How to Use Virtual Drumline with Musescore

• created 5 years ago • last updated 5 years ago
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    This tutorial will show you how to use the Virtual Drumline sound library along side Musescore. This tutorial will will include the installation of all necessary software, usage of the library with examples, and the limitations / known issues.

    I have only been able to get this working on Windows 10 64-bit. The only other OS I've tried is Ubuntu 16.04, and after much trial and error, I did not get the software working. This tutorial will cover installation and use on Windows 10 64-bit, with VDL 2.5.5, and Kontakt Player 5.

    Virtual Drumline is a VST (Virtual Studio Technology) sound library, that uses Kontakt Player to play the samples. There are two methods of connecting Musescore to Kontakt Player: JACK, and MIDI. This tutorial will outline the process, and limitations, of both methods.

    Connecting via JACK (recommended)

    Connecting with JACK is suitable for users who will be using more than one 'drumset' or unpitched percussion instrument in their score.

    Connecting with JACK will not allow you to use any Mod Wheel functionality without a work around

    Required Downloads

    Installation and Setup

    I'm going to assume that you have already downloaded and installed both Virtual Drumline and Musescore.

    Setup JACK

    1. Download and install the JACK Audio Connection Kit
    2. Navigate to the folder where JACK was installed (most likely C:\Program Files (x86)\Jack)
    3. Drag the Program Jack Control onto the desktop, or make a shortcut
    4. Now go back to the folder where JACK is installed, and find the "64 Bits" folder C:\Program Files (x86)\Jack\64 Bits
    5. Open an administrator command prompt from file explorer:
    6. Then enter the following regsvr32 JackRouter.dll
    7. Exit the command prompt and file explorer, open Jack Control, and click on settings
    8. Under the parameters tab, make sure the sample rate matches that of your sound card
    9. Under the advanced tab, change the Server Prefix to jackd -R -S -X winmme this allows JACK to communicate with Musescore

    Setup Musescore

    1. Next download the VDL_Instruments_1.1.0.xml file, and copy the file path of wherever you decide to put it.
    2. Open Musescore, and go to Edit > Preferences > Score. Then under "Instruments List 2" paste the file
      path of the xml file.
    3. Then go to Edit > Preferences > I/O then select the box for JACK Audio Server

    Setup Carla

    1. Download and install Carla
    2. Open Carla and click Configure Carla
    3. Under the Engine tab, make sure the Audio Driver is set to JACK and the Process Mode is set to Multiple Clients
      1. Under the Paths tab, click on the drop-down menu and select "VST", then click "+ Add.." and navigate to wherever you installed Virtual Drumline (Most likely C:\Program Files\Native Instruments\VSTPlugins 64 bit).

    Using JACK, Carla, and Musescore

    • Close Carla and Musescore if they're open, in JACK, press the 'Start' button, this will open the JACK Audio server
    • Next open Carla
    • To add instruments, click "Add Plugin" on Carla's main page, then scroll down the list and find the plugins labeled "Kontakt 5", select the one with 8 Audio Outs
    • Open Musescore, and open the score you want to use

    You must always open JACK first, Carla second, then Musescore

    Musescore and MIDI Assignments

    • Musescore assigns instruments starting at Channel 1 - Port 1 with the first instrument
    • Channel 10 in any port is reserved for a Unpitched Percussion / Drumset instrument
    • There are 16 channels per port. So the 17th instrument in your score will be assigned to Channel 1 - Port 2
    • If there are multiple Unpitched Percussion / Drumset Instruments, they will be assigned to Channel 10 - Port 1, Channel 10 - Port 2, etc. etc.

    How to Add Plugins

    On the Carla main page, you should see the new plugin added to the 'Rack' , click the cog icon in the top left corner of the plugin, this will open a Kontakt 5 window, here is where you would add any instruments in your score.

    When you add instruments in the Kontakt 5 window, they show up on the right side of the window. In each instrument's box, you will see an option titled Midi Ch: [A] #
    If you have added an Unpitched Percussion / Drumset Instrument, you will have to change this to [A] 10

    If you have more than one Percussion Instrument, you will have to add another Kontakt Plugin for that instrument. I've named them for the sake of clarity.

    Connect Plugins to Musescore

    Click on the "Patchbay" tab in Carla, then connect any Plugins you have like so:

    Note If you are using sounds from the Musescore Synthesizer (e.g. Brass / WW sounds), you must connect the blue Musescore "Left" and "Right" to your system's output. They should be connected by default.

    Mod Wheel Work Around

    If you wish to use the Mod Wheel functionality available to some instruments in VDL, you must use this method.

    I'm going to demonstrate using a marimba, lets say I want to start the piece with normal strokes, then go to rolls for a few measures, then back to normal strokes.

    First you will have to add an "Instrument Change" at each point you want to change the Mod Wheel, Like So:

    The pull up Carla, and open the Kontakt plugin. Add 3 copies of the instrument you are changing the mod wheel on, and the middle one will have the mod wheel changed, like so:

    If you want to do this with an unpitched percussion / drumset instrument, you will have to separate Kontakt Plugins for each change.

    Connecting via MIDI Out

    Required Downloads

    Installation and Setup

    I'm going to assume that you have already downloaded and installed both Virtual Drumline and Musescore.
    Start By installing ASIO4ALL.

    Setup Loop MIDI

    1. Download and install Loop MIDI
    2. Open Loop MIDI, and create two MIDI Ports by clicking the plus in the bottom left. Rename one "Musescore Out" and the other something like "Temp"

    Setup Musescore

    1. Open Musescore and go to Edit > Preferences > I/O
    2. Under Port Audio, change the MIDI Input to "MMSystem, Temp" and change the MIDI Output to "MMSystem, Musescore Out"
    3. Change the "MIDI Output Latency" to 100ms
    4. Change the API to ASIO
    5. Next download the VDL_Instruments_1.1.0.xml file, and copy the file path of wherever you decide to put it.
    6. Open Musescore, and go to Edit > Preferences > Score. Then under "Instruments List 2" paste the file
      path of the xml file.

    Your settings should look like this:

    Setup Kontakt 5

    1. Open up the Standalone Kontakt 5 Player
    2. Go to Options > Audio, and change the driver to ASIO
    3. Go to Options > MIDI and under Inputs, click on the "off" next to Musescore Out, and change it to "Port A"


    • Because there is only one MIDI Out in Musescore, you can only use 16 intruments per score
    • Because you are outputting the midi signals to Kontakt, you will be limited to the VST Sounds you have available in Kontakt Player (i.e. not Musescore Soundfont)

    Using the Mod Wheel

    For any instrument that has MW in the name

    How to change the Mod Wheel Value

    1. At the beginning of the score, insert a measure, then add staff text to any instrument that will be using mod wheel changes
    2. Right click on the staff text, and select Staff Text Properties
    3. Under the Midi Action tab, click on the action titled "10% (10)", (or another value if you wish for the instrument to start with a different value) and click okay.

    Tips & Notes

    • If you click somewhere else in the MIDI Action window, the selection will no longer be highlighted in blue, but instead, a very very faint grey.
    • You must add this extra measure as a way to "zero out" the mod wheel, Musescore's MIDI Action works by changing the Mod Wheel, as your score is playing. So the mod wheel is only changed when it encounters a new staff text, so by zeroing out the Mod Wheel at the beginning of your score, you can ensure that playback of your score starts on the right setting.
    • Any mod wheel change will take effect after the note which the Staff Text is attached to:
      The highlighted note will have the new Mod Wheel value
    • See Musescore and MIDI Assignments

    Example and Final Notes

    *Here is a video of mine showcasing Virtual Drumline sounds and Musescore:

    When adding pitched percussion instruments, you only have to use instruments from the VDL Keyboards (MW) section if you are using MIDI and you plan to use the Mod Wheel, otherwise you use the normal Musescore instruments. Except for the Xylophone and Glockenspiel

    Notepad++ is just a handy program to edit xml files, so if you have any desire to change something, you will be able to :) .

    Please let me know if you have any questions!

    Attachment Size
    VDL_Instruments_1.1.0.xml 795.77 KB

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