Fluid Soundfont: Drawbar organ one octave too low

• Jan 14, 2017 - 18:00
Reported version
S4 - Minor

2.0.3 / FluidR3Mono_GM2-312

The Drawbar organ in the Fluid soundfont is pitched one octave too low. Easily fixed in Viena by applying a +12 correction to the global coarse tuning of the instrument.

P.S. Is it possible to add a "Soundfont" category to the "component" field of this forum, to easily identify soundfont-related threads?


I'm not sure what you mean by this. Have you compared to a some particular model of organ to verify that the fundamental frequency is off from what it should be? Different organ sounds will have different overtone profiles so it is quite common for the pitch to seem an octave away from where it really is. Nothing about this particular sound seems unusual to me, but I don't know if there is some sort of standard I'm not aware of to say it should be different.

You might try asking on the SoundFonts forum - Michael Cowgill (ChurchOrganist) will likely want to weigh in on this.

The easiest way to hear the problem is to play a simple C major triad starting at Middle C. Now click on the other organ presets and repeat. Now try the same thing for other instruments. You have to pitch the Drawbar organ up an octave to play the same part.

This means that a part written for the Rock or Percussive organ will have to be transposed up an octave if the user subsequently decides to use the Drawbar organ.

Status (old) active needs info

Like I said, due to the way organs produce sound, it is to some extent competent normal that some presets might appear to be an octave away from their normal pitch. I'm simply asking you consult an expert on this before assuming it is a flaw. It may or may not turn out to be perfectly normal for the particular organ sound being mimicked.

The deciding factor is being able to easily change sounds in the mixer, "on the fly". You cannot do this if one organ is playing back in a lower octave – unless you stop playback, transpose the part and restart.

Status (old) active needs info

But if the real instrument being mimicked sounds like, this is entirely correct. *Please* consult an expert, and leave the status of this as "needs info" until someone who understands organs better than you or I can verify whether or not this is correct. FWIW, though, I have played quite a few organs, and find it perfectly normal to find some sounds appear to be an octave lower or higher than others.

AFAIK the drawbar organ was a Hammond invention. While they often do possess 16" registration, they have an 8" basic registration of normal tuning and should indeed have no playback transposition.

To clarify my background, I graduated in classical church organ about 10 years ago but am a low-activity player. So no real 'authority' on the subject, but not a completely ignorant voice either ;)

That would have been useful information to have mentioned by now :-). Sounded at first like you had idea that different organ stops can have different apparent octaves. Still worth getting clarification from a true expert on though.

Reported version 2.1  
Regression No
Workaround No

I would like to add my vote to this old complaint.
I just downloaded the most recent soundfont for MuseScore 2.3,
I agree the drawbar organ is one octave too low.
Grab any other GM soundfont; the problem is not there (or should not be - I obviously cannot check them all).
Grab any GM keyboard; the problem is not there.
Yet in MuseScore it is.

It is expected that 'drawbar', 'rock' and 'percussive' organs sound one octave lower than piano pitch.
This occurs due to the use of the 16' drawbar for these sounds, This is what Hammond referred to as the sub-fundamental.
but the MuseScore drawbar organ is an additional one octave lower still,

Since posting I see a version number I did not know would be included, and I cannot change it.
I am running MuseScore 2.3.

I posted in Soundfonts as earlier suggested as well:

2.3 is years obsolete by now. Can someone with some expertise please weigh in on whether this is an actual issue in the current 3.6.2 version of MuseScore, also whether it continues to be an issue in the development builds of MuseScore 4?

To me the drawbar organ sounds exactly one octave lower than a piano, just as I expect. Unfortunately I don't have an actual Hammond organ to compare to, but it certainly does match my expectation of the sound when I have played them. Maybe someone with access to an actual Hammond organ can record a video to show the intended effect, playing the same note with different settings for comparison?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

What do you hear in the following example?
To my ears, with good headphones, it sounds 0 -1 -1 -2 but should be 0 -1 -1 -1.
The -1 note is there, but -2 is there as well; it's an organ after all.
I have no actual Hammond on hand, but have played several and am very familiar with many vst/emulation.
More importantly, I'll repeat my earlier point:
Load up another GM soundfont or play a GM keyboard.
The three organ presets should sound the same and in MuseScore they don't.

Attachment Size
organ octaves.mscz 2.94 KB

Here are the harmonic analyses for the notes.
Here is how to replicate my process:
Open in MS, export as .wav, open in audacity (free), highlight each note, analyze/plot spectrum, printscreen
I think I can now say more firmly that I don't know how you're not hearing this.
A brief tutorial: note the peaks, note the massive peak at A2 only on drawbar while on the others they start at A3 and A4.
Drawbar is clearly two octaves below A440.

Attachment Size
piano.png 71.61 KB
percussive.png 72.54 KB
rock.png 72.54 KB
drawbar.png 72.02 KB
Frequency Few Many
Status needs info active
Type Graphical (UI) Functional
Workaround No Yes
Reproducibility Always
Reported version 3.6

I am updating the staus of this issue.
Note: it also affects Detuned Organ 1, though I cannot change the name of the issue,
I think I have provided ample evidence to elevate this from 'needs info' to 'active'.
Though I am using 2.3, the problem has been confirmed in the current soundfont download, so 3.6 applies.
Harmonic analysis verifies this as an actual problem, not just a couple users' opinions.
I am also calling it functional since it doesn't exactly seem graphical. Thoughts?
Two possible workarounds:
1. In Staff Properties, transpose so all notes sound 1 octave up.
2. In Polyphone, there is a -24 that could simply be changed to a -12. This would require a raw sf2 version as changing and re-saving as sf3 would result in quality loss.