New Instruments

• Sep 23, 2013 - 03:07

I feel like there are multiple instruments missing from Musescore.

Most notably, a gunshot instrument in percussion. This would be necessary for the 1812 Overture to be made on Musescore as it uses 16 cannon shots, and a gunshot would fit that requirement.

Another is that there are more than just 1 kind of bagpipes. There are actually more than 10 different kinds of them, and only 1 kind of bagpipes, just called Bagpipes in the software, is available for use.

Another thing as well, I've seen many scores that require instruments, mostly brass instruments, that aren't available on Musescore.


* Gunshot: They are present in MuseScore 1.3. Just create a flute score, add a couple of notes and go to Display -> Mixer and choose gun shot. Having "Gun shot" has an instrument in the New Score Wizard will just make this easier.

* What are the difference between the bagpipes. As you might know an instrument in MuseScore is more or less: a sound + a default clef + a default number of staff line + a range + a transposition. Are the different bagpipes different in this matter?

* Which brass instruments are you missing? In any case, you can currently notate *any* instrument with *any" clef and *any* name. Just choose a trumpet and change the needed property (instrument name, transposition, sound etc...)

Also, note there are more instruments in that New Score wizard than what you see by default - see the checkbox at the bottom left to see more. For 2.0, this is all redesigned a bit and there are even more instruments. Of course, you're still at the mercy of whatever soundfont you have installed in terms of what will actually play back. But nothing stops you writing a score for the gunshot, cannon, Uzi, or Gb Blumhorn if you so choose - just so long as you don't mind selecting some more standard and commonly available sound for the playback.

Other missing instruments in current 2.0 nightly from Unpitched Percussion category:

- surdo
- caixa de guerra
- repinique
- chocalho
- tamborim
- agogô
- reco-reco
- pandeiro
- ganzá

"Cuíca" is present but it lacks the accent. :)

Note that some of these instruments are similar to western instruments (caixa-snare drum; ganzá-shaker; pandeiro-tambourine; agogô-cowbells, surdo-bass drum) and already present sounds could be temporarily assigned to them.

I'm sorry I haven't yet found informations about standard notations for these instruments. But I suspect there must be some special signs for some of them: e.g. for the surdo, where you may have to write both stick and hand movements. Agogô may be from 2 to 4 (I think, maybe even more) and maybe they have to be written on different lines.

Be every instrument available in soundfonts or not, I think it would be comfortable to have them in the list because:
- it would speed up things, when creating new scores
- it would make possible to create a "bateria" template
- it would remember soundfonts developers to add the instruments :)

In reply to by ciacnorris

Meanwhile, though, nothing prevents you from creating such a template even without the changes to instruments.xml. Add the closest sounding instrument, changing the instrument names, save - now you have a bateria template!

As for soundfont designers, I wouldn't hold my breath. Soundfont designers don't tend to design around MuseScore's instrument list - they design around General MIDI (mostly) or else whatever their own unique needs are. If someone with the necessary skills sees a need for a samba drum soundfont, they'd build one with or without MuseScore support. And I wouldn't doubt this has already happened. Have you tried looking?

In reply to by ciacnorris

I'm sorry I don't have the skills to add the instruments in the xml file. I should study how instruments.xml work and, most important, I don't have enough reliable informations about how those instruments work and should be written. I asked a local bateria, but they just know what they need to play their songs - they're not even sure about the existence of any standard way to write for these instruments, or standard pitches they should play.

I found a samba soundfont here…, managed to uncompress it with a software found here but I can't find in MuseScore manual how to choose which staff is played with which sound.

Anyway, as I told Marc in another topic, I've got my personal, brutal workaround: I just use voice staves, reduce the number of lines as needed, and don't use the playback function. I'm ok with that, but it would be great if 2.0 was capable of handling bateria scores out of the box, with the right instruments, the right notations, the right sounds and the right swing (see here: Maybe it would also help MuseScore diffusion among samba schools and bateria's. :)

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

I managed to open the soundfont with Swami, but it looks like it contains just two or three loops. No single instrument sound.

I'm still not sure about any standard way of writing for bateria. I'm trying to gather as many informations as I can but, in the meanwhile, please feel free to ask somebody else.

In reply to by ciacnorris

The place to select which sound goes with which staff is the Display / Mixer. See Change and adjust sounds .

But I still don't understand why you are using voice staves and all that manual adjustment. Why not simply use similar percussion instrument (eg, tambourine for pandeiro)? Then you'd get all the normal amenities of percussion notation, and "sort of close" playback. And all you'd have to do is change the instrument name.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

At first I didn't want to use sounds. I've never learnt how to use percussion writing in ms well, and I didn't feel comfortable with it (but I see it's more user-friendly in 2.0). Now the bateria has asked me an audio version, so I must face these problems. Ok, using voices and manual adjustments is my choice, and that's not the way ms is meant to be used.

But there's another problem: let's suppose i want to write for agogo, which is a set of 2 (in my case) bells, one smaller and one bigger. Let's also suppose i don't care about the different kind of strokes (normal, muted, striking the two bells one against the other).
I could insert a cowbell and change its name, change the number of lines to two, but... it doesn't work (or i can't make it work 'cause I don't know how to :) ). Notes appear between the two lines, I can't choose on which line to put new notes, and I can't get the cowbell sound with the two different pitches I want. Even if I create two different staves, one for high and one for low bell (which is unconvenient, because they're played by the same person), I can't pitch them.

Same problem with surdos.

In reply to by ciacnorris

Right. As Michael suggests, you really want a custom drum set for these. You could probably define your own one-line & two-line drum set, each containing a range of different instruments displayed as appropriate. Then use the one-line drum set for all instruments that need one line, the two-line drum set for all instruments that need two. Then you'd automatically get the correct appearance and playback for all drums. This can be done in 1.3, and it's really not much if any more difficult than 2.0.

According to the third movement of Haydn's Symphony Number 45 in F sharp minor, the horns are tuned to the key of F sharp. These horns are not really included in musescore. Also, Haydn's Symphony Number 46 in B Major uses horns tuned to the keys of B and D. While there are horns in musescore tune to the key of D, there are no horns tuned to the key of B.

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