only thing not correct in your expectations is "it will come with a "player/controller" that I launch and can use independently to create one or more choir tracks with notes on them that the Spitfire choir will sing in either Ooohs or Aaahs".

There will be no "tracks" in the Spitfire player/controller. The tracks will always live in MS (or any DAW you use). The Spitfire plugin only plays the notes as they are sent from the track in MS.

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