Problems with a violin line

• Jul 22, 2019 - 08:14

In the attached file, which contains several versions of an excerpt of a larger score, there are two basic problems.

1) Notes A5 and Eb6 (and probably others, I haven't made further tests) have a parasitic rythm, probably caused by an exagerated vibrato. I've exported the file as wave and examined it in an audio editor, the vibrato seems to be 10 dB in amplitude (max - min) which is more than enough to be perceived as a rythm. It is particularly noticeabe as repeated 16th notes at a tempo of 120. If the note is sufficiently short, the parasitic rythm disappears. If no rhythmical reference is present, it my be unnoticed. I guess this problem may be asociated with the soundfont or with the synthesizer.

2) There is a confusion as to what marcato and accent mean, and as how different articulations combine. Marcato and accent are intensity emphasis articulations, so they should not affect the duration of the note relative to the full theoretical duration. See for instance the definition from Wikipedia ( "Marcato (short form: Marc.; Italian for marked) is a musical instruction indicating a note, chord, or passage is to be played louder or more forcefully than the surrounding music.". While it is true that in certain ocasions it may imply a slight and brief tempo slow down, it mainly affects intensity (and anyway a tempo change has nothing to do with shortening the note and keeping the beat). None of them does so in playback. Accent really does nothing, and marcato reduces the duration to 67 %. When combined with staccato, which is indeed a duration articulation that reduces duration to 50 %, both accent and marcato do cancel the staccato, yielding 100 % and 67 % duration, i.e., converting staccato in tenuto and portato respectively. Intensity and duration articulations should combine independently since all combinations exist in musical performance.

NOTE: I know it is possible to tweak things combining the use of the piano roll and the inspector, but it would be better if by default one got the standard behavior, for instance an accented staccato could imply a velocity increase such as 10 or 15 with a 50 % duration.

Attachment Size
test_violin_staccato.mscz 10.21 KB


A real player probably wouldn't try to put vibrato on a staccato double stop eight note. In order for the software to interpret a particular articulation, there must be a recorded version of that articulation in the font. Or at least something the software and manipulate. I think fonts for musescore are too small to include every possible articulation. After all, orchestra fonts for paid software can start at 40 GB and go way up from there.

In reply to by bobjp

First, orchestral double stops are often played divisi except if very easy, but as to the software rendering it is irrelevant except if we had a very sophisticated soundfont capable of rendering double stops. Second, I didn't say I needed or wanted vibrato, but there is a vibrato, and I add now that it starts too soon, causing this weird effect. I think that delaying the beginning of vibrato and reducing its amplitude would greatly improve the soundfont without the need of 40 Gb worth of samples.

In reply to by fmiyara

Sorry, but
First, You complain about a perceived effect that may or may not have to do with your playback device or the font you use. As I said, I used three different fonts with three different results. Is the effect still there if you remove the lower note? Second, of course there is vibrato. I agree that there shouldn't be vibrato on an eight note. Each of my three fonts handled vibrato differently. As does each real player. You might not start vibrato until later but not everyone might. Some players have very wide vibrato indeed. You write a particular melody or rhythm and expect it to sound as if it were being played like a real player would play it.

In reply to by bobjp

I'm pretty sure it has nothing to do with my playback device, as I don't have any effect, let alone any chorus or similar which could be confused with a vibrato. But, most important, I mentioned that I exported my score as a wav file, a software process that doesn't use the sound device at all, and the vibrato is there. In the sample score I presented there are several versions with comments attached to each case, including isolating both notes, making them longer, changing articulations, etc.
The problem lies, I believe, on the defaulf soundfont provided with MuseScore (the plain one, not the HQ), which, for that particular instrument in that particular range starts the vibrato too soon and with an exagerated amplitude modulation.

In reply to by fmiyara

Do you think that whoever put the font together exaggerated the vibrato, or that's just the way it was recorded. Also, does the HQ version have this problem? I confess to not hearing it, but then my hearing may not be the best. I only ask about your playback device because you have to listen using something. My experience is that you could listen to something on three different devices and each one will sound different. I realize I'm probably not helping you. I'm just trying to understand what's going on. Recorded sound, drivers, enclosures, room size, all affect sound.

In reply to by bobjp

I'm not quite an expert in soundfonts--yet :) but I think the soundfont can contain a recorded vibrato or a vibrato can be added artificially, not as a number of samples but as an instruction for the synthsizer. In the first case it surely yields a more realistic sound, but it takes much more memory.
Don't you hear the seemingly repeated 16th notes where a regular 8th note is written? With the isolated note or a longer note it is more difficult to perceive it, but with two consecutive 8th notes it is clearly audible--and disturbing!
I didn't test the HQ version because each time I toggle between them I have to wait several minutes until it loads, and the HQ is not working well on my system.
I'm aware of the influence of the environment, equipment, etc. on how something sounds (my background is as an acoustician), but that influence is not what I'm talking about. It's something much less subtle, it is as if I had a 125 ms echo, which is impossible in living-room, and besides, it wouldn't be so selective, it would plague every single note and I would have long been confined in a mental institution!

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