Straight Mutes

• Oct 7, 2020 - 18:50

I was thinking... could we standardize straight mutes for trumpets and trombones instead of keeping Harmon as the standard one? I got some reasons why, even if you don't find them enough, I'll mention them:

  1. Straight mutes usually are more used in orchestras than Harmon mutes. Straight mutes have been used in many 20th century orchestral works and other band works (not sure about the latter one but I think so) and could also be used in Jazz or any other kind of music too. Harmon mutes are only (if not only then mostly) in Jazz bands.

  2. I'm not sure about this one: I get the feeling that people will continue developing Harmon mute soundfonts if we standardize something else. While, if we keep Harmon as the standard, I don't think people could develop any other types of mutes... Basically the opposite is less likely (in my opinion). Right now there are already countless Harmon mute soundfonts for both trumpets and trombones, while I, personally, couldn't find more than 3 straight mute sounds, 2 of which were sfz's and didn't work for the whole range of the trumpet, plus there weren't any trombone ones. Those are my results, perhaps others have found decent ones, not sure.

    Well, it's weird that I don't see many straight mute soundfonts... they should be more common right? Or am I wrong? What do you think?

    (Could be cool if we had straight mutes for all brass instruments... but MIDI doesn't allow that :'( EEK)


In reply to by Iothes

Well, nobody is interested in these types of issues. And many people find it unnecessary to spend time on such things. But because of these kinds of issues, I often lost sleep for months. In addition, I have done many studies on this subject, some of which yielded results and some were inconclusive and took a lot of time. And this topic is of special interest to me. Since you have also thought about these things and are showing interest, therefore I owe you an answer (I do not know how well this answer will be useful to you).

I have some personal works on this subject.
Scope: Audio editing operations that can be done to obtain all types of muting from existing open-tone wav sources.
But frequency calculations and / or equalization processes are very time consuming. For this reason, it progresses slowly. And when it's done, there is no other way than to process the samples one by one.

When I want to create them virtually, the timbre of the sound decreases. And creating them is not a quick process.

As for mute patches, there is no MIDI standardization, everyone invent and use a system of their own.
But a standard specific to Musescore can be created:
For example:
1. Sub-bank set numbers can be added under existing patches. // For example, sub bank numbers between 068-075 can be used. eg: 68 Normal mute, 69 Hand mute, 70 Harmon mute, etc ...
2. All sub-banks can be placed under the Mute Trumpet patch in sets of eight or ten. // eg: 1-8 trumpet mutes, 9-16 Horn mutes, 17-24 Trombone mutes, etc ...

However, I added a demo trombone soundfont that I created entirely on the computer (since it is a demo it uses only one sample for the entire range). This soundfont does not have a special Instruments.xml so you can test it by simply changing the sounds from the mixer. And the timbre is not of high quality, since the frequencies are visually selected from FFT, the parameters are entered manually and the sine-waves are combined one by one. And when combining sine-waves it is difficult to get higher than 4096 Hz. That's why the Quality is low. It was created for experimental purposes only.

Attachment Size 302.5 KB

I would be glad if, if not the default musescore soundfont includes such mutes then, other people could try making some... I would do it but yeeeeee. Needs a whole studio.

As explained previously, MuseScore uses the General MIDI standard for soundfonts, and it currently defines only a single muted sound, which is by convention taken to be harmon, and harmon is far more commonly used in music created today.

If you want future versions of the MIDI standard to call for more specific mute sounds, you really need to focus your efforts there. MsueScore will then follow suit automatically without question. Not that we wouldn't consider inventing our own standard someday, but that's a much harder battle than convincing the people who are actually in charge of inventing this standard to do it.

In reply to by Iothes

I suggested you contact the people who are responsible for defining the new MIDI 2.0 standard. Nothing about that suggestion has changed in any way. They are the only people who can do anything about it. Not sure who might have suggested you not do that, but if someone told you to stop, they were wrong.

Now, in addition to actually trying to make a difference, you can commiserate here with other fellow users of that standard all you want. But if you want to actually change the standard to add these other mutes, you need to direct the majority of your efforts to making that happen directly by making your case to the developers of that standard.

In reply to by Iothes

Well, that's probably the right organization, but a message to some sort of generic address there probably was never seen by a human, so no surprise you got no response. You need to actually go to the site, read up on the organization, figure out who the key people are and where they are accepting suggestions. Presumably there are some forums on that site or some other site they link to where these sorts of standardization discussions take place. You should take part in whatever discussions they have set up, not send emails to random addresses. I don't know what the proper channels are; you need to do your own research on this.

Anyhow, once you find the appropriate place to engage in the discussions, you can suggest whatever you want, but I would assume thing you would want is a handful of different muted sounds included in whatever the next generation of the General MIDI standard.

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