unison "sound"

• Oct 18, 2017 - 01:44

Hi all
When for example. you write 4 trumpets in harmony, you get the strong sound of 4 trumpets. However when you write a unison passage, you get a weak, 1 trumpet sound. Is there some kind of workaround whereby you can make it sound like more than 1 trumpet playing?

Attachment Size
trumpets.png 70.25 KB


The only work around I can think of is to use a similar sounding instrument in the mixer, such as a trombone, that uses a different channel than the trumpet. If you want to use it only for unison sections you can use staff text (make it invisible if you want) change the channel to mute. In the mixer change the sound of the muted trumpet to trombone. This will add depth to the unison but will make it sound a little odd for multiple trumpets. When unison is over use staff text and change the channel to normal.

Elaborating slightly on what Mike said, remember that there are many free soundfonts in cyberspace. You could load up multiple soundfonts instead of using similar instruments from just one soundfont to get different timbres, and they very well might work together. Experimentally you could also try applying a slight detuning to the unison notes in the Inspector. Finally, don't forget your options of panning/volume in the mixer and velocity variations of the individual notes.

In reply to by xavierjazz

If you have two trumpets playing middle C, MuseScore will only send one "play" command of the trumpet to play middle C. Even if it sent two plays, it would be the exact same sound for both since. with one instrument in one sound font, it is the exact same sample.

I thought of something else. There are sound fonts that have solo instruments and group instruments. If you found and used one of those, you could us the group of trumptets for the unison parts in a similar way I suggested with the trombone.

Here is a post that contains one: https://musescore.org/en/node/240256

In reply to by mike320

I could imagine MuseScore's playback to just increase the volume by a certain amount, when 2 identical instruments play in unison.
I've been experiencing the effect described in this thread in closed score SATB, where at the odd unison note the overall volume drops significantly as opposed to when all 4 voices have a pitch of their own.

some interesting ideas here. Apart from the the drop in dynamic level, (the workround for which is cleared up in this thread, thankyou) the "sound" is not of several instruments playing the same note. Perhaps a sound font containing a group of the same instruments might well be the way to go. I'm mainly interested in Big Band writing (for what its worth). I didn't know you could use multiple sound fonts in the same piece as has been suggested! Annoyingly I can't see the replies to credit anyone as I write this. Please keep your suggestions coming!

Perfection is not always desirable.
There is really no difference between the orchestra's 4 trumpets and the software's 4 trumpets.
But none of these four real instrument players can make a full intonation. If they could, we would have heard the same effect.
For this reason: Sometimes we have to make some adjustments.

See attachment.

PS: 11.11 = half comma. (approx.) I set it lower than that.
You can try different settings for the effect you want.
100 cent = half tone, 200 cent = whole tone

Attachment Size
Instrument_Group_Effect.mscz 11.05 KB
tune.png 14.42 KB

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