Adding new instruments

• Jan 16, 2009 - 20:05


I'd love to add more instrument definitions, but most of them cannot be "legally" mapped to particular MIDI channels (think about variety of country specific plucked strings and woodwind instruments). How do I solve this?

Also, is there some kind of description of the instruments definition file format? I find it difficult to understand which values should be used in transposition and clef tags.

Thanks in advance!

P.S. What I'd really love to see is some standard for instruments definition that could be shared by MuseScore, Rosegarden, Qtractor and whoever comes a long. E.g. Rosegarden has a very nice feature of adapting a score written for one instrument to score for another instrument with considering abilities of a player, and this feature seems to heavily rely on their instruments definition file (which is in fact very similar to the one from MuseScore except it has additional tags to define range achievable by an amateur and a professional).


If the instruments are not found in General MIDI I would pick the closest equivalent. For example Cornet and Flugelhorn are not listed in General MIDI so they both use the Trumpet sound.

The transposition tag is pretty straight forward if you are familiar with transposing instruments. The number represents the number of semi-tones between the written pitch and the sounding pitch. For example, a Double Bass sounds one octave lower than the written pitch so the number in the transpose tag is -12.

The clef tags are a little tricky to understand. The numbers correspond to the clefs as shown in the MuseScore clef palette starting with zero. For example regular treble clef is 0 and bass clef is 4.

If you do modify the instruments definition file I would move it outside of the default MuseScore program folder. Otherwise it could get overwritten the next time you update MuseScore.

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