Adding single soundfont instrument. My Process and asking for what I may have missed.

• Aug 6, 2022 - 21:10

Here is the description of what I did to get the sound of an orchestral "rachet" - Please let me know what I may have skipped or need to do more to be able to hear this in my composition. Thanks! Sora

  1. Downloaded London Phil free Percussion file into Musescore 3 Folder = Soundfont
  2. Opened "rachet long" in MS 3 Soundfont Folder. It was an MP3
  3. Opened the "rachet long" MP3 in Audacity and changed it to a WAVE file and saved in Musescore Soundfont File
  4. (listened to 2 different tutorials for using Polyphone...not sure I totally get it...but) Opened a new project in Polyphone. Clicked on the symbol sideways S and imported rachet long WAVE. Turned it into a SF2 and saved into the Musescore Soundfont Folder.
  5. Opened my composition. Opened Synthesizer. Loaded Rachet Long SF2 into FLUID. (It seems to be saved here as it showed up after closing and opening the composition.)
  6. Opened Mixer. Went to tab for Rachet. THIS IS WHERE I'm not sure what to do. When I unclick Drumset, then I scroll down the SOUND list and there is no Rachet listed to choose from. So I went back, clicked on Drumset and then scrolled down the SOUND list...but I don't know what to choose there. ???

Consequently, I can't get the rachet sound into my composition.

I'd appreciate any suggestions. Thanks so much!
If you want, I can upload my composition...but I'm not sure if that is necessary.


Hi! I take it you created the soundfont as just a normal sound with a program number as opposed to assigning it to a specific pitch in a drum set? If so, best to add the instrument your score as a pitched instrument not an unpatched one. So, add a flute or whatever, then open the mixer, select that channel strip, and you should see your sound in the list for it. Assuming you loaded your soundfont at the end of the list of soundfonts, then that's where you'd find your ratchet - at the end of the list of sounds.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I tried following this, but actually I couldn't get it to work either...I'm not really understanding it. So...instead, rethinking the drum set number...I went looking and found your statement to someone else about the guiro having a number for long and short. So I just added the long sound to my drum set and now that will work just fine.

At some point I hope to be able to figure out how to work with SF2 additions to Musescore better. For now, I must be missing some steps.

at Step 4, your missed some steps indeed.
After loading the wave in Polyphone, you have to create an instrument, specify the tone range, then assign the instrument to a preset (be sure to add one (bank 000.001) to the exicisting ), specify the tone range here too and then save the soundfont.

In reply to by Pentatonus

Thanks, Pentatonus.
Okay, this is making more sense. Now exactly where do I create this instrument?

I found here
this says to go to the Installation folder or template directory.

I'm on Linux, if that matters. When I went to Templates directory, there was no "instrument directory". So maybe I need to create the instrument in Polyphone first?

I also checked the Synthesizer and Mixer, but there is no place there to "add" and instrument so that I can follow your instructions. Unless there is a dropdown or I'm supposed to right click on something?

ALSO - I read here
That we can change from Musescore Midi to Ableton Live. But often I use more than 24 instruments and again, I'm on Linux. Perhaps the Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra is better for creating a more "real" sounding orchestra? Or do I need to add ONE instrument at at time?

What I'd like to learn to do is turn my Musescore composition into something that sounds closer to a real orchestra. I have vocalists who are willing to sing my opera, but I can't afford an orchestra ;) I'd also like to dub over (mix into, not sure of the terminology) a few specific instruments.

So my question would be - is it best to create in Musescore, and try to add better orchestral sounds?
Or is it best to send Musescore through another DAW?
Some people have suggested or used Logic. I don't know how to use that. I'm not sure if Reaper is better? Again, looking for Linux compatibility.

Maybe you or someone teaches how to do all this?

In reply to by Pentatonus

Excellent. Thank you. Now I understand. I'll go try working with Polyphone more.

Meanwhile... I edited and asked some more questions.
Reviewing them quickly here:
Do you think it is best to add one instrument at a time through Polyphone?
Or better to use something like Logic or Reaper - I don't even know if they have better instruments?
Or download an entire orchestral soundfont that I would need to purchase?
And do you teach all this or know someone who does?

In reply to by Bedjka

Bedjka, I'm on AV Linux which has Reaper and Ardour. I just listened to your link. That is amazing!

So, just to make sure I understand. The process will be:
1. compose in Musescore (even if the sound is not totally accurate)
2. load that into Reaper or Ardour
3. download the link for BBC library
4. And then Reaper or Ardour will recognize the correct instruments in BBC or Layers sample library?
5. I assume I may have to direct certain instruments to specific samples, such as long, or short...etc. But I'll read about the two libraries and see what their directions are.

Very excited to try this!
Thanks so much, Sora

In reply to by Sora Jederan Shpack

Sora, i am not a Musescore user (only a soundfonts one), so i have no idea if it can be used within Reaper and be recognized in it.

But here is how it works if you have no other choice than record your composition "live" one track after an other in Reaper:

-Download and Install "BBC Discover" and "Layers" (i had put a second link above)
-Open an instrument track in Reaper, and call/open one of the two libraries on it, choose a single instrument in the library, and record your track.
-And so on, building your piece of music track/instrument after track/instrument.

ps: in that scenario, and if you are not a "good enough" keyboard player, you can record your track at a slower tempo, and if necessary, use the "quantize" function in Reaper that will correct any approximate playing/recording.

In reply to by Sora Jederan Shpack

The manual for Polyphone isn't always clear. I spent yesterday trying to extract a ratchet from a larger font. It was so entwined that a know-nothing like me had quite a time of it. I probably didn't do it anywhere near very well. If you want to try it, be my guest. Because I don't know what I'm doing, you need to jump through a few hoops. Sorry.
Some caveats. I would (but you don't have to) remove all your fonts is the Fluid tab and install this one by itself so it is easy for the program to find. Create a new score that has a drum set instrument and a ratchet instrument. The ratchet in MuseScore is in the All Instruments list. I would set the number of measures at 6 or so. and maybe 80 BPM.
With the new score open, open the Mixer. For both instruments un-check Drumset. "Ratchet" will appear in the Sound window. On the Drumset line place a sharped half note on the second space from the top. A C#, if you will. You should hear the ratchet. Select the note and hit "R" a few times to add several notes. Select the first note and it play to see if the sound is something you can use.
If you add a flat half note on the first ledger line below the staff in the ratchet line, that will work also.
Good luck.

Attachment Size 190.32 KB

In reply to by bobjp

Bob jp,
Wow, that was a lot of work you did! Thank you!

I'm going to try to follow your instructions because - YES - the Polyphone manual is not very clear. I think just getting used to Polyphone is the first thing to do, as you found.

But, I'll go through your process one step at a time and see what I can get. But, I think you are totally on the right track...creating one sound at a time.
Thanks so much! Sora

In reply to by Sora Jederan Shpack

I took this from a much larger font called Symphonic Sounds. Normally extracting sounds is pretty easy. It can be done with the extraction dialogue in Polyphone. But in this case, individual percussion instruments could not be extracted. I had to try to recreate the ratchet by copy and paste. Because I don't know what I'm doing, you have to enter the note in a weird place on the ratchet staff to get it to sound. And it may not be the sound you want. Which is fine.

In reply to by bobjp

I've finally now changed to the MS guiro to get the ratchet sounds I needed.

Yet you are bringing up an interesting point ---- Maybe it is best to use the entire Symphonic Sounds library on MS? Is that possible? It's not on the MS list of Orchestral Sounds download page.

If it's not possible, then if this Symphonic Sounds or any other package is loaded into say, Ardour or Reaper, then download the MS file into that, then one could get this entire package at once? Does that make sense?

In reply to by Sora Jederan Shpack

If you perform a forum search for Symphonic Sounds There are several download options. I've had it for a while. But I don't use it. In general, I feel the default HQ font works best. I used Ployphone to create ab sf2 version so that it loads quickly.
It is easy to extract the percussion sounds, as a group, from the rest of Symphonic Sounds. Should you want to try that.
Just a reminder. In Musescore there is a ratchet option. As you set up a score, in the instruments window, double click "Choose instruments". Select "All Instruments". Select and scroll through "Unpitched Percussion" to find ratchet.

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