Channels & Tremolo

• Jul 18, 2019 - 17:38

Soundfont/channel newbie here...
I'm creating scores for the mandolin family and guitar and trying to understand what is available for related Soundfonts and playback support in general and specifically for tremolo wrt these instruments. I use playback as an instructional guide and would like to select and perhaps modify how the standard mandolin sounds are rendered. I may not use the lingo correctly here so please bear with me.

Why do some instruments have channels and others do not? For example, Mandolin does not appear to have channels while Nylon String Guitar has two (Normal and muted). Other instruments, such as Violin, have more including tremolo.

Is there a browser that displays in detail what each Soundfont supports?


Your answer is dependent upon the soundfont you have installed. If the soundfont is GM compatible the sounds are listed at, though the soundfont may have additional sounds as well. If the soundfont is not GM compatible, you will have to read the documentation for it to see what sounds are available.

From a MuseScore perspective, GM sounds are automatically assigned to scores you create. If the sound does not exist in the soundfont MuseScore defaults to the first sound in the soundfont file. Since MuseScore does not know what non-GM sounds the soundfont might have, you can open the mixer (F10) and assign non-GM sounds as you need to.

JoJo and Mike, thanks for your replies. It seems I could spend a lot more time learning the ropes but for now, I'll try applying mid-staff volume changes (and/or mid-staff instrument changes) to achieve a less harsh playback effect for tremolo sections than I'm getting with the standard Soundfonts. It seems a bit tedious, but may be the only way out at this point. Perhaps others have found better solutions and will share them to this thread.

It would still be helpful to have a browser (or even an index) into a SoundFont to review what is included and how it's defined. Without that, it's trial-and-error swapping candidates throughout the score to make better choices.

In reply to by napochan

One thing you can do to soften a tremolo on a mandolin is to put a pedal mark under the tremolo. It will sound better than the machine gun sound you currently get. One problem is that a sustained tremolo will get loud. You can now counter that if it's a problem by placing a single note decrescendo on it to lessen the crescendo you get from the tremolo and pedal.

Perhaps @BSG could tell you if the Piano Roll Editor would be useful to make tremolos sound better.

In reply to by mike320

Mike, I tried adding a pedal line for several measures and a dim. for a single note and then for several measures but could not hear any difference in playback. Are additional settings required for these directives such as the number of dB or a percentage to reduce the playback level?

In reply to by napochan

Interesting. It seems now to be broken. I thought I had an idea of which fix might have broken it, but I can't find one I think that could break it from about the last month, which was the last time I concentrated on this type of playback.

In a score I've been writing for years, a little at a time, I have a prominent Marimba part that sounded like the bars (? IDK what to call them) were vibrating when a tremolo was played, but it now sounds more staccato. The pedal has no effect.

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