Add temple blocks instrument

• Jan 28, 2016 - 22:18
S5 - Suggestion

As discussed at, the "Temple Blocks" instrument in MuseScore 2.0.2 is nothing like actual temple blocks, defining only two pitches. ChurchOrganist has since created a basic five-note temple blocks DRM file and added a similarly basic temple blocks preset to the FluidR3Mono SoundFont, both available at, but the preset is not accessible to percussion, and the drumset is not defined in instruments.xml.

No orchestra would be without a set of temple blocks, and MuseScore shouldn't be, either. What would it take to properly implement this?


@ Michael: True, but timpani are classed in pitched percussion and--depending on the period--there are usually no more than 2, 3, or 5 pitches written. There seems to be a lapse in the logic here. What do you think based on that? Should MuseScore attempt to 'fix' that, or would doing so confuse temple-block players? ;o)

While any given score might typically use only a handful of timpani pitches, the instrument is capable of producing all 12 tones of the chromatic scale and a set of them can be tuned to produce whichever of pitches you like. More to the point, music for timpani is typically written on a standard staff with absolute pitches. Music for temple blocks is, I assume, typically written on a percussion pitch with no indication of absolute pitch.

@Marc--Fair enough; but given that temple blocks exist in several pitches--even if they are not re-tunable as timpani are--how then should those specific pitches be notated on an unpitched, single-line percussion staff? I don't suppose using a staff text to specify which temple block to strike for any particular note would the right way to do that...?

Any percussionists here who could chime in on this question?

You wouldn't use a single-line staff for a set oif five temple blocks. Music for these would be notated the same as for other "quasi-pitched" drums: the staff lines are used to indicate the relative pitches. That is, top staff line indicates highest pitch, next line indicates next highest, etc. That's also how it works for congas, bongos, tom-toms, etc. Depending on how many lines are on your staff and how many other drums you are trying to represent on the same staff, you might possibly use both lines and spaces, but the concept is the same: highest pitch on top,. lowest pitch on bottom, no worries about what the *aqctual* pitch is. At most, if it happens to be especially relevant, there might be a notation at the front of the score giving a suggested tuning for things like congas that are tunable to some extent.

Status (old) active needs info

Problem: The temple blocks preset in FluidR3Mono isn't in the percussion's bank. Is there any way that an unpitched percussion instrument be assigned to use it, or does the SoundFont need to be reconfigured around this?

Very interesting! It does seem to make the system lie back, though. An instruments.xml based on that yields a score with a Mixer channel that claims to use the standard drumkit preset, even though the sound comes from the temple blocks. Any way to get the Mixer to match reality to some degree, too?

Do I gather you can't get it to work?

Maybe I need to consider redefining the temple blocks as a drumset, only problem being that I'm not sure there are any free spaces.

Will look into it.

Reported version 2.1  
Regression No
Workaround No

Currently working on a piece that needs 5 temple block pitches and the temple block option still only has 2 sounds.

Title Add temple blocks instrument I figured out how to make distinct pitches for 6 temple blocks with the standard Musescore soundfont so it looks and sounds good!

I figured out a thing that makes this work with a traditional amount of temple blocks! And you don't even have to add any extra soundfonts and whatnot, it's all in the Musescore woodblock soundfonts. As inconvenient and annoying as this is, if you're a perfectionist like me I think it suffices for what I want, since I was doing something for 6 temple blocks and a wood block, and I was able to get a distinct pitch for all of those. It doesn't sound exactly like temple blocks obviously, it sounds more like a dry-sounding wood block, but hey this alone was a pain to figure out so I'm just happy with it as it is.

So first, to make it LOOK right, use the "Fix to Line" tool in the Inspector and put the notes to whichever staff line you need to.
Then, to make it SOUND right, which is the main point of me posting this: use the "Tuning" tool in the Inspector. It actually adjusts the pitch for this soundfont, which is exactly what I needed.
If you look at the picture I have provided in the link below it shows the tuning I thought worked best for each of the 6 temple block pitches. If it says "A" you first need it on the higher of the two original temple block pitches that Musescore provides, then adjust it however many cents it says. The "B" ones are for the lower of the two original woodblock pitches, then same thing applies.
For the wood block (not temple blocks) pitch that I also needed in what I was making, I put it on the higher of the two original provided pitches, then adjusted it up 300 cents, which is the most it lets you go. I wanted it higher than all of the temple block pitches, so that's what I did. Again see the picture link below for the temple block pitches. Hope this helps!

Title I figured out how to make distinct pitches for 6 temple blocks with the standard Musescore soundfont so it looks and sounds good! Add temple blocks instrument