No MIDI (I/O MIDI input and output dropdowns are blank)

• Oct 9, 2019 - 15:13

I have the latest version of MuseScore installed -- v3.2.3.7635. I have it installed on my desktop DAW and just yesterday decided to install it on my laptop. Both machines are running Win7 64-bit with the latest service packs installed.

MuseScore is and has been running great on my desktop. I am still not using it all that often so I just have its MIDI out configured to MS GS Wavetable Synth. It's okay for the sort of sketches I'm doing with the software right now. So I figured I'd do the same with my laptop -- but no such luck. After installing MuseScore 3, I found there was no MIDI output. So I went to Edit>Preferences, clicked on the I/ O tab and found that the MIDI input and MIDI output drop-downs were blank. So I tried clicking on them. Nothing happens. Apparently MuseScore 3 doesn't know my laptop has MS GS Wavetable Synth installed. I immediately checked that it was working with another program I use that makes heavy use of it, and it responded just fine -- and NO I did not have any other programs running concurrently that might have been also trying to use the MS synth. I also tried clicking on the "Restart Audio and MIDI Devices" button. Didn't make any difference. I even rebooted the machine just to make sure there wasn't any junk hung up in memory that might have been causing the problem. No difference.

So, any idea why my I/O dropdowns are blank?


I've never seen the default WIndows synth show up in the list. Are you sure you were using it on your desktop? And why? The default synth built into MuseScore should work better anyhow.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I'm not at my desktop at the moment. I'm upstairs on my laptop, which is showing blank drop downs for a synth. I'm still so new with MuseScore that I didn't know it has its own synth -- which is good news. But it doesn't help me at all because nothing shows up.

Your questions do nothing to help me with my problem. My desktop has MIDI output, so frankly I don't care at the moment which synth it's using. I did notice one thing when I was looking at it earlier. Before the MS Wavetable Synth statement, on the same line, was another name, which preceded the Wavetable listing, separated by a comma, but I thought it was just a tag MuseScore was using for the MS synth. I don't recall what it is now. When I get downstairs later, I'll check, then I'll update this note.

Oh, one other thing I noticed. In the Preferences window, the Advanced tab, there are two, um, addresses I guess you'd call them. One is io/portMidi/inputDevice and the other is io/portMidi/Output device. To the far right of these two statements are empty boxes into which one can type text. Since I have no idea what to type into these two boxes -- if anything -- I'm leaving them blank. But I can't help but wonder if their being blank may be related to my problem. When I get downstairs to check my desktop, I'll check the Advance tab as well.

In reply to by cooltouch

Well, the only "problem" you described was not having "MIDI output", and not seeing the Microsoft synth in the dropdown. What I'm telling you is, that's perfectly normal - you would only have MIDI output if you ahve a MIDI device connected. So I'm not sure what other problem you are wanting help with. Except, I might guess that the only reason you are looking in that dialog is, the MuseScore built-in synthesizer isn't working? That is, nothing happens you press Play? You haven't specifically said you are having that problem, but maybe that's what you really mean? Even with no MIDI device, and therefore no MIDI output, you should be getting sound anyhow from the built-in synthesizer. If you are not, then see and following the various suggestions there. if none of those work, then followup up and let us know settings you see in Edit / Preferences / I/O after you do the factory reset that is suggested there.

The bottom line is, you aren't supposed to have to look at any dialogs or change any settings or install any other software or do anything at all to get sound - it's supposed to just work. So first step is the do the revert to factory settings to see if perhaps that gets things the way they should be - assuming they aren't already fine (again, I don't know that there is a problem right now, maybe playback works just fine, so you're all set as is?)

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

No, the problem still exists, so I'll take a look at the above link you provided. With regards to not having to do anything to get it to work, this is pretty much the way things worked for my desktop. But for whatever reason, my laptop is not playing along.

OK, for the sake of full disclosure -- I suppose I was expecting more MuseScore users to be like me: composers who wrote music on the staff, not ones who played MIDI instruments and captured what they played to be refined on the staff. I score directly to the staves. I'm a guitarist and, while I own a few keyboards, I don't claim to be a keyboardist. I like having a keyboard around because, despite my many years of playing guitar, I see harmony and melody clearer on the keyboard. But I don't try to capture my meanderings. I'd rather score things out. In my 20 years of writing music, this is the way I've always done it, and I don't see any reason to change now.

So to me, what MuseScore is is what's called a notation-based sequencer. I don't have any additional MIDI instruments hooked up to it, unless I have one of my keyboards switched on down at my desktop. Which usually isn't the case. So when I was originally describing my problem, I just assumed that a member would realize I was talking about problems using MuseScore as a means of turning notation directly into music.

And, getting back to my original point, I am puzzled why, on my laptop, MuseScore doesn't see the MS Wavetable Synth, when the other music composition related software I have installed on it does see it. So I'm gonna go through that link and see if I can get to the bottom of this issue.

In reply to by cooltouch

To be clear: I think most of us are like you, writing directly into MuseDcore with our computers only, no MIDI keyboards used for input or output, no external synthesizers, and certainly no DAW software. But I think you confused me by using most of those terms (MIDI output, wavetable synth, and DAW).

So now that we are in the same page - were talking about MuseScore's but inayback, no external synth, no MIDI in, no MIDI out, no DA. - let's see if we can get your playback sorted out. Step one will be doing what it says in that link, most importantly, the revert to factory settings.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Good to know we're mostly alike then. I was getting the impression from your previous note that you're one of these exceptionally talented individuals who can sit down at a keyboard and knock out a sonata without even halfway trying. Okay, then. I had a chance to go through that link and I found a couple of areas where I was able to make adjustments, most notably with my audio drivers. I was able to update them successfully. But they're audio, so no help for MIDI. Ultimately, after completing all the suggestions, I still have no output with my laptop. To be specific, it plays the notes on my screen, but there is no audio being heard. And I checked the audio drivers -- these are the same audio drivers I use for everything on that machine.

I did the "revert to factory settings" bit. No difference. Not surprising since I d/l'd the software for the first time this afternoon.

I'm at my desktop now. I've made a print screen of my drivers window. As you can see, the output plainly shows the MS GS Wavetable Synth as one of the selections -- the one highlighted. The UMC404HD is an audio interface with MIDI that I own, and while it was hooked up to the computer, it wasn't active. I don't know what Portable G-1 is. I never use the MS MIDI Mapper. The MIDI Input shows the UMC404HD and also includes as a selection the Portable G-1, whatever that is. Since my MIDI input is my mouse, I don't mess with anything there. Here's the printscreen:

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musescore_drivers_printscreen.jpg 88.93 KB

In reply to by cooltouch

I'm a composer who uses Musescore to produce music exclusively from notation. I do not use MIDI input or MIDI output devices with MuseScore. When I set up staves with instruments, and drop a note in with the mouse or the computer keyboard, without exception, I hear a sound on that instrument on my computer's speakers. It turns notation directly into music, with nothing else attached, configured, or selected. Does that or does that not happen for you?

In reply to by cooltouch

Okay, so now that I know that MuseScore does not rely on MIDI to produce sounds, the question then becomes, what do I do to get MuseScore's synth to show up on my laptop? Far as that goes, what do I have to do to convert my desktop from the MS Wavetable to the MuseScore synth? As for the desktop, I can't help but wonder if it isn't playing the MuseScore synth already because I've never heard MS Wavetable strings sound so good (I'm working on some symphonic harmonies at the moment -- just with the string sections, so far).

In fact, now that I think about it, when I first opened the I/O tab, the UMC4040HD device was highlighted. But I was getting playback through my speakers even though it wasn't active. I changed the selection to the MS Wavetable because that's where I thought it should be and I guess I perhaps mistakenly assumed that that is where the sounds were coming from. Now, I'm not at all sure anymore. What is the likelihood that the MuseScore synth is just ignoring everything in that drop down and playing the sounds I'm hearing?

In reply to by cooltouch

There are couple of things to check on. First, make sure there is sound font loaded in the synthesizer. Next, look at edit->Preferences in the I/O tab and made sure the API is MME and the device is appropriate for your system. Next, right click the speaker icon on the task bar, select Open Volume mixer and ensure MuseScore is not muted. These are common issues when you don't have a midi device connected.

In reply to by cooltouch

First, It's going too far to say MIDI isn't involved at all, because it is - internally. That is, there is no MIDI output, but under the hood MIDI is being used.

So, even though MIDI is usedintenrally, it has no relevance to your life. If you aren't using an external synthesizer, you can safely forget you ever heard of MIDI. But, I have no idea what a UMC4040HD device is, so somehow something is unusual about at least one of your systems.

If you are running Windows with no MIDI devices, and you've done the factory reset, you should probably have the PortAudio box checked, API setting MME, Device set to whatever your speakers are, about both MIDI dropdowns should be empty. If you see anything at all under MIDI output, get rid of it.

And forget you ever heard of Microsoft Wavetable Synth, it is never normally used in any way by MuseScore (I am not sure there would be a way to use it even if you wanted to).

If that's all good, you shod be around to go to View / Synthesizer and check the Fluid (that's the name of the main internal synth in MuseScore) and confirm MuseScore_General is the soundfont loaded, with nothing loaded on the Zerberus tab (that is a second synthesizer we support also but don't use by default).

In reply to by cooltouch

Okay, I found out what the problem was . On the Preferences screen, the Note Input tab, I had clicked on the very top selection, Enable MIDI Input. I went back just now, and knowing what I know now about MuseScore, I unchecked the box. Surprise, surprise, I now have sound. That's a relief. Now, where was I . . . .

In reply to by cooltouch

That's great it worked. Although for the record - "Enable MIDI input" is actually set by default, it's not a problem in itself to have that checked. it won't have any effect until you actually connect MIDI device. So the actual problem was likely elsewhere in the preferences, like the I/O page. But it could well be that turning that option had a side effect ton other settings. Anyhow, don't be surprised if you later see that enabled, because is normally supposed to be.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks, Mark. Geez, you just had to tell me that didn't ya. There I was all comfortable and secure in my thinking the problem had been taken care of, when really it hasn't been. It's just been derailed for the moment. I can take screen shots of the I/O pages on my laptop if you think that'll help figuring out where the issue is. Everything seemed normal to me, but I'm still new to MuseScore, so who knows?

I'm at my desktop right now, and I just did a factory reset on it -- mostly I guess to see if it got rid of the MIDI devices. It did not, but at least they don't appear in the output drop down anymore. There's one that's still appearing in the Input drop down, and which also appears on the output list that I don't have any idea what it is -- Portable G-1. Actually the drop down sez MMSystem,Portable G-1. I take it that MMSystem is some sort of MuseScore notice, since it appears before everything in these two drop downs.

You were wondering about the UMC404HD -- it is an audio interface with midi ports, made by Behringer. I guess that it's showing up in the MIDI list because of those ports, I dunno. I'm not even all that sure what good the MIDI ports are on an audio interface, far as that goes. Are they really hooked into the MIDI chain? I'm tangenting here, but years ago, I had MIDI down cold. I've forgotten most of what I knew back then. I had several MIDI devices daisy-chained and had one device acting as a controller for the rest of them. I'm not even sure you can do the stuff I did back then with modern MIDI devices that use USB instead of the round in and out ports.

Midi output selection in Preferences-I/O is disabled (blank) when no Midi input is available.
Running Musescore on Windows 1909 10.0.18363.778
Workaround: I had to install an additional loopmidi cable. This made the list of Midi output devices available. In my case, I send Midi output to another loopmidi device which conncects to the Aria Player (Garritan Instruments). The OS default synthesizer MS GS Wavetable Synth can also be selected.

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