New Musescore Drumline Extension sounds are a complete waste

• Jul 10, 2018 - 18:00

Waking up this morning, I was hella excited to see that musescore actually devoted time to make an actual Drumline Extension; but then I was immediately disappointed. If you want an actual, good soundfont for your marching percussion community, then at;east make the sounds good and THE EXACT SAME FROM PARTIAL TO PARTIAL. This especially needs to be looked over because say if you do straight 16th notes for 1 measure using the new MDL Snare instrument sound, every single partial sounds different from the one before and after it. Also, the snare, snare lines, tenor lines, and practically every new MDL Instrument sound that came in the extension are COMPLETE GARBAGE. They sound as if you guys recorded the sounds on a set of untuned/overtuned drums. For example, if you listen to the bass 1 hit sound; it is like you took the bass and overtightened the lugs to where you can't even tell what note it produces and then you put sand in the damn drum. Another thing is that I noticed you guys have added buzz rolls, which I applaud you guys for trying; but why would you force it to where the sounds only work on the mdl sounds and not the normal snare? Probably the worst part about this whole update is that you guys are showing this off as a fully clean and polished add-on for people writing percussion music, when really it is just a nicely gift-wrapped shoe box full of the leftover mom's spaghetti from last tuesday night. And let me tell you, that spaghetti is rotten now and has bugs in it.


Sorry you are finding these sounds so disappointing! These things are of course subjective - lots of other people are really loving them. But suggestions for improvement are always welcome!

One of the nice things about the whole extension format is the ease with which updates can be made available, so if you can post a sample score and highlight the specific sounds you are unhappy with, they can be looked at.

FWIW, it was very deliberate that there would be natural variation from note to note - that's meant to be a nice humanizing touch. But it's been reported by one or two others that it perhaps went too far in some cases, so that's already being looked at.

As for the buzz-roll, unfortunately, the mechanism used to implement that requires specific soundfont support for it. At some point it is indeed possible the standard soundfont for the standard snare could be updated.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The problem with add humanizing touch is that human especially when it comes to percussion aren't perfect. Many percussionists work for years to create even a similar sound between hands with as close as possible being the end goal. I feel that maybe marching percussion is still a ways off in many peoples understanding, which is probably why many people enjoy this new font. Some people just don't have the background to know better. Also to be quite frank, Marching drums are supposed to be loud and piercing in order to overcome an entire ensemble and the drums added in the newest update are not suitable for that practice. I know my use case is rare seeing as most people trying to make a living off of composition are using very expensive high quality software such as Sibelius and Virtual Drum line to reach a near lifelike sound with high customization as to different sounds, but I don't really have an option other than Musescore. I feel if these people who like these new sounds have ever listened to a wgi dci or even most high school performances they would understand that these sounds are not cut out for what you advertised. This leads me and many others to even feel as far as betrayed. As for buzz rolls, the way most people would get by without buzz notation is to put a tremolo of the correct size to produce a sound similar to a buzz. In my opinion there wasn't even a need for new drum sounds. Just a re-skin of tremolos and maybe a little extra code would have worked fine. I'll be happy to make a full score with issues highlighted clear as day if I'm certain there will be an attempt to fix them. Signed, Jordan

In reply to by JordanBeuhler

Oh there, there was certainly a need. The old bass drums were absolutely horrible, and there's much more variety with all the drums now. Obviously they're not perfect but they're pretty nice to work with. And honestly if you want them to be loud and piercing just bump them up on the mixer. Never forget that Musescore is COMPLETELY FREE to use.

In reply to by Cole Kim

I have attempted to raise them before adding to this thread but to no avail because I prefer to write my dynamics realistically to an environment where the real drums will be used. I never said I didn't enjoy the fact musescore is free i said it wasn't an excuse for a poorly put together sound font that was advised as clean. I've used musescore for along time now and the program holds a special place in my heart but this was just something I couldn't agree with. Hopefully you can understand.

In reply to by JordanBeuhler

Hey Jordan, thanks for the feedback. Would be great to get as much detailed feedback as possible. We are actively working to continue to refine MDL as quickly as possible.

As I am the one driving this effort, I suppose it is probably worth providing a bit of background on my experience as I might provide a bit more insight into where we are headed and level of quality we're setting our sights on.

I spent many years very actively involved in the marching world - member of Blue Devils (was DM a couple of years), worked at Crossmen, Cadets. Taught/wrote/designed for loads of groups across the US and internationally.

I also studied composition (Juilliard) and aim to bring as much as possible in terms of notation best practices to MDL as possible. It simply takes time.

Do trust that there is an awareness here, a plan, and that we will rapidly iterate based on feedback.

There is an update to MDL coming out this week. I'd love to get as much detailed feedback as you are up for.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

@Mark Sabatella Jul. 10 -> This is one of the best answers to fairly "rude" internet comments i´ve read so far. Thank you. Thank you for creating free stuff that we can use and put an effort into making it better and bigger. Thank you for giving a perfect example as how to not get hung up on the negative side of things but exclusively focus on the productive and positive aspects of a conversation. KUDOS. Made my day. Whoever is "not satisfied" is btw free to BUY whatever Library and Software they favor over musescore. Have a very very good day! Nik from Berlin

@chancjones thanks for the feedback.

There is an update coming out soon that will address a lot of your concerns.

Here is a preview of sound.…

We definitely need to even out the hits and fix some funky things like unison bass buzz and more.

Maybe it is a good idea here to explain what MDL is and what it isn't.

Firstly, MDL is not Virtual Drumline. Rather than costing $200 on top of $500 required for the notation software, MDL is 100% FREE.

The fact that it is free should not have relation to the quality, though, and we are committed to actively and continually improving MDL.

But, let's talk about other differences between MDL and VDL.

VDL is able to get the level of realism by requiring use of a 3rd party VST host to playback nearly 2GB of samples.

MDL is 22MB in TOTAL, including all samples, templates, palettes, etc., uses a SFZ soundfont, and is seamlessly integrated into MuseScore.

The difference between SFZ and VST in terms of capabilities is like a Fiat and Ferrari.

But, in comparison to the default soundfont, which is in SF3 format... this is like comparing a bicycle to the Fiat above and it is not technically possible to make some improvements you are suggesting in the SF3 format (though some will be in next update of MuseScore_general.sf3).

Backing up - MDL is a free Fiat, that you can use in addition to the Free bicycle. There is no such thing as a free Ferrari. :-)

Another point to mention is that samples are only one single aspect of delivering MDL. There is A LOT of code involved in supporting not only how the synthesizer may interpret and playback specific samples, but also code in the soundfont itself to determine the exact parameters of the type, timing and quality of sound.

Each of the points you mentioned above have little to do with the samples, but are further adjusted and refined in code. If you just opened the raw sample and played it back, that is not the intended sound, as the target result is how these samples will be processed.

Here is an example of the code for the snareline hits:

Screen Shot 2018-07-09 at 6.12.45 PM.png

It is these parameters that will be continually adjusted in order to arrive at the appropriate median sound for the MuseScore audience. As we continue to adjust and refine the code, playback will continue to improve. It just takes time.

So, what do I mean by median sound?

While drum corps and indoor percussion worlds have microcosms of taste in tuning - guys arguing over superiority of tunings of ScoJo, Rennick, Roger Carter, Mike Jackson, McNutt, etc. - this is not who MDL is really for. The world is much bigger than that.

There are loads of different styles, tunings and tastes - Big 10, HBCU, Show Bands, Military Bands, Parade Bands. MDL is created for this global audience.

How we will most effectively address the needs of each of these segments, only time will tell. MDL is not meant to be something static, but a living product, rapidly iterating, continually evolving, based on the feedback and participation from the community.

Thanks for trying out the first go at it and thanks for your unvarnished feedback.

In reply to by Daniel

Thank you so much for the improvements that are shown in the beta test, these are the best sounds and I agree with what jordan said. Those sounds in MDL 1.1 can compete with VDL. I sincerely thank you for the improvements. When can we see the 1.1 update come to use for users?

In reply to by chancjones

Hi @chancjones if you open the Articulations palette in the MDL workspace, you will see in the third row both Left-Over-Right (LOR) and Right-Over-Left (ROL) notation.

MDL does not use separate noteheads (like hollow diamond) or parenthesis (commonly used for ghost notes) to notate crossovers, as these cannot be consistent across instruments and can cause confusion.

Details of the full MDL notation standard will be posted very soon. Join the MDL group for the latest details and information -

I just wanted to ask what sound system you are using to listen to your scores. I use my AlClair in-ear monitors to listen to all of my Musescore scores as normal speakers and lots of instruments equals the sound of death, unless you can control gain and volume independently. Of course the definition of appealing sound is still subjective, and you may still not like it, but a lot of the rest of us do so keep your disgusting analogies to yourself please, thanks.

Agreed. I started a different free score maker, it’s called The sounds for MDL and winds are so much better, only downside is there’s a free trial and the premium which adds more instruments and other score editing features.

In reply to by sbruner5

Other downside is that is requires an Internet connection to work, and it's not even close to being as sophisticated in terms of breadth and quality of notation it can produce. But it has other advantages too, like the fact that being cloud-based, it can run more easily on tablets, Chromebooks, and other systems besides traditional desktop OS's, and of course the collaboration. Really, a pretty different value proposition: with you get decent sounds (to my ears, not really better than what is available for MuseScore, but not obviously worse either) and cloud-based collaboration, but you give up high-quality music engraving. So if the main purpose is to work with others and hear your music online, it's a good choice, especially if the music isn't too complex, or your only device is a tablet. if the main purpose is to produce printed notation for musicians to read though, I think you'll quickly; realize it's pretty rudimentary in comparison to MuseScore, though.

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