Better Piano Soundfont

• Jun 24, 2018 - 21:31

Hello MuseScore community.

So, I always really enjoyed the Piano soundfont on Musecore 1. Then, I was literally forced to upgrade to Musescore 2 due to some technical difficulties on my computer. I kinda liked the piano soundfont for that, but not as much. Then I was forced to upgrade to Musescore 2.2.1, and I absolutely HATE the piano soundfont. Does anyone have a solution to this problem? A better piano Soundfont? The ORIGIONAL Musescore 1 Soundfont?

Thank you all very much.


In reply to by Bedjka

I agree, those soundfonts are of the highest quality. I recommend using the Nice Keys plus Steinway font as it seems to be the only piano that will play on every midi file and doesn't seem to be affected by different midi control events other than chorus and reverb.

I've just finished up with a new version of the Yamaha Diskclavier Pro Soundfont for my own use. You can download it from Google Drive if you'd like to try it out:…

I used the wave samples that came from… but the instruments and presets are my own design. The ALX - YDP .SF2 is 8.2 MB in size, sampled in thirds at 44100 Hz, and includes the 00 Grand Piano YDP (stereo and mono versions), 01 Bright Piano YDP (stereo), and 03 Honky Tonk Piano YDP (mono).

In reply to by chris.marks

Me too! I have a Casio PX-750 (whose piano SoundFonts I really like - the organ ones not so much), but your Yamaha SoundFont is excellent. And it's always interesting opening these files in PolyPhone to see what's going on, the complexity is right up there in the design work I think.

In reply to by chris.marks

You inspired me to look at that soundfont again. I had played around with making my own general midi SF2 and then discovered that was a lot of work that I put it back down for a couple of years. But what I did complete was a General MIDI Piano Category that includes the ALX-YDP Piano, as well as a lot of other presets that I use in my own MIDI sheet music creations.

Here's the link to my latest SF2 version:…

The ALX Gen Midi Piano includes 21 presets for 25.8 Mb.

1. Grand Piano YDP (stereo)
2. Grand Piano YDP Mono

3. Bright Piano YDP

4. 60s E.Piano Wurlitzer -- Beach Boys, Carpenters, Supertramp
5. 60s E.Piano Wurlitzer Tremolo
6. 60s E.Piano HPianet N -- Fleetwood Mac
7. 60s E.Piano HPianet N Tremolo
8. 60s E.Piano HPianet N Sustained -- The Lovin' Spoonful (Summer in the City)

9. Honky Tonk Piano YDP

10. 70s E.Piano Rhodes Mk1 -- Billy Joel (Just The Way You Are)
11. 70s E.Piano Rhodes Mk1 Tremolo
12. 70s E.Piano Rhodes Mk1 Slow Tremolo
13. 70s E.Piano HPianet T
14. 70s E.Piano HPianet T Tremolo

15. Harpsichord Neupert II-4
16. Harpsichord Muselaar
17. Harpsichord Neupert 16-8-4
18. Harpsichord Muselaar Buff

19. Clavinet D/B (warm & bright) -- Stevie Wonder (Superstition)
20. Clavinet C/A (warm bass)
21. Clavinet C/B (bright treble)

  1. The 00, 01, 03 YDP Piano .wav samples obtained from…
  2. The 02 Wurlizter wav samples obtained from
  3. The 04 Hohner Pianet T wav samples obtained from:… DSK Music presents Hispasonic Sampled Series
  4. The 04 Rhodes Mark 1 wav samples obtained from…
  5. The 06 Harpsichords came from John McCoy.
  6. The 07 Clavinet wav samples obtained from
  7. The 02 HPianet N was my own .wav sample creation.

The instruments and presets are my own creation. I include the links so I can, hah, find them again lol.

Other programs I used to make the SF2 files were:
Audacity (audio editor)
Polyphone (SoundFont editor)
Soundfont MIDI Player 5.7 Bassmidi + SoundFont Edition (compare multiple SoundFonts in real time)
Viena (SoundFont Bank editor)

In reply to by Ziya Mete Demircan

LOL, compared to the original sizes, I suppose that is light. But when I'm combining the better piano with other instruments that I want to have in the score, like the better tenor saxophone, the better congas, the better steel string guitar and picked bass, it all adds up and the playback stutter begins. I pare it down wherever I can. That's why the Yamaha piano .SF2 I made ended up at only 8 Mb, a third of the size of the Salamander light.

I didn't make soundfonts because I have a love of work. I made soundfonts because I have a love of sounds that work, lol.

In reply to by alex42ste

Of course I can even size this soundfont down to 5MB, but the result is:

  • Its natural timbre is greatly diminished.
  • It must necessarily contain loops, and therefore a faded timbre is formed, which is heard like the sound of waves on the beach. // Because it's very difficult to create a natural loop (but not impossible.), especially in timbres that fade over time, such as a piano or guitar instrument.
  • It can no longer be called the Salamander-C5. However, it can be called "ugly baby lizard".

What you want seems to be similar to the following parable (but not to same):

You want to renovate the house and what you want from the craftsman is:

  1. The renovation should be completed in a short time
  2. Must be of Very Good Quality
  3. It should be pretty Inexpensive (cheap)

But the craftsman tells you that you can only choose two of these options above. Because all three together is never possible. :)

In reply to by Ziya Mete Demircan

Alright... so comparing the two side by side in Polyphone to find the differences between us:

1) You sampled from a Salamander C-5 grand piano and I was sampling from a Yamaha Digital grand piano (YDP). There are differences in tone right there. Enough said about comparing apples and oranges. Let us distinguish between original instrument quality and soundfont craftsmanship quality now.

2) You had stereo samples to work with. I only had mono samples to work with. Using the exact same .wav sample twice for a left and right speaker does not make it stereo, that just makes it bloated. That's the grief that I had with the original YDP soundfont design that I made my own .SF2 version of it. So I used the panning feature on the instruments section to create that keyboard sound of bass on the left, treble on the right, middle C in the middle for the speakers. The same mono samples are played twice, but with two different sets of pans to create the stereo sound of L and R instruments when you're listening with a headset, the bass a little softer in your right ear than in your left, and gradually getting louder to your right ear as you climb towards middle C. You did not take advantage of panning at all, every stereo sound centered on middle C in your instrument design, relying on the mic pickup to make the stereo.

Only one note ever gets played though (mono on 2-3 hammered strings), and it's two different ears that are hearing it from two different points of view that sound would appear to travel from one side of your head to the other (stereo). Added math weighs nothing. Two mics weigh twice as much in the .wav samples as one. I chose math, you chose mics. If you were in the audience in a concert hall, stereo sound would make no difference to you at all, seated too far away from the piano to notice that the lowest bass is less than four feet further away than the highest treble that a mono version would be fine (What does the audience hear? YDP Mono). When you're seated at the piano, the travelling stereo sound is definitely noticeable (What does the pianist hear? YDP Stereo).

3) You used A and D# for every octave, those two notes getting stretched to cover the full span. I used A, C, D# and F# for every octave because I didn't like the way the two note stretch deformed the sound. I could afford that added weight because I wasn't doubling up on the same note for the stereo R and L .wav samples. You used 30 samples for the piano (15 notes) plus 14 samples for added harmonics. I used 30 samples for the piano (30 notes) and 0 added harmonics. I miss the harmonics, but missing harmonics is the truth of every digital piano I play. If you want to claim that the YDP is a lesser quality piano soundfont for the lack of added harmonic sounds, I'll agree with you there. But I would claim that the YDP is a higher quality soundfont for using 4 unique notes per octave than two.

4) Your .wav sample lengths are significantly longer than mine, and that's where the bulk of the Mb weight comes from. But I would disagree that longer .wav samples equal better. Degradation occurs naturally that an A4 root 69 needs key corrections once the note has been held beyond a certain point. If I'm going to loop a note to be held at that same volume level indefinitely, it's not going to be at the point where the note is already out of tune due to natural wavelength degradation, even if that faded timbre is true to the reality of a live piano. All of your looping .wav samples need key corrections. All of my looping .wav samples are clean.

5) If I was going to be playing music where the piano note was held for more than two full measures, or if the grand piano was playing a solo, I wouldn't be using a digital piano soundfont for that. I would want to hear the full resonance of a genuine grand piano and I would spend the limited Mb allowance on that, being the only soundfont I would need to add to the score. Concert hall solo piano music differs from rock 'n roll band music in so many different piano ways that we're comparing apples with a fruit basket now. But even in the pianos, you didn't do the math to make the Bright Piano and Honky Tonk piano out of the same C-5 .wav samples. Change the filter cutoff point in the instrument to trim out the bass tones and you'll make a C-5 Bright Piano for no added .wav sample cost. Double up on the instrument to make two tones for two piano strings on the same note (as a real piano is made), one string in tune and one string slightly out of tune to make the C-5 Honky Tonk piano for no added .wav sample cost. Or is that added versatility just a couple of "ugly baby lizards" to you, lol.

So in the renovated house analogy, my renovated house has 3 rooms (3 different midi instruments out of 1 set of .wav samples), and your renovated house has 1 room. I could use the original, unaltered YDP .wav samples if I want longer samples (up to 16s in length) to make a heavier Mb package to equal the C-5, and the instrument and preset designs of my YDP soundfont would be the same: Stereo, Mono, Bright and Honky Tonk. But I don't think the overall quality of the soundfont would be any better by adding more Mb weight in the .wav sample length. How often do you hear a piano note that been sustained for 16 seconds that you would notice the difference? That's four sustained measures on a tempo of 60, and eight sustained measures on a tempo of 120. I don't have any sheet music that sustains a piano note for that long that I made the .wav cutoff decisions that I did. Is there a particular need for a 16 foot ceiling when an 8 foot ceiling is the standard? ;)

In reply to by alex42ste

cite: How often do you hear a piano note that been sustained for 16 seconds that you would notice the difference?

Too many times.

Don't be fooled by digital samples, low notes (bass) sounds normally played on Good quality Acoustic grand pianos can last as long as 1 minute (Requires a good ear and a quiet environment).

In my school years, I used to bet with myself how far I could hear harmonics, and hit a bass note and listen until the sound was gone. For years, I listened to the timbre of the chords I played and the relationship between the chord sounds. Oh, Intervals! let's not forget them.

There were different brands of pianos at the school: Steinway&Sons, Steinweg (different from Steinway), Bösendorfer, Yamaha, Blüthner, Petrof, and a few other brands I can't remember.

I also play the piano now, and I like to hold (or sustain) a chord in the beginning of the intros and/or the endings. I also decorate it with a few small touches of high notes. These are not as rare times as you might think.

And digital (instrument) samples can never reflect the reality of an acoustic environment and the true timbre of the instrument. We are just trying to imitate those instruments.

In reply to by alex42ste

Not panning the individual sounds makes sense though for basically everything except solo piano pieces where you imagine being the player.

With that you can pan the instrument to a side and other instruments to the other side, for example. Pre-panned individual notes make that… less effective. (Imagine a piano sitting sideways, not facing the audience.)

In reply to by mirabilos

Sure, but for no panning, use the YDP Mono preset and cut the .wav file Mb bulk in half. Then you can place the piano on the stage in an orchestral setting to move the sound wherever you want to in the orchestra panning.

Having two .wav files for the stereo forces your headset to use stereo at a predetermined and unalterable sound, versus math in the panning which can be changed at will to simulate a different piano arrangement, or even make a second preset.

I like the stereo sound that I made the preset for it. But there was somebody on the forums who wanted a Mono version specifically for an orchestral arrangement that I made the Mono version, too. Otherwise, the piano would sound like it's hogging the entire stage, violins on the left, horns on the right, and the stereo piano spanning 24 feet, lol. The poster had made a good point.

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