Synthesiser/Keyboard entries in Instruments

• Dec 29, 2013 - 18:56

Some electronic keyboards reproduce many sounds (e.g. pizzicato strings, electric piano), but aren't necessarily listed in the 'Electronic Instruments' section of 'Instruments…'.

Should we have an entry simply called 'Synthesiser' for such cases?

I would keep the synthesiser entry for non-keyboard instruments such as the EWI , but I wonder if we should have a 'Keyboard' entry as well? It could cover all electronic keyboards, including those that don't use synthesis.

Samplers/sequencers is probably another area!


In reply to by ChurchOrganist

If you know which entries don't have the sub-entries, perhaps - I wouldn't want to use the 'Effect Synthesiser', in this case.

There will be users who find none of them relevant to the set-up they want, so unless there's any technical issue, I still think the generic entries (Keyboard and Synthesiser) are a good idea.

I wonder if guitar synthesisers would be another entry in the 'Synthesiser' section, or if it would come under a 'Synthesiser' entry with options in staff types (namely Standard and Tablature).

In reply to by chen lung

I asked chenlung to explain exactly what he wants to see because I didn't get it from all the text here... He wants to add an entry under "Electronic Instruments" named Keyboard Synthesizer. The entry would look like this. Any feedback?

<Instrument id="synthesizer">
            <longName>Keyboard Synthesiser</longName>
            <description>Keyboard Synthesizer</description>
            <clef staff="2">F</clef>
                  <program value="88"/>

In reply to by [DELETED] 5

Yes, it would be more neutral entry for sounds not suggested in the Electronic Instruments list.

'Keyboard Synthesizer' could be interpreted as 'Keyboard/Synthesizer' - just amend the name:

Keyboard = Non-synthesis instruments such as Mellotron.
Synthesiser = Instruments not played on keyboard, such as Guitar Synthesizer, EWI.

I thought about samplers that aren't keyboard based, but for the time being, it could possibly fall into this.

I selected Bass & Lead as it wasn't covered here . I hadn't realised until now that it seems to be the basis for the Electronic Instrument section and why ChurchOrganist was probably reluctant to change it.

In reply to by chen lung

The kind of keyboard you are talking about isn't actually a synthesiser.

I assume you are referring to keyboards such as the Korg M1 or the more recent Roland VR700.

These actually use samples for their sound generation, and so strictly are not synthesisers.

I'm not convinced that the instrument list is the right place to list every type of keyboard sound. The synth sounds added to the Electronic Instrument section are all GM patches, and were added mainly for MusicXML 3 compatibility.

I do feel that for electronic keyboards we need generic terms (such as Keyboard Synthesiser although I would simply prefer Keyboard or Electronic Keyboard) and then have users select the patch from the Mixer, perhaps altering the instrument name in the score to reflect its nature.

As a default sound I would be inclined to use the Saw Lead sound (81) which tends to be the generic synth sounds.

I suspect in the end we are going to have to look at the way the user changes Instruments and patches, as there are now instruments with a multitude of sounds which cannot possibly all be listed in the Instrument list.

Maybe patch choice could be done from the Instrument list by opening the mixer from the choose instrument dialogue? That's just a suggestion - I'm not even sure it would be user friendly, but we do need to think about this.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Thanks Michael.

For my scores, I call the entry 'Keyboard' if it was played on one using synthesis or samples.

The only reason I thought of other terms was for electronic instruments that aren't played on a keyboard (including the aforementioned E.W.I.). What do you think we should do about that?

In reply to by chen lung

The only problem here is compatibility with MusicXML 3 which deals in sounds and consequently doesn't have EWI or Mellotron in the list.

I think we need to rethink the relationship between MusicXML 3 sounds and the Instrument list, and definitely the UI for patch changes.

After thinking about this a little, I think maybe the way forward would be for the mixer to be combined with the Instrument list perhaps being revealed on pressing an advanced view button so the instrument list would show existing information together with current patch (changeable from a drop down scrollable list), Mute and Solo check boxes and spin boxes for Volume Pan Reverb Send and Chorus Send.

The musicXMLid tag should then be associated with the patch name rather than the instrument name, and be dynamic depending on the patch chosen.

Obviously this cannot be done for MuseScore 2 but is something to think about for the next major release.

I will try to knock up something in Qt Creator and post here as a pic.

I shall also start a different thread.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Although we're coming at it from different angles, I've been observing lately that it would be nice to be able to access the patch list from the instrument list during score creation or when adding instruments. That way, when selecting a "generic" instrument like "Guitar", you could also select the specific patch for it right then without needing to remember to go to the Mixer later to do it. This would also give an opportunity to incorporate Staff Properties so one could customize staff names etc at the same time, as is occasionally requested. Even to the point of perhaps revisiting the decision to have separate standard & tablature variants of the stringed instruments if the dialog is structured in a way so as to make this obvious; similarly for the different clef/transposition variants of low brass instruments.

The trick would be to do all this without making the dialog overwhelmingly complex or interfering with how efficient instrument selection can be now in the usual cases.

In reply to by chen lung

Nothing to my knowledge although IMO this still needs addressing.

My role has changed, however, to providing sounds via soundfont creation and editing.

I think that once we have MuseScore 2.1 out with it's improvements to Zerberus we may see more attention paid to this.

Certainly Lasconic, and also I, firmly believe that the future of sound generation in MuseScore lies in SFZ rather than SF2.

SFZ will enable us to adopt a much more flexible approach, and I believe hpfmn has already done some work on importing user patchlists into MuseScore.

All I can say is - watch this space.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Thanks for replying Michael.

I asked because 2.0 has past, and it has been a few years.

I'd like to do some work in this upcoming version (I had barely touched the series until recently), so don't want to see it pushed back again, especially since 2.1 maybe the last.

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