Too many soundfont instruments playing at once glitch

• May 19, 2018 - 17:18

Hi! I've noticed that when I have several instruments playing at once and they are all using soundfonts, the brass section usually fades out for one or two measures then suddenly comes back. It may only happen when playing forte or fortissimo and affects only instruments playing at a certain frequency. Is that something I can somehow fix, or is it a problem with the software or soundfont?


It's hard to say. Could also be something about your particular score. Best to atach the score, say exactly which soundfonts you are using, say what version of MuseScore and what OS, etc. Also, what happens if you use File / Export to create an audio filke - does that play normally?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Here is a link to where I posted one of them on my profile:

The instruments fading out was also caught in the exported audio. You can hear that glitch at 0:35 in the YouTube video. It didn't stand out as much as some other scores that I made and haven't uploaded yet.

I used MuseScore version 2.2.1, which I think is the latest version, on a MacBook Pro. I used Celthyan's soundfont, which seems to be the only one that glitches. It is a very loud soundfont, too.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Oh, I'm sorry about that! I attached the file in this comment.

I used a very loud soundfont and it caused very full orchestrated parts to drop some instruments for only a couple measures. When I play back the audio about a measure away from the problem spot, those instruments don't drop out anymore. Also, there is a static kind of clicking sound that also occurs in all of the loud parts.

Maybe that problem can be replicated by mixing a soundfont to give it more reverb and increasing the loudness of it.

Attachment Size
Fantasia_#3.mscz 31.59 KB

In reply to by Brian Wipf

Yes, I have. It was exported as wav audio and added to the YouTube video connected to the score I uploaded. It still caught the instruments dropping out. I never thought of the master volume slider. Would I find that in the synthesizer under 'Master Effects"? If so, would I turn certain knobs or use the vertical colored button on the right?

In reply to by lizzapie

(I like your work by the way. I'm an old git who just discovered Musescore last year, and I'm pulling apart my favorite movie soundtracks instrument by instrument to learn how to balance them and rebalance them whenever I change soundfonts. Your scores sound well composed. If John Williams were conducting this with his own personal orchestra, he'd spend a great deal of time communicating with the performers, to bring out the best in it by blending the parts well. There would also be someone working the sliders at the mixing console and of course, ten or thirty takes which someone would edit together for pairing with whatever film is being scored. :) )

In reply to by Brian Wipf

You're right on the money, that's the slider I was talking about, the "Vol" slider on the right, next to the rainbow-colored level display.

I have another idea after listening to the part at 35 seconds in to your video clip. Sometimes it's simply a matter of needing to pull another instrument back in volume because two instruments are competing in the same space, which happens frequently when I arrange or process a score with any program. The situation I am describing is not any kind of software or hardware glitch. Parts can temporarily get drowned out in the middle of a phrase, whether because the instrument sample was recorded with a subtle decrescendo in it, or the other instruments swell loudly enough to eventually overpower it. If and when this is the situation, it's a matter of adjusting the dynamics to leave space between instrument levels. Everything at the same level means nothing gets truly heard. It's like a conversation or a relationship among the instruments, each part alternates from leading to supporting the others in turn. If it helps, this is something every recording engineer spends much time learning to finesse.

In reply to by Brian Wipf

I'm replying to each of your comments...

That's perfectly fine! Haha, you're the opposite of me when it comes to typing. My brain gets way ahead of my hands. And thank you so much! I love John Williams.

Okay. I just tried messing around with the volume slider and the dynamics in the parts with the melody but none of that seemed to help with the problem. I'm pretty sure the trumpet parts are the culprits, though. They are both playing the same part but each have different soundfonts. Whenever I have two trumpets playing the same part on a soundfont other than FluidR3, that's when the audio begins to drop out certain notes. I'm thinking it's something that has to do with frequency and needs to be adjusted in the software. There may be a certain knob for adjusting the frequency in the synthesizer but I'm not sure where I would find it.

In reply to by Brian Wipf

Okay... I was about to say that "When you have two joined staffs set up on the same instrument, they will share the same MIDI channel, and two identical notes will sound as only one note."

Then I remembered you had said "They are both playing the same part but each have different soundfonts." Sheesh, I need to work on my reading comprehension!

So when you say that the two parts have separate soundfounts, this means it's not a joined staff but actually shows up as two separate spots on the mixer (keyboard shortcut [F10]), is this accurate?

If this is the case, put on some headphones, pan one all the way to the left and the other all the way to the right. Listen to them combined on those headphones with each instrument playing only in one ear -- and loud enough to be heard very clearly over the other instruments of course. If something does happen, do your usual diligent good work and export to an audio file, with the soundfonts safely stored in the file first (which you already do, but just in case any changes were made recently it never hurts to hit that button in the synth window another time.)

Tell me what happens.

In reply to by Brian Wipf

I'm so sorry for the late reply! Yes, you are correct about the separate staff.

I tried to pan one to the right and another to the left and that didn't reduce the problem at all. I also did that with all of the other instruments that had doubled up on the melody but that didn't seem to work either. Then I exported the audio and it still caught the instruments dropping out...ugh, this is so strange! Maybe the string section could be drowning them out in that particular section of the score?

In reply to by lizzapie

Yes, that's what I'm thinking, drowned out. This is good practice for me, my communication needs to be more clear, and I've got too many decades on my life not to start fixing the way I explain things in writing.

Indulge me in one more try with this. To clarify: you plug your headphones in (and the headphones are not optional here), pan the trumpets in the mixer -- one far left and the other far right -- and turn all the competing instruments down partway. When you do this, you will be able to hear, very clearly, if either the trumpet in your left ear or the other trumpet in your right ear are dropping out.

I'm curious for you to do just exactly that: both trumpets at normal volume in the mixer, one panned completely left, the other completely to the right, and all other instruments turned down halfway from where they are but without being completely silenced. When you have time, do that and share the results, tell us whether either trumpet sound started cutting in and out. If not, we can rule it out as a problem, and it's all down to them just being covered up by the sound of the orchestra.

In reply to by Brian Wipf

I'm sorry again for the late reply.

I just tried panning the trumpets right and left and turning everything else down. Both trumpets went completely blank at the same places as always. The only instrument playing in those empty parts was the harp. Turning down the other instruments didn't help solve the problem, so it may not be a "drowning out" issue. I will try downgrading to version 2.1 like FugalOmen did to see if that can solve the problem. Maybe comparing the certain updates from version 2.1 to 2.2 could help figure it out if the problem doesn't occur in the later version.

EDIT: I just realized that I got a new computer after the last update. That means I'm not able to try the earlier version of the software. The other computer doesn't have this soundfont, either, and I'm unable to download it over there.

In reply to by lizzapie

That's good! You've isolated that it's not just an illusion.

I have another question. With that trumpet patch and a blank score, is there a limit to how long it sustains? I have several patches in my soundfont that don't include a loop. When it runs out of recording, it runs out of sound. :) Frustrating. But I get why soundfont creators do it... to avoid a "repeating" sound happening every second or two. My quickest way to test is to solo the part and turn the tempo way down, that will give away if it's a too-short recording.

I also apologize if you already knew to do this. I don't have a way of knowing what someone has already tried.

In reply to by lizzapie

I found a really good website to help me out with having several parts at once and it said something like this for the panning and reverb for the instruments including trumpet...
1st violins - halfway left
2nd violins- less than halfway left, close to 1st violins,
violas- center or slightly right
cello- less than halfway right
basses- halfway right
trumpets- one third right
horns- one third left
trombones/tuba- halfway right
flutes/clarinets- slightly left
oboes/bassoons- slightly right
percussion- center

Adjust first violin with as much reverb as you can but still sound good and call that x amount of reverb.
1st violin = x amount of reverb
2nd violins- same as first, or slightly less
violas- slightly less than violins
cello- same as violas or slightly less
basses- same as 2nd violins
trumpets- less than strings, more than woodwinds
horns- same as first violin
trombones/tuba- slightly more than trumpets
flutes/clarinets- Mattias who wrote this says to taste
but I find that having it set to less amt than the trumpets seems to work well for me
oboes/bassoons- to taste (but I say less than trumpets)

The only other I did too was to keep the basses in the center and have the violas halfway right instead and that seems to work in my case....hope it helps

In reply to by lizzapie

This is a software and/or computer-based problem.
I came across the same problem in the "Willliam Tell Overture" and Can-Can.

My opinions (I can't claim that these determinations are definitely accurate.):
1. If too much instruments are used.
A. If sections containing Tremolo or Trill (usually tied and more than one measures long)
a. If the Timpani, Triangle and/or Cymbal (percussion) instruments played.
b. If there are consecutive small notes that follow each other continuously (e.g. 16th's, 32th's)
can cause this.

The way to check is: export and listen as a sound file (wav, ogg, mp3 or flac). There should be, no problem in exported file. (Because it doesn't recorded (saved/exported) in real-time).
If this is the case: This indicates that the problem is caused by the MuseScore or some weakness of the computer (usually: Sound-card, sound-driver, DSP, CPU); or both of them.

I too have been having this problem with 2.2.x. I downgraded to 2.1 and everything plays correctly there, so it was a bug introduced with 2.2.x.

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