Preview instrument sound before adding

• Mar 25, 2018 - 20:03

Oftentimes I will be arranging a song and I don't know which instrument is closest to the one used in the song. Since Musescore has so many instruments that I have never heard of, I am stuck adding all of Musescores instruments into my score and then adding some notes to figure out what each instrument sounds like. Then I was thinking just how nice it would be to be able to hear a preview of what the sound is like on an instrument in the instrument panel before going through the hastle of fitting a bunch of random instruments on the score.
Maybe it could even use channels like pizz, arco, tremolo, mute.
In case you like visuals then I programmed a short video of what I mean:


Since the sounds in MuseScore are just MIDI approximations anyhow, I think you are far better served going to a website that has real recordings of instruments so you can learn what the real things sound like and make more informed choice.

lol, I asked the same thing too. :) It's a bit overwhelming. What I do is open a totally separate document with some of the instruments I've never heard of...then put in notes to hear how it sounds to give myself an idea...of course you can only try so many instruments before it runs off the page so I'll only add 5 or so, try them, take note of which instruments I like or might use and keep them, get rid of the instrument parts I don't like, add new instruments to try,etc...or you can tell when adding the instrument if it's written for treble, bass, or both clefs to help you decide.

In reply to by Adria Sorensen

There is a limited number of instruments in the sound font file. A large number of the instruments you have never heard of have sound from instruments you have heard of since they do not exist in the sound font file. If you want to hear what an instrument you have not previously heard of sound like, you will need to find an online source, such as Wikipedia. To find the ones with similar sounding instruments, add (or change to) the instrument and look in the mixer. For example, the 6 Course Lute uses a guitar sound.

In reply to by Adria Sorensen

I also posted a list of all the woodwind instrument and their assigned sound in the mixer and attached a notepad file thst has all brass and woodwind instruments listed with the assigned sounds uaed in the mixer...I have yet to do the other categories but it seems to help me having a better idea for what instrument to select (for woodwind and brass anyway)

Keep in mind that what you're hearing is not the "instrument" it's a default sound linked to the instrument.
Rather than having a prehear of an instrument with some arbitrary scale at some random speed I usually write out one or two measure of the actual melody (or if I don't know the melody, a scale). Then I turn on loop playback, open up the mixer and change the actual playback sound until I find a good/close enough match.
The only thing left to do then is to go into the staff properties and use "Change Instrument" there to change to the chosen instrument.

Nothing runs off page, no hassle from adding multiple instruments and the possibility to "prehear" across multiple soundfonts.

I've wished the same thing myself so I made a few documents that plays a sample of the same notes so you can hear what each instrument sounds like...unfortunately, I've haven't done this for every instrument. I did one that covers all the pitched percussion, keyboard, and electronic instruments that musescore has. Then I did a rough draft of all the brass so far....not nearly done and the rough draft names are not correct at all (I need to change them but it's easier to copy and paste a fingering name and change it later than it is to create a new fingering name for every yeah, obviously half of the instruments shouldn't be named brass and I'm not aware of any instrument called "Balloon" or " snazzed" but it's a start anyway until I made a finished sampling for all the brass instruments in musescore...

In reply to by Al Toe

this is a more clear version to sample all the wood wind instruments...
Tis funny, I tried to combine woodwind, free reed, and brass sections as an attempt to make one big fat document but then the winds sounded like brass and the next instrument (piccolo or flute that's on the list) sounded like a baritone for an incomplete first note, then failed to even play any sounds for the rest of the measure that it was supposed to play... Interesting randomness

I like this idea and was about to suggest it myself. In the mixer, there could be a 'preview' play/stop button which is set to play a default set of pitches. (Ex. C4-E4-G4-C5-E5-G5-C6 {+ Cmaj chord}). Although, as Marc mentioned, the sound font instruments are not perfect representations of what the instruments actually sound like, choosing a good instrument sound affects playback and mp3 exporting.

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