Spatial playback and panning

• Oct 23, 2020 - 22:49

I just downloaded a score which someone else has arranged. I downloaded it in midi form, and imported it into a DAW. It was the String Quartet in A minor WOODWIND by Joelito 1980 - 2nd movement - really nice - as arranged by Georg Pfeifer - really nice piece and arrangement.

What I'm curious about is how the spatial effects were created in Musescore - the instruments are clearly panned left and right. I can't see how that can be done in Musescore, though of course the Midi version could have been produced in a separate software tool based on the Musescore file, and panned for example in a DAW.


In reply to by jeetee

OK - I see.

Does that mean that some users generate multiple versions when they upload? For example a Musescore file with the score, plus a "rendered" midi file generated with the (presumably) embedded pan and other controls set from the player? If you want to check against my example it's Joelito1980 String Qurtet - wind version - 2nd movement.

Maybe some users even generate different (i.e. not all based on the base Musescore) files for each of the following:

  1. Musescore base file
  2. Midi file
  3. mp3 audio
  4. Flac audio
  5. Other format files.

In reply to by dave2020X

If by upload you mean share on then all they can do is send along their local playback (which is an mp3 export).
All the other download formats are generated on the server, based on the uploaded mscz file.

Side note: MIDI contains no sound information as in, no waveforms/audio. It is a playback instruction format, and the resulting sound is entirely dependent on the software and libraries used to play it back.

In reply to by jeetee

I think, from experimentation - and I may be wrong here - that the panning and individual volume settings for each instrument are actually stored somehow in the mscz file - but there is no notation in the actual score to indicate relative levels or spatial orientation. This does seem to be consistent with my experimentation so far, though.

It would be helpful if the documentation could make this clear. Essentially the playback is formed by regenerating the sounds based on the notes and virtual instruments set in the score part of the Musescore file AND ALSO based on the settings of the last mixer configuration. That's how I see it anyway.

A music creator can make a score, and also a rendition of that score using the mixer, and then save the result as a file. If the file is then used again, or downloaded and used by someone else, the rendition will be as it was based on the last mixer setting. However, a new editor can change the previous settings - the relative loundness levels, the pan setting for each stave/instrument and maybe a few other factors.

In reply to by jeetee

Regarding Midi there must surely be some spatial (panning) information encoded and stored in the Midi files.
I have now tested this with Musescore, the Mixer and two different DAWS. I use a Macbook Pro running Macos. It's easy to test - just generate a piece with about four lines - and different instruments. Put one breve for the first instrument in the first bar, then another for the second in the second bar and so on. At the end repeat.

Then use the Mixer in Musescore to pan the instruments to left, right front, or where you will..
I think you'll agree that works.

Then export the file as Midi. In the latest version of Macos even the Preview of the Midi file delivers the panned spatial effects. The tracks can also be imported into DAWS . On the last occasion I used Garageband and LMMS, and when inspected in those DAWS it is clear to see the Left/Right panning has been retained for each track.

Pesonally I'd like some coding text for spatial effects like this to be at the Musescore level (example : Left, Right L 20 degrees, Front, R75 degrees) , rather than in the Mixer, but at least it shows it's possible.

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