Creating a handbell soundfont

• Jul 22, 2020 - 19:13

Hi all, I've posted about this before and I see there are a handful of other posts about it. I arrange handbell music but Musescore doesn't have a good sound for handbells. I approximate it using the vibraphone sound, but it's just not the same. I finally have access to a full 5 octave set of Schulmerich handbells, and am working on a video project with them so I thought why not make a soundfont in the process? I found the tutorial page about making soundfonts, and it seems fairly straightforward, but I'm a little confused on a couple of things:

-Do I need to record every pitch, or can I just record one to get the waveform and Musescore will fill in the pitches for me?
-Do I need to record multiple note lengths? Or can I just record one long note and it will be adjusted based on the note lengths in the score?
-How do I go about adding bell articulations? This is a little more specialized and may be beyond my capability, but I know strings have pizz. and brass has a mute effect so I think it would be similar to that.

Hope what I'm asking makes sense. I love Musescore, and I've been using it to help my bell choir practice during COVID. It would be even more helpful for us if I can make a good soundfont! I even taught a class about it for our virtual Spring Ring event a couple months ago:


In reply to by kuwitt

Duh, should have checked Polyphone's website to see if they had a tutorial (which of course they do). Looks like bells will be a bit challenging since they're technically a pitched percussion instrument and looping the sound isn't simple due to the volume decay.

In reply to by AvenueQ

You may not need to loop the sound; you could use long decay samples. You don't need to sample every pitch and Polyphone is a great tool for the job.

I think that the SF2 format is getting a bit long in the tooth but until MS moves away from it then it's probably worth making, (and sharing!), a good soundfont for handbells. You would benefit from a decent microphone for making your samples.

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