Musescore and VDL, It works!

• Jun 19, 2018 - 03:30

I've been working hard for a couple months to get to this point, but I finally have Musescore working with Virtual Drumline!

Here is a brief 'How to' to it working for yourself:
**Step 1
This is a pretty detailed video about setting up JACK and Musescore

**Step 2
Next download the VDL Instruments file here:

I spent a lot of time making this, and there are thousands of drum sounds to be assigned, so there maybe be a few mistakes that slipped through the cracks, if you have any suggestions or changes please let me know!

You will then need to open Musescore, then go to Edit > Preferences > Score.
Add the file path to the xml file in the "instruments list 2" query.
If this is already populated (or you just want to edit an xml file) I recommend Notepad++, then you copy and paste the contents of the xml file into the file populating list 2 or list 1.

**Step 3
Once that is all set up, dowload Carla from the KXStudio website. Once you've installed it, go to Configure Carla>Paths>Vst and add the path to the Kontakt 5 vst plugin. It's most likely (Program Files/Native Instruments/VST Plugin XX bit)
Next go to Configure Carla>Engine and change process mode to "multiple clients"

You'll have to restart Carla. Make sure Jack is running before you open Carla or Musescore. Make sure that the Jack server is running (press the play button in the jack window), I made the mistake of only opening the application without actually starting the server. Once Carla has been restarted click on 'add plugin' and select "Kontakt 5 8 out".

In the Carla Rack, click on the gear icon in the top left corner of the Kontakt plugin, this will bring up the Kontakt player window, here is where you add instruments.

This will be the main plugin, the first 15 pitched instruments and 1st unpitched instrument will be assigned in this window. (this is labeled mscore-midi-1 in the patchbay)
Unpitched percussion is always assigned to MIDI channel 10.
Any subsequent unpitched percussion will need its own Kontakt plugin, also, if you have more than 15 pitched instruments in your score they will be placed in the second Kontakt plugin too.

Next, the Carla patchbay:
If you have non-VDL instruments, (you want to use Musescore's synthesizer in addition to VDL)
you can leave the connection from the blue musescore audio outs: 'left' and 'right'.
If you do this, you will have to go to View>Mixer in Musescore and mute each channel that has a VDL instrument. Then connect the Kontakt plugins as shown in the picture above.

Then connect the Red Musescore MIDI outs to their respective kontakt instance like so:

This example uses exclusively unpitched percussion.
The first 15 pitched instruments would be assigned in the "Snare Line" kontakt plugin.
Then next 15 in the "Tenor Line" plugin, and so on.

If you have any questions do not hesitate to ask!

If you want to see an example of this in action, you can check it out here:

Attachment Size
VDL_Instruments_1.0.0.xml 704.34 KB


In reply to by Cadence Point Music

This is great! I am wondering if we can modify this package to where VDL can work with MuseScore using the new MuseScore Drumline notation standard and similar templates?

To check out the current status of MuseScore Drumline, simply download the latest "nightly" build for 2.3 (not Master) here:

MacOS -
Win -
Linux -

Once 2.3 is installed, go to Help > Resource Manager and select Install next to the MDL package.

This should download and configure MDL on your computer. All MDL templates are now available at the bottom of the templates director that you may access by simply creating a new file.

Also be sure to make sure that your workspace is set to MDL in the bottom left hand corner (options are Basic, Advanced, MDL). This will give you access to the custom MDL palettes.

There are also guides that describe the notation standard and keymaps that you can download here.…

It would be fantastic to create a similar package for VDL that is compatible with MDL, so that users who have already invested in VDL can migrate to MuseScore and the content they create would be compatible with the new MDL standard.

In reply to by Cadence Point Music

A couple more quick comments:

1 - To improve compatibility we should look at adding the most appropriate ID in the for the instruments.xml file. The list of MusicXML sound IDs can be found here -

2 - MuseScore 2.3 introduces a new concept . This allows the ability to assign things like buzz rolls, rolls and other forms of articulations/expressions to specific midi pitches by using standard notation for these elements. More info can be found here -

3 - There are also a MUCH wider range of noteheads available in 2.3, to further increase potential compatibility with VDL/MDL.

A full list of new features/capabilities available in 2.3 can be found here -…

In reply to by Daniel

So I've been looking into MDL, and I love it! especially the comprehensive stylistic details now available in the palettes!

and in response to your comments:
*I agree with the MusicXML, it was a nomenclature I wasn't familiar with so I decided to forego it, but it does need to be updated.
*With the ability to change a MIDI number with an articulation, I'll have to overhaul the xml file, but it will make the drumset menu _much_ cleaner!
*I'll have to do the same for the noteheads, I'm really excited for the changes in 2.3!

And some questions of my own:
* For the symbols like the ones that dictate the playing zones, are they purely cosmetic, or do they have a specific MIDI Action associated with them?
-Allowing symbols to be assigned a MIDI Action would be handy and aid in VDL implementation
* How exactly does the system of adding an articulation to a note to change its MIDI output work?
-Do you attach an articulation to a note, then specify a specific MIDI Action?

And in regards to VDL implementation:
*First, let me say I'm all for it, I think it would make it incredibly easy for users switching to musescore
*I think the best thing to do would be to match all of the MDL Keymaps to the existing VDL keymaps, they for one aren't changing, and I don't know of any way (without writing a program do it) to translate from one keymap to another.
-What influenced your current keymaps? And if you chose _not_ to follow the VDL keymaps, how come?
*I would like to adopt your notehead standard across all of the VDL instruments for the sake of cohesion

also a feature request (I'll make a post)
In the "edit drumset" menu, in addition to the ability to save the changes as a .drm file, I think it would be very handy (and make my job much easier, if you could save your changes directly into the xml file!

Or, if this won't work because the xml file is being read by the program, a system where the editor makes a copy of the current xml file, then finds the instrument you're modifying, and rewrites that section when you save it, and if you're editing multiple instruments from the same session, it will always go back to that xml file.
something like that...

Let me know if you have any more questions!

In reply to by Cadence Point Music

I made some SFZs (what MDL works on) that match the VDL keymaps! I've only made some for SnareLine Manual, TenorLine Manual, BassLine Manual (6 Drums) , and CymbalLine (18 in.) so far. There are lots of placeholders since MDL does not have all of the sounds VDL has so some of the notes may sound a little weird. This works with your first keymap btw in case you were already making one with the new MIDI pitch controls. To use them, you just drop them into your sfzs folder in the MuseScore extensions folder.…

This is related to your other tutorial, but when I tried using MIDI Out to connect Kontakt to MuseScore, I was unable to get Kontakt to play sounds through MuseScore. I followed the instructions for it the best I could what would end up happening is that either Kontakt would play but only in its own window or MuseScore would only play its sounds

I found (and fixed on my own) another issue with the instrument xml. For the “Acme Siren” instrument, one of the pitches is set to something like 8729 and I’m pretty sure it messes up the instruments after it too. I changed it to 72 since it seems like it fitted in the sequence it was in.

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