Generator tools

• Oct 20, 2021 - 08:04

Are there any generator tools in or available for MuseScore?

I ask this having been made aware of Adele's recent single "Easy on Me", which features a singer, a piano, a bass and a drum machine. Yep - apparently there isn't a drummer - simply a drum machine.

So would it be possible to program a drum machine to generate a MuseScore part? I'm guessing not - or at least not within MuseScore as it stands right now.

One way which would work for some pieces would be to use a drum machine in another software tool, and then import the generated Midi into MuseScore - but would it in fact be better to have the active generator tool within the MS system?

It's only a suggestion! There may be other uses for generator tools - but this seems a very obvious one right now.


I'm not understanding the distinction you are making. I would assume most drum machines would generate standard MIDI files, and those can be imported directly, no extra third party tools needed. Or, if you want to use MuseScore as your drum machine, you can certainly do that already, with far greater control than offered by most standalone drum machines. If you mean, designing a special UI specifically optimized for creating drum loops, that should indeed be possible to program as a plugin.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

So does MS already have a drum machine feature?
You are right that it's possible to use an external drum machine (or software system equivalent) and import Midi - but I'm wondering if it's possible to have a drum machine already built into MuseScore.

If this is already a feature, I'd like to know how to use it. If not - well - then it's a suggestion.

In reply to by dave2020X

A drum machine is a machine that allows you to program in a drum part using some sort of user interface, and it plays it for you. MuseScore certainly has that ability, and it has the advantage of providing the user interface most familiar to musicians who read music and are thus likely to be using MuseScore - standard music notation. If you want a pattern of kick drum on one and snare on three, no need to manage some arcane series of buttons, just enter the notation. If you want it to happen seven times and do a fill, just repeat that pattern for seven measures then write up your fill. Far more efficient than fiddling with little buttons etc, if you are comfortable with music notation.

But for the benefit those who not as comfortable with music notation, as mentioned, I'm sure someone could devise a plugin that did that provided some other type of user interface to entering the notes.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I’m sure you are right, but it seems that some people still think that “doing” drums is a pain. It was a comment by one such which prompted me to suggest/ask about this. Also, if there were a dynamic drum machine built into MuseScore then it would be quicker and easier to create and change drum parts. Clearly people familiar with music notation, and notation for drums can do rearrangements quickly, though they would not be able to dynamically change drum parts in real time - something which I believe a drum machine can do.

In reply to by dave2020X

The comments I can think of about drums are all about the notation of it, where some people say they'd rather click things in different order than than they currently do, or would like more keyboard shortcuts for more efficiency. But those really have nothing to do with designing an entirely new drum-machine"-like inut mechanism that normally is unrelated to notation.

Anyhow, if you have specific ideas about how a drum machine interface could be designed that somehow made entry and editing of drum parts easier, feel free to draw up some proposals and post them here. Offhand, I can't really imagine how it would speed anything up for anyone who knows notation, but indeed, for people who don't know notation, it could potentially be of some value. Wouldn't really help with entering anything except drums, though, unless your design proposal also handles alternative ways of entering music for pitched instruments!

In reply to by dave2020X

...they would not be able to dynamically change drum parts in real time - something which I believe a drum machine can do.

There can be subtle variants of the term "drum machine".

A drum machine's ability to dynamically change drum parts in real time is absolutely necessary during an actual "live" performance.
My first "drum machine" was an "electronic instrument" which produced pre-set drum patterns (rock, samba, waltz, etc.) to accompany a live performance in real time. It was non-programmable and employed analog synthesis. Pattern changes, breaks, fills could be played "on the fly" by pressing a button, or using a footswitch. (No MIDI possible.)

I currently have a "drum machine" integrated into my digital piano. While the sounds and rhythms were sampled and programmed by the manufacturer, real time control among different patterns (intro, outro, fills) during live performance is essential.
(MIDI export is available.)

Another type of "drum machine" is based in software -- and, in addition to playback, can also create a drum track from scratch.
As a scorewriter, MuseScore provides this type of "drum machine" through its drum notation feature. It can create, and play, a drum sheet (intended for actual drummers).
This might differ from drum track creation methods used in other (e.g., DAW) audio-centric software which may involve selection of pre-made loops and sounds which can be mixed into a finished audio track.

You wrote:
Also, if there were a dynamic drum machine built into MuseScore then it would be quicker and easier to create and change drum parts.

How would this be quicker?

II am no drummer, and I do find the notation of drums not as user friendly as entering pitched notation. Especially since I don't do it often and get confounded between the (disappearing) drum input palette and the (sometimes) unresposive virtual piano keyboard. That's why I find it easier to copy/paste existing 'grooves', fills, etc. into a Musescore drum track. (it's like using pre-made audio loops.) Once a 'groove' is entered, I keep hitting the R button to quickly fill out a score, after which edits are made via copy/paste for intros, fills, etc.; or by simply tweaking notes and/or measures here and there to break up any monotony.

In reply to by Jm6stringer

It would be quicker because it wouldn't require having to use ready made grooves or external drum machines or drum machine software to generate the parts (midi) and then import them into MuseScore. It would also enable dynamic playback - as presumably there would be a set of controls which could work in real time as MS were playing back the a whole piece.

It has been suggested elsewhere that this would be a distracton from the mainline development of MuseScore - and that would not be such a useful thing to have. I agree with that - but if it could be done relatively easily without slowing down other important development I think it would be useful to have. Also I don't know how the MS4 development is going. Is it going to have features like Automation which allow various parameters to be dynamically changed in real time - as in some DAWs?

There are some performance issues in MS which can at times present problems, so adding more to the real time processing is not necessarily going to be a good thing - particularly for users with older hardware.
However it is possible to make some changes in MS dynamically already, such as changing the instruments while a piece is playing - put a loop in and play with the mixer and change the sounds. So it is possible to do some dynamic changes within MS even as it is currently.

In the long run I still feel this would be a useful feature to implement.

In reply to by dave2020X

You say "it" would be quicker, and maybe that's true, but in order for anyone to be able to say, we'd need to know more exactly what you have in mind by "it". As mentioned, in most respects, MsueScore already is a drum machine. So that term apparently means something more specific to you - presumably you have an idea for what you'd want to click/press/type differently than you do now, or what different results you'd expect your current click/press/type actions to produce than they do now. Again, we'd need you to describe this in more detail in order to understand how you are thinking a "drum machine" feature would work and what advantages you believe it would have.

As for what may or may not be in MuseScore 4, much is still in development regarding playback, so it's too early to tell. I don't know that there has been talk of things like mixer automation, though.

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