What is the easiest way to include cymbal rolls to my score? (including playback, not just notating)

• Sep 30, 2017 - 21:13

As far as I know, my options are:
1. Using the right soundfont. Definitely the easiest, but I have a struggle finding such soundfont and dealing with soundfonts overall. If you know any soundfonts that make playback of cymbal rolls possible, please tell me!
2. Using the tools in Musescore to produce one without using soundfonts. Likely impossible, though if there is a way, I'd prefer it the best.
3. Use an outside app.

How do I achieve it the easiest? Thank you in advance!


I may have the solution for you. I found this feature after I used a 3rd-Party Sound Font but I think this is still part of MuseScore's default Sound Font library.

I'm going to start off from scratch:
1. Go to Instruments and add DRUMSET (You can change the part name to Sus. Cym. later etc.)
2. Press F10 for the MIXER and look for your drumset part.
3. Check the DRUMSET box
4. Select ALL PERCUSSION from the instrument dropdown
5. Exit the mixer and select the notating option for the DRUMSET staff. You should see a row of different notations on the bottom.
6. Add a note to the staff and use your up and down arrow keys to scroll through the selection of bass drums, snare drums, cymbals, triangles, and other common percussion instruments. You should hear the playback while scrolling. (The Sus. Cym. may be hard to hear as it starts off quietly)

Note: The Sus. Cym. playback is NOT an audio loop. It has a defined time; they give you multiple notations some with different sounds and crec. rolling times. You may need to place a longer duration note to achieve the full playback (Or add a pedal and extend it long enough). For notation, you will need a DIFFERENT VOICE and add your desired notation, add the tremelo (roll), and select the note, press F8 for Inspector, and unselect
"Play". This makes sure that only the longer note/pedal note has playback and the tremelo notation does not affect the sound (If you have a tremelo with playback you get a loop of a sus. cym. roll so only use it if you want a sustained roll). You will need to tinker around with the playback to match when you want the roll to climax.

Hope this helps!

In reply to by Quinn Ouyang

Thanks! Step by step explanations are nice, except something always goes wrong. In this case it's step 4. There isn't "All percussion", all there is is: Standart, Standart (1-7), Room, Room (1-7), Power, Power (1-3), Jazz, Jazz (1-4), Brush, Brush (1-2), Electronic, TR-808, Orchestra Kit, Matching Cymbals, Marching Bass, Marching Snare, Marching Tenor.

I selected Orchestra Kit, but it doesn't appear to be that, for I selected a very long duration note, yet all the samples started instantaneously and none were similar to a roll.

Honestly the playback is my only struggle. If you know something that can help, I'll be very glad.

So, perhaps its just your soundfont. Hope you can show me where to download it.

In reply to by Mew Pur Pur

Hmmm...all right. Looks like you did everything right except you can't find the "All Percussion" selection. A majority of my sound font is a 3rd Party modified version of the Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra. The link is here: https://musescore.org/en/node/140306 . It has some extra instruments, the timpani is buggy sometimes because it doesn't play some notes, other than that, it is a great Sound Font! (1GB storage though, so make sure your computer isn't too weak). The set up should go smoothly, adding it from the Synthesizer (not Zerberus). It's a sound library so you don't need to download every instrument. The wind/brass audio samples are looped (I think...) so you should no have no problem getting an even playback. If you want a sample of audio I have an in-progress band piece that has the audio: https://musescore.com/user/9109816/scores/4420751 . After setting the sf2 there supposedly should be an "All Percussion" in the mixer for drum set. Contact me for any help!

In reply to by Quinn Ouyang

I got the soundfont going. It makes many things sound better than the other one... First of all, is there any way to set it up for some staves, and another soundfont for others? Even possibly using the piano of this soundfont in one staff, and the piano in Fluid on another.

For real, about the cymbal rolls. I kinda listened to all samples, but all notes that start quiet, go loud and then go quiet again, are too short. Are they the cymbal rolls? How do I make them longer?

In reply to by Mew Pur Pur

You can load multiple sound fonts at once. In the synthesizer window there are arrows to move the sound fonts up and down the list (but it moves VEERRRRY slow so be patient). When you open the mixer, the available sounds are listed for each font in the order they are listed in the synthesizer.

When you open the mixer if you have 2 sound fonts loaded, you may see something like

Grand Piano
... more instruments...
Grand Piano
Solo Violin
Solo Viola

When the instruments start repeating you have reached the second sound font. You may need to look at the instrument list that should be included in the sound font to be sure which instrument is in which font, or just try different ones until you find the one you like.

You can pick each instrument out of any of the loaded sound fonts.

In reply to by Mew Pur Pur

These Sound Fonts are made for "all-purpose" so MuseScore cannot alter the actual integrated playback of the files. It can only change the volume, length (making it short to stop the playback mid-playback), and some other small things. No music program (of my knowledge) has the full capability of altering sounds and fine tuning things. However, there ware ways to help "cheat" your way to getting a better playback on the Suspended Cymbal Rolls.

If you want a roll that lasts the entire duration, add a pedal and stretch it over enough measures (Cntrl + arrow key) to let the sound fade in and out.

If you have a full roll but the climax is not in sync with the rest of the music, you can use another voice and but an invisible note on the staff and experiment a bit by placing the note at different beats on the staff so the climax reaches exactly where you want it. Ex: Climax reaches music approx. 1.5 beats too early, so take another voice and add another roll 1.5 beats after the original, and invisibilize the "playback" roll and mute the "visual"/original by using Inspector (F8).

If you want a full "splashy" roll (no crec. or decrec., just one long roll), you can add a tremolo to the note so you have a "roll of rolls", which creates an effect of a faster and more violent crescendo up to a point where the volume of the crescendoing rolls and decrescendoing rolls start to become the same volume throughout, and when the rolling ends, they all start to fade out. (Picture percussionists each with their own Sus. Cym., each making the same duration, volume, and crecendo roll except each starting a bit after the other) If you modify the playback dynamic so its "soft", then you can get a good long roll when you hit the point of equilibrium. It's a bit hard to explain so try experimenting!

Hope this helps!

In reply to by Quinn Ouyang

Hold on, are we talking about the same thing? By Cymbal roll, I mean when you start hitting the cymbal lightly with mallets, until it gets to a climax, and then you wait for its natural decay. I followed the instructions again, and carefully listened to all the notes. None of them were even close to what I was looking for. Did the same for the Cymbal instrument and didn't get to anything useful as well. When I unchecked the Drumset box in the mixer though, I found "Reversed Cymbal". This is kinda what I need, except the natural decay lacks for all notes, and I didn't find any matches of its notes to the cymbal or drumset.

In reply to by Quinn Ouyang

I'm sorry; I only play the piano. I tried to get into composing only a month ago and started from scratch. And so far, I've only got to use repetitive bass drums and drums without anything complicated in them, just triplets. How it works overall is a bit muddy to me. But cymbal rolls are absolutely crucial, without them everything sounds sectionalized. This is how I'm doing it, tell me if something is wrong:

edit: I checked all notes with the up and down arrow, none sounded right.

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