Fix Symphony Orchestra template

• Jun 8, 2019 - 05:47
Reported version
S4 - Minor

Currently, the Symphony Orchestra template and has the following

Violin I
Violin II

All of these are singular and have solo instruments assigned to them. They should all be the plural and have instrument sections assigned to them. There is a distinct difference in sounds.


I see that in a symphonie orchestra there are usually muiltiple violins, violas and violoncelli, but are there also multiple contrabasses?
And is Violin 1 not usually solo?

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

There are usually multiple contrabasses in a symphony orchestra.

Violin 1 usually refers to a section with several players. Sometimes the composer requires only a single player and will mark the Violin 1 part "Solo". This may also be done for other string parts - e.g. Dvorak symphony No.9 movement 2, bars 110 and 111 where violin 1, viola and cello parts are all marked solo - i.e. Dvorak wants a string trio, and not the full sections to play there. The return to full sections is marked "Tutti".

Another enhancement that would be nice, but probably needs coding rather than tweaking of template, would be to allow multiple different instruments to be allocated to a single written part. The particular application would be in classical (i.e. pre Beethoven) orchestral scores where cellos and contrabasses often share a part. As the contrabass sounds an octave lower than written, they effectively double the cellos an octave lower. In some cases the score is notated to indicate that only cellos or contrabasses should play during a particular section, and so the ability to mute one of the instruments would also be needed.

The workaround I use is to include staves for both cello and contrabass; rename the cello stave to something like Violoncello e Basso; notate the part on the cello stave, copy and paste it to the contrabass stave and then ctrl down arrow to put it at the correct pitch; then set the conttrabass stave to invisible.

To clearly answer @Jojo's questions. All stringed instrument sections have multiple instruments. (usually 4-8 basses for the smallest section and 8-16 violin I's for the largest) It is not at all uncommon to have a solo violin I, Viola and/or Cello, but I wouldn't put an extra instrument in the template for it.

When there is a solo instrument, the rest of the section will often play and the solo will have its own staff, so while the extra channel would be nice, it's not necessary. These notation issues will hopefully be fixed in the process of improving instrument changes and the mixer as proposed by Shoogle and the GSoC student.

To be absolutely correct, I guess the answer is yes. In English I've seen it both ways, but other languages usually use the plural.

Status PR created active

What is the difference between a template and a regular score with the instruments added from scratch?
I've found the templates as mczx files in the templates subfolder of the program folder, and they look pretty the same as a score with the same appearance created directly using the New score wizard.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

To JoJo Schmitz: This could be handled with an instrument change indeed, but I've noted that each instrument one adds under the same part name finally appears as a channel. In a recent piece I needed the doublebass player to hit the top of the instrument with the hand as sort of a percussion instrument. I used a conga sound through an instrument change and I found it as one of the channels.
So it will appear there anyway.

Status active PR created

First of all PR created means that Jojo submitted the changed template for inclusion in the next release.

A template can be either a .mscz or .mscx file. They are actually scores and if you want to put a completed score in your user templates folder it will be included in your list of templates. All notes, text, tempos and everything but style settings and instruments are stripped when it's used as a template.

Jojo is not using instrument change text, but rather changing the definitions in the template. This is so that in the future scores created with the symphony orchestra will have sections defined instead of solo instruments as is the current case.

As far as using an instrument change is concerned, that's independent of the template and cannot be included in a template.

In reply to by mike320

Thanks for the explanations!
Regarding the instrument change, I didn't really mean to include it in a template, but to show that if it is likely to use an instrument change (for instance a solo violin in an orchestral section, frequent in many romantic and modern composers), not including it in a channel by default but leaving it to be later included as an instrument change will not save mixer space since anyway the new instrument is automatically associated to the main instrument as a channel.
I may be wrong, but from the preceding discussion it seems that including a solo violin as one of the channels associated with "violins I" part (along with pizzicato and tremolo) actually does depend on the template definition. Then it would be posible to select it from a list in the staff text properties dialog, and possibly offered as a distinct text in the palette.
The only problem at the current stage is that the available solo violin is more intimate, chamber-music like: it has the correct sound but not the reverberation expected from a solo violin played within an orchestra which is most often heard in a large hall. The reverse problem exists when using the tremolo channel fom the solo violin, it is clearly an orchestral tremolo instead of a solo tremolo.

You can find sound fonts that will sound satisfactory for any occasion and mix and match sounds in the mixer (once the 3.1 amnesia problem is solved) from different fonts. That makes the sound font irrelevant to the template. I said I don't object to another channel for strings (or for any instrument for that matter), but in all of the situations you describe, it is better to simply add the instrument to the score. For the bass hit sound you need a non-pitched instrument to make the sound (though you would probably make the instrument invisible) and Solo instruments are often playing with the rest of their sections and would need their own staves, which the user would add as needed.

I've been looking at…
and found, for instance, this change:
- strings.viola
This goes along with changing MIDI program 41 (solo viola) to program 48 (GM strings 1, I guess fast strings). The same happens to the other strings, they are all converted into program 48.
I think this is not convenient, since each instrument of the family has a distinct sound, both solo and as an ensemble. In this way all instruments are merged into a unique continuum of sounds losing their personality. As a first approximation it may be acceptable, but I think a different approach would be necessary in the future.
Soundfonts can host up to 128 MIDI banks so, probably MSCX scores should include a reference to banks, and so it would be preferable to keep program 40, 41, 42 and 43, provided that it also specified the bank (one where those programs correspond to ensemble).
Clearly General MIDI is insufficient to give a program number to all different timbres required in an orchestra (besides arco, pizzicato and tremolo strings can have saltellato, col legno, harmonics, sul ponticello, mute, flageolets, and probably many others, let alone the extended techniques).
Of course one could find specific soundfonts to do this, but the standard HQ soundfont should at least provide distinct sounds for group violins, violas celli and basses.

I agree. I saw a discussion about this in the last day or two I thought it was being addressed, but apparently not in the symphony orchestra template.

Do I understand that you changed all of the sounds from, for example, Viola to Strings? I would rather have the sound remain Viola so it at least resembles a viola sound rather than an entire string section. The request was to change it from Viola to Violas and so forth. If the sound has changed to Strings then it has done nothing to change that the user is going to change the sound in the mixer. The sections being referred to in the initial request were Violins, Violas and so forth, not strings.

Fix version