Import MIDI file AND retain note velocities

• Dec 4, 2020 - 14:41

I have an "accompaniment" arrangement open in the first tab. I.e., there's a staff at the top of the arrangement awaiting a solo voice, to be imported from a MIDI file. I've been unable to successfully do this AND retain the note velocities from the original MIDI file.

1) I went to File>Open menu and selected the MIDI file.
2) MIDI file successfully opened into a second tab. Note velocities appeared at first listening to be correct, matching the original file.
3) Set Quantization to the finest possible resolution.
4) Copied and pasted solo voice from second tab, into the awaiting staff in the 1st tab, so that it could take it's place as the solo voice sitting on top of the overall accompaniment.
5) MuseScore now ignores, and seems to have normalized, the original note velocities from the original MIDI file and indeed, from the second tab from whence I copied it. By "normalized", I specifically mean that very quiet passages, even though they still played quietly in the second tab, are now normal volume in the first tab containing the overall arrangement.

Is this a standard behavior of MuseScore? Does it strip out note velocities when you copy and paste a MIDI solo using the clipboard? Any comments on what to do about this? This is not something that can just be fixed manually, after the paste into the first tab, because the composition is almost 10,000 bars long!

Thanks for any comments.


No, copy/paste normally retains velocity info. In order to investigate why this isn't working in your particular case, we'd need you to attach the specific MIDI file and give us precise steps to reproduce the problem.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

To my utter amazement, I was indeed able to replicate the problem just now. The steps are exactly as I described, except I neglected to mention that the "solo" is being taken from a "piano" staff in the 2nd tab, to a "Bb clarinet" staff in the 1st tab. Have no idea if or why such a small detail should make a difference, but as a matter of due diligence I am mentioning it.

I did go back and doublecheck the 2nd tab, and the silent notes (MIDI velocity = 1) are showing on the staff and are indeed still silent, while in the 1st tab they play at a normal level. Yes, to set the record straight, for various reasons it is my intent to have notes appear on the staff that don't audibly sound. Hence, for the silent notes I'm using a noteon event with a MIDI velocity of 1, instead of 0 which presumably would cause a noteoff event and disappear the note from the staff--which is what I don't want.

Please let me know if any of the above gives you a further hint as to what is wrong.

Of course, you would like to examine the files, and I'm all for it. The only issue is that this is a 9600 bar composition, and each step of the trouble-shooting requires many minutes of waiting for the computer to process the whole 9600 bars. So it's rather a large and laborious job to replicate the problem, although yes of course the steps themselves are rudimentary.

So before I darken your doorway with these huge files, I will see if I can replicate the problem with files that are a tiny fraction of the size, which obviously would be easier to consider, for all concerned.

Comments so far? Thanks!

In reply to by georgezsmith

My first thought is, a possibly relevant point here is the piano versus clarinet, for one simple reason: clarinets don't use the old-style MIDI "velocity" to control volume, but instead use continuous controller messages, so they can support dynamic changes within a single note. So it could be your velocities did come over but are simply being ignored. The Inpector will show you if the velocity info is there. If you are relying on velocity to control volume and therefore don't care about single note dynamics, it should work to go to the Mixer and switch to the non-"expr" version of the clarinet sound, then it would respond to velocity. Might also help to disable single note dynamics for that instrument in Staff/Part Properties.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

THANK YOU! Changing to to non-expr clarinet sound entirely solved the problem.

I assume that unchecking the "play" property would have to be done manually per each individual note. If so, that wouldn't work for my purpose here, which is almost 10,000 bars of algorithmically composed solo. Has to be done algorithmically in the solo-generating software engine--what you're calling the "sequencer".

"Might also help to disable single note dynamics for that instrument in Staff/Part Properties."

May I assume that this is moot if the choice of non-expr clarinet seems to have entirely solved the problem?

Thanks very, very much, Marc.

In reply to by georgezsmith

Glad that worked, and thanks for the clue about the clarinet!

BTW, if the notes are all consecutive, unchecking Play is simple - select the range, click Notes in the Inspector, uncheck Play will apply to all. But also, if it's literally the whole staff, you can also simply mute it in the Inspector.

As for whether disabling SND in staff/properties is still needed, that I cannot really say - maybe it will prove relevant if you find some weirdness happening with crescendos or something. So it's worth knowing about if you encountering other issues with the velocities/dynamics on this staff.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thx for your further comments.

The silenced notes are not consecutive. They're chosen, through algorithm, at a probability of about 25% of all the notes in the extremely long composition. No requirement that they be consecutive. You might wonder: why on earth would I want to do this? Well, when we're having a beer sometime I'll walk you through it verbally, and believe me, it will all make plain old common sense to you at that time. Just laborious to explain it by typing.

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.