Can't change instrument through mixer/panel? (M4)

• Dec 15, 2022 - 00:19

A large user base of MuseScore users are using it to make midis. I can no longer change the instrument sound through a menu, although I can likely do it through the instrument panel. This is a great inconvenience for checking out sounds, and it makes this program borderline unusable.

The reverb settings are gone too, leaving it to VSTs.

I get the move from midi, but a large portion of the user base use this program to create midis, and now MuseScore 3 is the last usable version.


t's never been possible to change instruments from the mxier; only sounds. This is still possible, but currently in a different way, in that MU3 limited you to only soundfonts while MU4 also supports VST's and soundfonts, but MU3 allowed selecting individuals sounds within a soundfont, and MU4 requires the soundfonts to be each distinct sounds. For now anyhow - no doubt the ability select sounds within soundfonts will return in an update.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

As of today (almost a year after your post) the option to choose a different sound for an instrument is still not available in MuseScore 4. Since this is an essential feature for me, this is preventing me to upgrade to M4, I'm still using MuseScore 3. Is there any news regarding this feature and when it will arrive in M4?
Why is this an essential feature for me? I use MS to create and edit scores for my choir practice. For printing I want the scores to have correct instrument designations (i.e. soprano, alto, etc.), but for private rehearsal it's useful to be able change the sound to something different: I usually change all voices to piano, and my own part to oboe to make it stand out. (Not to mention the fact that I hate with all my heart the choir ooooh and aaah sounds that are the defaults for choir voices).

In reply to by markchagers

You wrote:
...the option to choose a different sound for an instrument is still not available in MuseScore 4.
I usually change all voices to piano, and my own part to oboe to make it stand out.

Okay, so download the file available here:…
...and you will gain the ability to select individual sounds in the mixer (like you did using MuseScore 3).

In reply to by markchagers

As mentioned, you can already select sounds in the mixer, simply by using a soundfont with individual sounds per file file the one in the link above, or by using Muse Sounds, or a VST.

The ability to select sounds from with monolithic Soundfonts in addition to the other options is already implemented for 4.2, expect by the end of the year.

In reply to by markchagers

@markchagers said:
"... the option to choose a different sound for an instrument is still not available in MuseScore 4"

I totally agree with you. My use of MuseScore revolves around creating practice files for choirs, and I have hundreds of scores in MS3 format which rely on this feature - a feature which is missing from MS4. It does seem that MS4 has omitted so many features which long-term MuseScore users relied on.
See MuseScore 3 features not (yet) implemented in MuseScore 4:

Because MS4 has totally broken my workflow, I regard MS4 as "crippleware". And I still have to use only MS 3.6.2 for all my serious work.

And... as an aside: having watched the transition from MS1 to MS2, from MS2 to MS3, and from MS3 to MS4, I can honestly say that I have never seen a new major version of MuseScore which has generated so much hostility as MS4 has done. Even to the point of forking the software (MS 3.7) in order to preserve features which really matter to many users. Something's not right...

In reply to by DanielR

See above - it's totally possible to change sounds with the mixer in MU4, using Muse Sounds, VST instruments, or a soundfont that uses individual sounds like the one I provide on my site (see link above. So need need to resort to MU3 just for this. Also as noted, the ability to select sounds within "monolithic" soundfonts is already implemented for 4.2, due out within the next couple of months.

It's true the change from MU3 to MU4 has been larger than most, so not surprisingly, the most polarizing. Some are finding the adjustment difficult obviously, but a great many more think it's the most amazing improvement ever - and finally, for the first time in MuseScore's history, a serious alternative to the big three commercial programs. It would have been impossible to generate that level of enthusiasm for the new release without a pretty significant redesign, and it's pretty much inevitable that in the process,s some existing users would have trouble adapting to the new workflows.

Instead of saying something's "not right", I'd just call that pretty much to be expected whenever such a fundamentally different update happens, whether it's cars moving from carbeurators to fuel injectors, PC's moving from DOS to Windows, or whatever

The list you post, BTW, is not really all that relevant - many things listed are already implemented, others are simply misunderstandings over how things now work, others are just heads-ups about changes in how to access certain functions.

In reply to by DanielR

Sorry, this was intended as a reply to DanielR.
I imagine if you use those features regularly it's a turnoff from updating to MS4. OTOH, at least some of the items in that page seem somewhat outdated, for instance the ability to solo a part may be missing from the mixer, but is now easier than ever (select a measure of a single part in the score and start playback).
For my part, the most important missing feature can be worked around well enough to make the switch to MS4, and some of the new features are enticing enough to do so.

In reply to by markchagers

In your case, you could try this:

  1. Set up a score with 3 piano parts and one oboe part. Use the "Instruments" palette to make one of the staves of each piano part invisible.
  2. Adjust clefs as needed.
  3. Right-click (for example) the piano 1 label to the left of the staff. Choose to edit staff properties.
  4. change the long and short names to voice names for each staff. Apply and OK.

Playback will be your piano and oboe. And the staves will be correctly labeled.

In reply to by bobjp

Bob, you're missing the point that I already have hundreds of MS3 scores which rely on using the hidden S/A and T/B channel controls for changing the sound of a specific voice within a choir. These scores are generally SATB closed score (two staves: SA and TB) plus organ, for which I can recycle my standard template.

In MS3 those scores work perfectly, and I don't have time or inclination to revisit all these scores just to try and make them work with MS4. Nor do I want to install "special" solo soundfonts just to allow me to assign a different sound to a single voice within a choral line.

People have to accept that MS4 has seriously broken the forward compatibility from MS3 to MS4 - witness the fact that those same hidden S/A and T/B channel controls which my scores rely on have now been removed from the MS4 Text palette. Please refrain from defending MS4 as a step forward, when in fact it has a serious regression which has broken forward compatibility for hundreds of existing MS3 scores.

I am staying with MS 3.6.2 because it provides a very efficient way of writing SATB closed-score practice files. I only have to notate the music once, then with Save As I can create a separate copy for each voice (S, A, T, B). In order to adjust the volume and change the instrument sound for each specific choral voice, I can make all changes for individual voices in the Mixer. No add-ons, no plugin, no special soundfonts, no tweaks required, no changing of Instrument long/short name. That's out-of-the-box standard MS 3.6.2.

In reply to by DanielR

Indeed, it's true that for these specific cases where you rely on the ability to assign sounds per voice, there is no good workaround. But it's important to put that in context - the vast majority of people are not using MuseScore as a choral practice tool, which is really the one situation where that comes up in practice. For virtually everything else, MU4 is going to do the job far better, and it's important that those who do rely on things not handled by MU3 well recognize that for the vast majority of others, MU4 really and truly is a quantum leap forward. And it's OK for both statements to be true: for the vast majority, MU4 is indeed a huge step forward, even if there also exist a small number of users for whom it is not yet well suited.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

:) Hi, few months later. I've been asked to use musescore and I have mu4 as a choral practice tool. I do scores and send private link to only our choir group. Till around 2 weeks ago they could without having musescore, on their phones change in mixer audio to synthesizer and change their voice sound to tenor sax to hear it. Now they can't and that unfortunately makes everything harder. I do disagree with you that people don't use MU as a choral practice. Now the only option for little groups like mine is to go and use a program that we would have to pay for - just because someone took down that option - and Mu is in my opinion one of the best programs to write music down.

In reply to by 0sska

I never said “people don’t use MuseScore for choral practice” - clearly some do. But it is almost certainly far less than 1% of all users. So my main point remains valid: for the vast majority of uses, MU4 really is amazing. But of course, that doesn’t change the fact that it still has this very unfortunate limitation for your specific use.

But you can still use the workarounds discussed to get the job done; it’s just a bit more work.

In reply to by DanielR

Daniel, my reply was not to you. I was giving Mark a suggestion for his particular situation.
I'm not defending anything. I have always said that people need to use the version that works best for them. Many need to use MU3. Great.

We all use notation software differently. I compose on it for playback. As a result, I have less than no use for MU3. I don't have it installed. MU4 has a ways to go, for sure.

In reply to by bobjp

I know the procedure you describe but it's not really necessary to get the score the way I want it. I can set up the instruments in the score normally (soprano, alto etc) and switch to a different sound (font) in the mixer. This works out to nearly the same procedure as with MS3.

As a workaround for selecting a sound for testing before changing the instrument, you can load the free Sforzando/Sfizz VST which then in turn can load your soundfont and allows patch selection inside it.

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