New ensemble strings: please test
I have finally completed the next major instrument upgrade for MuseScore: Ensemble strings based on samples from VSCO2 Community Edition. This ended up being a pretty ambitious undertaking. The VSCO2 samples needed a lot of editing and manipulation to result in something that responds well as an instrument.
The result is eight instrument sections (Violins, Violins 2, Violas, Violas 2, Celli, Celli 2, Basses, and All Strings) each with seven articulations (Fast, Slow, CC2, Staccato, Tremolo, Tremolo CC2, Pizzicato). The default sustained articulation for use in MuseScore should be "Fast", so that notes in fast passages will be audible. "Slow" can be used where a more lyrical tone is desired.
For the "CC2" presets, note volume (expression) is controlled by CC2 (MIDI controller #2), and the speed of the bowed attack is controlled by key velocity. The CC2 presets cannot currently be used by MuseScore, but future versions may be able to incorporate a fluid expression mode (e.g., crescendo on a single note). I will be designing all of the expressive instruments to be able to support this feature in the future. Meanwhile, the best way to experience this preset is with a nice keyboard and an expression pedal mapped to CC2. You will need to use FluidSynth or Sobanth VSTI to test this since MuseScore doesn't support CC input. Other SoundFont players (including editors like Viena and Polyphone) do not play this SoundFont correctly. Be sure to use a good reverb plugin when testing, as it will help everything sound more natural.
The second instrument sections (Violins 2, etc.) use various sample manipulation techniques so two sections of the same instrument can play in unison without sounding weird. Of these, only Violins 2 is likely to remain in the final integration with MuseScore_General.sf3, since the Violas 2 and Celli 2 sustained presets are subpar. The CC2 presets will be left out as well, until that day where MuseScore can do expressive dynamics. All of these decisions are yet to be made, so I would love to hear your feedback.
You can download the SoundFont here: MuseScore_VSCO2_Strings_1.0_BETA1.zip
More details are available in the included readme.md. Please test and let me know what you think.