How to vary organ stops (and which pipe organ to use)

• Jan 2, 2019 - 12:27

Hi all,

I do use MuseScore from time to time to lay out choral pieces on separate staves for better legibility so haven't really stretched the capabilities much.

However, I now want to notate a well known albeit fairly short piece of organ music in MuseScore 3, and need some help. It is help which may well be hidden amongst the complexities of some existing forum posts I've seen, but I can't seem to get my head around the solution, so hope that someone will provide a simplified response to an enthusiastic amateur like me!

So I start out by adding the Pipe Organ instrument to an empty score, and that gives me a sensible system of two staves for upper/lower manuals and a third for pedals. So far so good but, as with any organ piece, I now want to attach different stops to the three staves. In my case, the piece starts with upper manual (Swell = Gambe + Voix celeste), lower manual (Great = Bourdon 8' + Principal 8'). Additionally, it is not untypical for the stops to change during the piece, and they do so a little in this one too.

The next thing I realised was that, to get a range of sampled organ stops (like the ones mentioned above), I need to load a suitable sound font, since the general MuseScore one doesn't include them. That being the case, I installed the Jeux SF2 font into MuseScore and can now see a whole range of organ stops in the 'Patch' dropdown of the Mixer view. However, this is where I'm stymied as to what to do next. So my questions are these:

(1) If I go to Mixer view, I only see one instrument ('Pipe Organ') with one channel capable of being set to one patch at a time. In other words, I can change all three organ staves to the same stop (patch), but cannot set stops differently for individual staves. Does MuseScore let me do this ? If so, how ?

(2) Following on from (1), can I change the stop for one stave only part-way through the music without having to create multiple Pipe Organ instruments for the score ?

(3) Are there alternatives to Jeux ? I notice some folks referring to Aeolus with varying degrees of delight or disappointment (!), but I can see this is commented out in my copy of instruments.xml and wondered how I can get it to work as an alternative to Jeux.

Can anyone help me out ?


Start here: ("why MS is inadequate for organ music"). You can also create three different staves (for any instrument) and brace them as though they were organ music, and use different instruments as though they were organ stops (I have found Pan Flute very useful in this regard). There are soundfonts out there with various combinations of organ stops (e.g., jeux), but the stop-combination model of organs is not that of a midi synth like MuseScore. You can also (as Clarin Pardo does) use hidden staves with supplementary instruments doubling each other at the unison or octave. In short, if you seriously want to render serious organ repertoire, in coordination with MuseScore or not, you need a VPO (virtual pipe organ) system such as Hauptwerk (expensive) or Grand Orgue (free). See all discussions in . For a spectacular example of combining MS choral voices with VPO output, check out .

In reply to by BSG


Appreciated - this (and links to your articles) have really helped to crystallise the issue.
I will continue with MS (rather than going off to GrandOrgue) and will use the workaround of having multiple single-instrument staves, despite the drawbacks.
I found further articles on MS about Aeolus, especially one from 2018 which clearly implies that MS has dropped direct support for it (hence why I presume it has been commented out of instruments.xls). I shall continue with Jeux and see what the finished product sounds like.

Thanks again.

to (1+2): i made a template for myself (like BSG suggested)

to (3): I'm using "Stefans Cathedral Pipe Organ"-Font, which provides a big variety of sounds/stops/combinations of stops.

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