A couple of different requests from a percussionist.

• May 27, 2017 - 02:50

I use MuseScore almost exclusively for percussion, and I have several requests that would make the program a lot more useful.

First of all, the latest version added a weird clap sound to all of the mallet soundfonts and it sounds worse. It's not always noticeable, but I've been working on a vibraphone solo and it makes it sound very empty and echoey. I just think it sounds less realistic now. I know this isn't really a feature, but I wanted to include it anyways.

Next, I would like to talk about auxiliary percussion. MuseScore has a lot of minor percussion instruments, that are actually very cool to have in the program, but most of them are things that you would not have a single person playing for an entire piece; they would instead play a lot of different things. Previously, you could edit a drumset part and get a small selection of percussion instruments to work with, and now they have a default part that essentially does that for you, but the selection of instruments is very limited. I like having all of these obscure percussion instruments, but I never get the opportunity to use them because I would never write an entire part for them. Moreover, sometimes you would want an auxiliary percussion player to play a pitched instrument like crotales or glockenspiel. In a marching band setting, it is also very common to have a mallet player play a suspended cymbal or a small glockenspiel. All of these problems could be solved by having some way for a part to switch from one instrument to another in the middle of the music.

Lastly, I would like to talk about rolls. Rolls are a big part of percussion and are denoted using tremolo. I understand that MuseScore's tremolo works by just playing the note over and over again (which actually works well sometimes for things like tambourine and triangle), but for things like mallets or cymbals, it frankly sounds really bad and this severely limits what I can do with the program. Cymbal rolls are huge and there's almost no point of writing a suspended cymbal part without them. Mallets it's not quite as big of a deal, but especially with 4-mallet rolls, which in real life can sound very legato and beautiful, the current system just sounds disgusting. As for how to fix this, for cymbals, you could have a separate type of note for rolls that automatically looks like it has tremolo on it but is not treated the same way and sustains for the length of the note, but for mallets, I don't know how it would work.

Anyways, MuseScore is a great program and I love using it, but these few changes would go a long way towards making it much more usable for percussion, and if there actually is a way to do any of these things already, then please feel free to tell me.


You can edit the drumset definition to include whatever instruments you want. See the Handbook under "Drum notation". No need to switch instruments, although as mentioned, that is possible as well. So either way, you do what you want.

As for the playback issue with vibraphone, please attach a sample score and describe the problem in more detail. As far as I know nothing changed in this area, although there is a known issue that creates a few glitches with a few sounds, maybe your score is being affected by that.

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