Saving to MIDI, the first note of my oboe play. *SOLVED*

• Aug 2, 2021 - 21:06

Been making video game music for years. Let me just point out that MuseScore 2 and early builds of MuseScore 3 handled MIDI perfectly. I never once had a problem with it. With the current of build of MuseScore 3, it sometimes takes me hours to configure the mixer for saving to MIDI on a song it took me 15 minutes to write. Now I have a problem that MuseScore 3 is refusing to resolve. With every problem I've had, I've never had to turn to the forums for help, but now with this current build, I'm having nothing but trouble with MIDI and this one is idiotic.

I have a MIDI piece with six tracks: Oboe, Drum, Harp, Violin, Cello, E. Bass. Aside from generally being obnoxious about mixer adjustment in this version of MS3, I've got this song playing perfectly. It sounds exactly as I want it (although, the harp sounds more like pizzicato violin, but that's alright.). All six instruments are playing and it sounds fantastic. A perfect overworld theme for an 8-bit RPG.

The very first note of the oboe won't sound. For anything. No matter the port. No matter the channel. No matter the voice. The second time the note sounds, it's just fine. But the...I'm trying very hard to keep my writing G rated...darned thing refuses to play the oboe on my first track. What the actual fudge?

Attachment Size
Journey of Virtue.mid 4.87 KB


So, never mind! I managed to get this working by putting a 128th rest at the very beginning of the track.

Which is annoying, but it works.

Can you be more specific about the problems you mean about taking hours to configure the mixer? I can't think of any relevant changes in the past 5 years really to how that is handled.

Anyhow, when you say you are having some sort of issue with the "first note of my oboe track", do you mean the D in the first measure of the top staff (the one labeled "Piano, Oboe 1")? For me it plays perfectly, but with a piano sound, as per the MIDI file. If you had wanted it to be oboe, it would be best to configure your MIDI software to insert the appropriate program change at the start of the track to switch to an oboe sound.

But as it is, I'm guessing from there you are going to View / Mixer and changing the sound to "Oboe" or perhaps "Oboe Expr". The trick will be making sure you use the proper one, depending on if you wish to use single note dynamics (crescendos/diminuendos within a sustained note) or note. Ancient versions of MuseScore didn't support that, they simply used velocity as the sole determinant of volume., Current versions are more sophisticated, but as they say, with great power comes great responsibility. So if you wish to use single note dynamics for a staff, it's important to be sure the staff itself is set that way (in Staff/Part Properties) and then you use the proper version of the sound ("Expr" for single-note-dynamics support).

This is setup correctly by default normally - when creating a score from scratch within MuseScore, or importing one where the instruments are recognized from their initial program change messages.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

[Hours to configure] I keep having to change instruments. Mind you, this is only when I'm specifically doing MIDI. I open a file with a trumpet or a piano, but it won't save to MIDI as a trumpet or a piano. Making sure it's a trumpet or a piano in the mixer doesn't work. I have to change ports and channels. AND THE SETTINGS HAVE TO BE DIFFERENT FOR EVERY FILE! Port 1, channel 1 for an instrument in the first position might be a flute in my overworld theme, but then in my battle theme, port 1, channel 1 for a flute in the first position might be a drumkit! And there's no way to predict what it will be!

[Playing perfectly, but a piano] Not for me. True, it's a piano in my Musescore editor, but on RPG Maker 2003 and Windows Media Player, it's an oboe.

Why am I messing with this setup? Because it wasn't working right out of the box, and now I'm not sure it can. Maybe it's a compatibility error? I'm running a Windows 10 machine with a 10th generation processor and motherboard.

However, this is telling me that even if I get this working right, I should forget making true MIDI and just use an 8-bit soundfont and save it as an MP3. Windows Media Player and RPG Maker 2003 both rely on the system for MIDI sounds and...the MIDI sounds from my computer are much higher quality than I wanted, and I suspect that other current gen computers like mine will also read my MIDI files as high quality, if they even read the same instruments I'm hearing.

In reply to by Thomas Myers

Regarding your observations about spending hours changing instruments - It's still not clear why you are needing to do this at all - are all your MIDI file misconfigured? As mentioned, if the MIDI file contains the appropriate info, everything should just work. But even if the file is lacking the necessary info, I can't think of any relevant changes in the past ten years (!) that would cause it to be more difficult to workaround the problem with that MIDI file in current releases compared to any past ones. If you attach one such MIDI file and explain what you are needing to do in more detail, we can understand and assist better.

You should never need to mess with port and channel settings, unless you are trying to use MIDI output to an external device as well as just importing a MIDI file, and your MIDI output device is configured in a non-standard way (or you are using more than 16 channels). And in that case, again, there aren't any relevant changes I can think of. So again, if you attach a specific file and describe what you are trying to do in more detail, we can assist better.

Again, the file you attached is not configured correctly as far as I can tell, that is why it doesn't play as an oboe. It's possible other programs use the track name rather than program change information?

For the record, though, MIDI contains no information whatsoever about quality of sound. A MIDI file will sound vastly different on every system it plays through, because it contains no audio data, only instructions as to which notes to play and which change change numbers to use to play those sounds. Each system will provide its own actual sounds for those program changes. So yes, if the goal is to be sure others here the same as you, you absolutely must use an audio format and not MIDI.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

So, the problem with MIDI configuration turned out to be the soundfont I was using (Don't ask. I don't know. I can't imagine what. I didn't have any problems on my old computer). The second I considered actually using an audio format, I grabbed a soundfont I could legally use for commercial use and it worked fine. Everything configured properly. Instruments sounded right. Didn't have to fiddle with anything.

But yeah, I want people to hear what I hear. I've never worried about it before. I don't often do MIDI, and when I did, I never had this problem. But this is a retro 8-bit game, so I want it to sound retro. For once, I'm not going to be working in engine. Someone else will be doing that. I think I'm going to ask him if it's possible to make a patch that stores a sound bank in the game itself so that it doesn't look for MIDI on the user PC, but in the game itself and add a system folder with the relevant soundfont. That would be the ideal thing for keeping the file weight low.

In reply to by Thomas Myers

Before exporting as midi-file, insert a blank measure before the first measure. Because the first measure contains many midi messages, starting the music at the same time with these messages can cause problems. That's why a prep. measure is necessary.

PS: If you want the music to start immediately, or if you have synchronization problems and are an advanced user, you can also set and use a blank-measure at a 1/4 time signature before the first measure. But this takes more effort than simply adding a blank measure.

You don't need to configure channels and ports in the Musescore software. You can easily configure it (with the help of a midi editor) on the midi file you exported.

In reply to by Ziya Mete Demircan

Thank you!

I've mentioned in a couple above posts that MIDI isn't something I often work with. I usually turn everything into wavs and compress them into Vorbis files. Not working with MIDI regularly, I can't figure out how to loop a regular MIDI file. The game engine being used doesn't recognize Audacity's loop tags, which I already knew, but tried anyway because I saw that the RTP music uses some kind of looping method for their setup measures, and so tried another workspace. Google hasn't been very helpful in how to do this, either. As mentioned in a post above, I've found that adding a 128th rest in the first measure before the first note will work, and also, I can use the method you described, add a 1/4 measure and ratchet the tempo for that measure up to max. Both of these seem to work nicely and in both cases, the loop is smooth and any pause is so brief, it's imperceptible.

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