How do I install SFZ files?

• Feb 22, 2018 - 21:02

The documentation didn't really help me. It seemed like all I had to do was to drag the entire extracted directory into the one from which Musescore usually gets its soundfonts from. So I did that. Didn't work. I also tried to put it into the other directory where the Fluid Mono soundfont is stored, since the documentation wasn't very clear on which one do I have to put it in. That also didn't work. As in, the synthesizer didn't find it in either case. So, is there some trick to this, or is it just a local problem for me?


In reply to by Tsskyx

What do you mean by "do anything"? Do you mean you hear silence when you play the score, even though the Mixer is showing the proper sounds for each instrument? If so, then probably you forgot to copy the audio files into that same folder - the SFZ files by themselves don't actually contain any sound.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The soundfont that I'm trying to install is a piano soundfont. That is, it contains the piano sounds and nothing else. What I did was that I created a new folder in the one where Musescore usually looks for installed soundfonts, and first, I put it there the way it got unpacked. That however didn't work, so I took all the important files and put them into the same single folder (so that the SFZ file was in the same directory as all the WAV sound files), and that did work, as in, I can now load it in the Zeberus window without it throwing an error.

But now I don't know what to do. The people above told me I need to assign the sounds in the mixer, so I opened it up, but then I noticed that nothing new loaded. I have two other soundfonts installed. The default one and also Timbres of Heaven. I've noticed that the names of the instruments in the mixer are the same as those from the ToH pack, and that they also sound the same. So I guess the sounds related to the SFZ file didn't load.

However, I've noticed that a new instrument indeed did pop up in the mixer. It's a bit weird. It shows in the dropdown menu of the instruments for both of the other two soundfonts that I have installed. It's called "1960 Steinway B-211", so it is the one I'm looking for. But when I choose it, it's silent, as you said. And it's silent even if I go back to the synthesizer and choose the installed SFZ again (by clicking on it).

So while a new instrument option did show up, the soundfont itself doesn't seem to be working. I have also tried to remove both of the other two soundfonts from the Fluid window in the synthesizer, which made only the Steinway B-211 show up in the mixer, but again, no sound. And yes, I double checked it. The WAV files indeed are in the same directory as the SFZ file, and there's also three github related files that came with the entire pack, if that has anything to do with this.

In reply to by Tsskyx

Loading a new soundfont won't automatically update the selections in the Mixer - that's the reason you are asked to open the Mixer. The sounds will appear in the dropdown within the Mixer in the same order they appear in the Synthesizer, and I believe all Fluid sounds appear before all Zerberus sounds although I am not so sure about that. Anyhow, indeed, for each instrument for which you wish to actually use one of your SFZ sounds, you will need to select that sound in the Mixer. Once you ahve done that, it should play OK. If not, this most likely means the audio file isn't where the SFZ is expecting to find it. Perhaps your particular SFZ file needs it WAV files to be in particular subfolder; you might try opening the SFZ in a text editor to see if that appears to be the case. I would have assumed that unpacking it would automatically create the correct folder structure, and that whatever appeared to go wrong when you first tried that was actually some unrelated problem (like accidentally using Fluid rather than Zerberus, or you hadn't actually unpacked yet, or there was a permissions problem, etc). And so by mucking with the where files lived, you actually broke the association between the SFZ and its WAV files. That's just a guess, but it's the most likely thing I can think of that fits the facts.

So I'd suggested uninstalling the SFZ from Zerberus. deleting the folder, then starting over.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

If I keep the structure, it fails to load. I am using Zeberus for it, it is unpacked (if you mean unpacked from a compressed RAR or ZIP format), and I'm not sure if there's anything wrong with my permissions, it didn't say anything like that. It simply said it failed to load.

In reply to by Tsskyx

Hmm, what said "failed to load"? You mean you saw it listed as an option to load into Zerberus, but when you tried to select it, a dialog box popped up with an error? Can you post a screenshot, or at least the exact text of the error message (including the contents of the dialog title bar)?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Yes, exactly. The error window itself doesn't actually say anything important. It lists the directory of the file when referring to it in the error, but that's about it. The title of the error window just says "Musescore". Also, it does start loading at first, but then crashes at around 50%. I'm also using a different language, I don't have the program installed in English (although I sometimes wish I had).

In reply to by Tsskyx

What this sounds like to me, then, is that the place you initially unpacked into was correct, MuseScore tried to load the audio, and something went wrong - some error in the soundfont, limitation in our support for it, whatever. Then you moved things around in a way that prevented MuseScore from even trying to load the audio, which is you got no errors but also no sound. So the trick now will be to figure out the original error. Do a search of the forum and you'll see discussion of a problem if the WAV files have spaces in their names or something like that, not sure if that was fixed for 2.1 or not, but maybe you'll find other discussions.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

hello, may i please continue this dialog?! i am trying as well to install and play some sfz/wav files. it is the virtual playing orchestra. the description on the musescore website did not really help me due to some special terms i do not understand since i am not a professional.
and there are so many questions i hardly know where to start.
some facts first: i run mac osx catalina, musescore 3.4.2..... try to ad a sfz violin playing to the sheet

  1. in the description at the m.s. website is explained, that the sfz files, once downloaded, might open by themselfes in musescore through clicking them. or otherwise open them manually with musescore.
    when i try this, musescore is not even selectable at the recomended applications. (not is sibelius, not is garageband, not is reaper)
    if i select "all applications", i can selct muse score, but a window pops up, telling me that the file can't be opened.
    (screenshots attached. also on how appear the sfz files in the finder)

maybe i stop here, because if there is a solution for this, maybe i'll get the rest by myself...

thanks for help!!!

In reply to by mallara

Yes, I finally got how to use the Zerberus button and load the long list of sfz sounds into the sythesizer (previously loaded into C:\Users\Me\Documents\MuseScore3\SoundFonts\Virtual-Playing-Orchestra3-2-2-standard-scripts\VSCO-2-CE-1.1.0). AND i successfully found and chose new voices in the Mixer for the choir voices. However, when I played the MuseScore from the app, no sound was produced for those choir voices (SATB).

In reply to by Elkwood

If you explain at which step of the instructions you encountered a problem, we can assist better. In general, the procedure described in the Handbook should work fine, so it's hard to know which step you had an issue with. I will say the most common mistake with SFZ files in my experience is forgetting to include the actual audio files in the folder.

In reply to by Elkwood

Great so far! What you re describing is a classic symptom of what I mentioned earlier - getting the SFZ files but forgetting to also include the actual audio files.

Another possibility is that your staff is configured to use Single Note Dynamics but the soundfont isn't, or vice versa. Try toggling that setting in Staff/Part Properties. Or, try changing the global settings for dynamics in View / Synthesizer - it could be that particular soundfont works better with different settings.

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