Is there a way to make my music sound more realistic?

• Jul 25, 2015 - 02:19


I have made several pieces of music with musescore, and I have noticed something.

If you listen to a piece of music on a music notation software such as Musescore or Noteflight, it sounds completely different to say, the song on YouTube.

Take for instance the song 'Racketeers' by Two Steps From Hell, on Noteflight, even if composed for an orchestra, it sound flat and dull in comparison to the version on YouTube. This is also true for Musescore. There must be some way or some effect that makes the music composed in Musescore sound 'more real', but I have no idea of such a thing exists, or where it is.

Is there a way to make songs on Musescore sound like a real orchestra, and if so, how?

- M Clasper


Hire an orchestra? :-)

Seriously, getting synthesized music to sound more realistic is kind of the "Holy Grail" of computer-generated music. There is a lot to it. One imnportant component is the soundfont, and there are other soundfonts available. See the Handbook under "Soundfont". Perhaps the only free soundfont that most would agree is better overall than the default is Timbres of Heaven, but there are commercial ones costing hundreds of dollars you could investigate.

The soundfont is only part of it, though. People who take this serious spend dozens of hours per score tweaking the details of the MIDI output, either using the controls in the Inspector and the Pianoroll editor within MsueScore, or using an external sequencer or DAW software.

Your question is "THE" question on computing world music.

We can "attack" this problem from, at least, three different perspectives:

1) Expression. Things like tempo, instruments volumen, dynamics, legato, stacatto, etc. etc. etc. are things we can control with the program controls (into MuseScore, you have to experiment with the Palette, the Synthesizer and the Mixer windows and its controls).

2) Sound. Man, here is the great issue. As MuseScore (and most all the today music software) uses SoundFont libraries (on files), we depend absolutely of them. If you don't like the sound you get from those files, well you just have to change it. And it depens on the kind of music you want to get, too!!! For me, as a christian musician, best sounds I get from the "GeneralUser GS MuseScore v1.44.sf2" soundfont file. Not perfect, but very close to the reality. But, it is my taste, to "my" music. Sorry, because I can't help you about which is (and where is) the best soundfont file to your music.

3) Playing. Even the fact you could get the sound and the expression very close to a human orchestra, man, nothing can replace a human being. A human orchestra is the most infamous kit of failures you can have. But, all those failures are the sound we want to hear!!! The computer is the "perfect" player. But, that perfection is the sound we don't want!!! Is there some solution to this? ??? Not with MuseScore, today (maybe in the future). I don't know if there is some software which adds some kind of "random" deviations (failures) to some notes of the score, here and there (in a random way, too). BUT... If you have enough free time, you can experiment with some... "variations" you can perform, manually, of course (try the "Piano Roll" window).



Well, as a good starter, you can go into the mixer and adjust the pan values so that your orchestra is actually distributed around rather than all coming from the centre. This should at least help a little bit. I've been having similar issues with trying to get the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata to sound... less artificial. Harder than you'd think; I've yet to find a good MIDI. Playing it is one thing, but making it play itself?

In reply to by LuuBluum

Well imho, timbres of heaven is the most realistic complete soundfont available right now, there are a lot of good ones with a few samples. But nothing else comes close to it right now. It was just updated to 3.2 and is on the handbook. Unfortunately it has a few minor issues with fluidsynth over other softsynths, some samples played softer. But it is still the best.

Here it is for conveniences sake:

You might want to check out the article I wrote, Orchestrating with MuseScore , for ideas. I'm writing another one, Getting the Most out of Your Piano Scores, that should be on my blog by the end of the week. I'll notify the forum.

There are no magic bullets for realism. It's a painstaking process. The results depend on how much patience you have and how good your ears are. I've got a YouTube channel that's mostly MuseScore-generated scores if you want to hear what can be done.

I use musecore playback a lot for my violin and flute ACC, I am very happy with it, considering the time and efforts I put in to write the piano notes comparing to I me playing and recording piano or getting a human pianist to play for me.
I would rate it 9.9/10, a very lazy fast happy way to get acc which is 24/7 ready for me, of course it’s not perfect, see the attached real piano vs. musescore piano jpg for song Humoresque – Acc, especially the dynamics. I know I could get it better, but it’s very time consuming, just wouldn’t be bothered most of the time.
It’s such a regret to hear that musescore does not list playback as a high priority. While if musescore were intelligent enough, it would be able to copy the chars (dynamics, tempo variation etc.) from a real music.

Attachment Size
real piano vs. musescore piano.JPG 864.47 KB

In reply to by Jm6stringer

Yes, the top one is the real piano, they all use the same score source: Suzuki violin book 3 piano acc. This real piano wav is the “official” release comes with the book.
Musescore is the one perfectly following the paper score instruction in every aspect! No human can play that perfect, though we like the second more…
One day we could feed the wav generated by musescore back to itself, after we did some editing to the wav to whatever we want.

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.