Organ sound for "SATB Closed Score + Organ" instrument template is pan flute

• May 14, 2021 - 09:17
Reported version
S4 - Minor

When creating a new score, if I choose the "SATB Closed Score + Organ" template under "Choose Instruments" everything is created as expected except for the fact that the sound of the organ in playback is "Pan Flute expr." by default.

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FWIW, though, as I recall this was the agreed-upon consensus years ago when the subject first came up. Not all organs are those big giant cathedral organs, nor all such organs always played with all stops pulled. Pan flute is actually pretty close to the historical pipe organ sounds such as the "positive organ" or a modern pipe organ with appropriate stops. Not saying it couldn't be worth revisiting this, but don't assume this is simply a bug - it's the desired behavior of at least some users.

But why then is the other, full. "SATB + Organ" not using that? Same for "Liturgical Unmetrical + Organ".
Now all three use the same sound.

And that change to Pan Flute got to be older than Nov 18 2018, when we changed templates from mscz to mscx, so must have been before MuseScore 3.0, a0f6c36

That’s… actually correct, tbh. Mixtur is rarer than the panflute sound, especially in a choir setting.

2.3.2 has the same, so it’s even older than Jojo found.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

I have no real opinion on which template should use which sound or what most people would want. I'm just saying, this was a conscious choice agreed upon by consensus, and I do think any change should be discussed on the forums more. As for when the original discussions happened, I'm thinking around 5-10 years ago. See for instance #45111: New instrument: Positive Organ and

Neither discusses templates. And won't explain why the other templates use a different sound.
If someone prefers a pan flute sound, (s)he can change that. MuseScore should not do this by default though, and certainly not as inconsistent as currently.

I get that those two discussion don't mention templates, but they discuss why it is totally appropriate to use the flute sound for organ, template or not is beside the point. Those aren't the only two such discussions, just the two I happened I find in a quick search. Again, I'm not saying it would be a bad idea to revisit the decision, just that the original decision is not a "bug" to be "fixed", but a conscious decision to potentially be revised after considered discussion among the many people who might be affected,

Agreed, it probably should use the panflute for all organ templates, as a first step in harmonisation, to fix that particular bug.

Whether to change the sound to include a richer mixture is then up for a discussion of taste, best separately.

A pan flute by far has not the range of an organ. So its samples, esp for the low pitches are, if they exist at all, are plain and pure fake.
We do for many instruments use a sound from GM that is the clostest match, because the instrument itself is not part of GM. But that is not needed nor true here. GM has an Ogran sound, even several, so we should take one of them.
Personal taste doesnt come into this, that is where and why users can change the sound and create their own templates.

There's a few to choose from in GM:

  • Drawbar Organ
  • Percussive Organ
  • Rock Organ
  • Church Organ
  • Reed Organ

And 3 more in MuseScore's soundfont:

  • Detuned Organ 1
  • Detuned Organ 2
  • Church Organ 2

But really only one that fits the bill, "Chorch Organ", and that then in the "expr." variant.

There’s the instrument selection and then there’s the selection of the patch from the soundfont. An organ accompanying mixed choir is more often just flutey than an organ playing alone.

Looking at MS_General (HQ), we have F♯₃–C₇ for Pan Flute and C₂–C₇ for Church Organ (Mixtur), so, yes, C₂–D₃ (there’s interpolation, both instruments only have a small number of samples) would be too fake. That’s indeed in an unfortunate part of the entire range.

Maybe we should get someone to record their organ, separately for a set of flute (Flötenregister/Weitchor) stops and a set of principal (Prinzipal/Engchor) stops without mixture, and get @s.chriscollins to make two new instruments out of that. We need about 3–4 good recordings per octave, ideally spread by an even number of semitones.

Until then… tricky. The current Mixtur is often too much, the pan flute indeed lacks a good part of the bass. That being said, playing all the notes in Polyphone, until A₂ they sound still good, until D₂ they sound acceptable, and C₂/C♯₂… sound, but they are rare enough when accompanying a choir. I’d say let’s go for pan flute for all accompanying organ templates, church organ for the solo ones.

Fix version