Soft Pedal Playback

• Jun 24, 2015 - 20:00
S5 - Suggestion

Currently, there is no way to get a piano in Musescore to play back as if the soft pedal were being held. MIDI playback already allows this (CC# 67, 0 off, 127 on), so implementation should not be that challenging. It could work as either the standard piano pedal line, or a staff text modifier.


It's probably more involved that you might think from a first look.

1/ We don't have anything to send CC message for staff text, so I would focus on pedal line first.
2/ Currently the pedal line sends CC 64 Hold Pedal, Fluid understands this CC and play the notes sustained.

We could add a UI in the inspector to the Pedal lines to choose which CC is used (64, 67 even maybe 66 Sustenuto Pedal?) and use this CC when creating the MIDI like structure we use to send to the synth. However it seems the internal synthesizers (Fluid or Zerberus) will not interpret these others CC so it will have no impact on playback. The only impact would be on MIDI export and midi out via JACK (assuming the receiving synth knows what to do with CC 66 and 67). For FluidSynth, it's still a feature request to support CC 66 and CC67, See

To sum it up, I believe a large part of the work in this PR would be on the synths side and probably not that trivial.

Indeed. Well, as to what I can understand from those synthesizers, the key part will stem from how it actually alters the playback from the instrument. It's not just volume, but the duration of the note in playback (though not in actual length). The link you provided seems to present two solutions, one of which involves reprogramming almost all of Soundfont and the other being much more reasonable- simply modifying the velocity. If we can just make the soft pedal lower the velocity by some factor and otherwise play the notes normally, this would probably be the easiest solution.

Thing is though that the una corda (direction to use the soft pedal) isn't just a question of lowering note volume.

Certainly in a Grand Piano the whole action shifts sideways so that the hammer for each note strikes one string less, which, whilst reducing the volume of the note struck, also induces a sympathetic vibration in the unstruck string, giving an ethereal quality to the sound.

Some uprights, particularly of the late 19th century, introduced a piece of felt between the hammer and the string when pressing this pedal, thus changing the timbre as well as the volume.

Given that it is easy enough to reduce the velocities for a range of notes by use of the inspector, I do not see the point of implementing this by purely making this Controller reduce velocity.

A Controller #67 pedal is normally only found on high end digital grands such as the Yamaha Clavinova range. Even my P90 stage piano does not have one (although it recognises the controller).

It seems to me that if we are to implement this properly we should be using a patch changing technique to switch to a specific Una Corda soundfont preset, which would involve sourcing or modifying suitable samples and adding them to the default soundfont.