No Playback on Mac OS

• Feb 11, 2021 - 23:44

I have tried installing both 3.5 and 3.6.2 in Mac OS Big Sur. I cannot get either version to playback any score. I believe I had playback in 3.5 under Mac OS Catalina but don't have it now. The Sound Font folder is empty and the Synthysizer is greyed out under View in Musescore.

Any suggestions for a fix or a work around?


In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I have gone through the fixing playback not working. In digging through that, I found the option to install the HQ sound font Extensions, which I did. Unfortunately, as I mentioned initially, Synthesizer and Mixer are greyed out in Musescore. I've made sure the stock sound file is installed. This is a brand new installation of 3.5 (I reverted back trying to figure out the issue.) Since this is a Mac, there are no sound card drivers to mess with and all other sounds on the computer work fine, including a full DAW program. I have no options under the I/O settings and other than making sure Mac's stock Midi driver is turned on, no way to change any of that. As I said, I believe everything was working correctly under Mac OS Sierra but the issues started with Big Sur (which is only a 64bit OS.)

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Just tried the PRAM reset and it had no effect. Question: Does Musescore require a Midi setup to output the sound? When I check the I/O settings, there are no options in the dropdowns for the Midi settings but the JACK options are active. I don't have an external Midi device and don't plan on using one.

In reply to by Mark Kelly 3

No, you don't need any special hardware or software, normally it just works. But my guess is, since you mention having a DAW program installed, something else has requested exclusive use of your sound driver. Try shutting everything else down. There might also be some background process that is doing it, so maybe see if one of those other programs has any option to prevent it from starting in the background. I recall this having turned out to be the issue in one or two of the previous reports over the years.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I did some research and found there is a way to kill and restart the audio interface on Mac. For future reference, in Terminal type sudo killall coreaudiod and hit enter. You'll be prompted for the user password and then the operation is complete. I did this and then started Musescore before opening any other programs that might have a sound component and found I still have the issue. If my DAW, which is Logic Pro, was grabbing the sound interface, killing it should have taken care of that.

New question: On Mac, files get installed into the user's documents folder. One of the folders created in this operation is SoundFonts, which in my case is empty. Should the default sound fonts be in this folder?

In reply to by Mark Kelly 3

That was indeed a good thing to try. But, I suspect there are other relevant audio processes and resources involved. Same approach would probably eventually get you there, but you'd need to know every possible process and driver and how to safely kill/restart them all.

BTW, I assume after the killall you did something else to actually restart the audio?

Additional Information:

I also run a Musescore in a Windows 10 environment. I upgraded to 3.6.2 and have not had any sound issues. When I started Musescore in Windows 10, I noted that the start up splash screen's first item was to load the Sound Fonts - which took roughly 45 seconds. Once that completed there were some other items that quickly flashed by and the program completed loading.

I tried the same thing on my Mac installation but never got a splash screen message saying Sound Fonts were loading. There were other items on the splash screen, but the Sound Fonts one didn't occur. Is there some setting or other way to force the sound fonts to load to see if this fixes the issue?

Is there a hash value (MD5 or SHA1) available for the Mac install file? With that I could at least verify a valid download and make sure the file isn't corrupting somewhere along the line.

In reply to by Mark Kelly 3

Well, if your synthesizer isn't working, then soundfonts wouldn't be loaded, so I'd say you have the cause and effect backwards there.

I'd say there is an almost 0% chance that the problem has to do with a bad install, and an almost 100% chance it's a conflict with some hardware, driver, other software on your particular system. There is almost no way it could be otherwise. Not sure what that suggests except maybe uninstalling things one by one, rebooting, and testing again after each step.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I know that some software has the ability to generate verbose logging to try and track down bugs or other issues. Is there such a capability for Musescore? I tried connecting my Mac to a digital piano with MIDI output/input but could not get the input to work with Musescore (although the same setup works with Logic Pro.) I also checked the I/O Preferences but found that Musescore apparently did not recognize the MIDI device attached. I'd really like to get this to work on the Mac, but since every other piece of software I use with a sound component works, I don't think the issues lie with hardware or software on my computer. I think it would be helpful to see in a log format what Musescore does when it loads.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I ran Musescore from the command line and generated a debug output. I will attach the full content below but I will paste here what I think is the relevant section that refers to PortAudio. I have no idea how to interpret it all but it does refer to an error on line 1263 twice. I know I have audio drivers installed or my sound wouldn't work for everything else. Is this information helpful in trying to identify the issue?

Relevant text from debug:
using PortAudio Version: PortAudio V19.6.0-devel, revision 396fe4b6699ae929d3a685b3ef8a7e97396139a4
No device selected. PortAudio detected 4 devices. Will use the default device (index 1).
||PaMacCore (AUHAL)|| Failed to open AUHAL component.||PaMacCore (AUHAL)|| Error on line 1263: err='-50', msg=Unknown Error
||PaMacCore (AUHAL)|| Failed to open AUHAL component.||PaMacCore (AUHAL)|| Error on line 1263: err='-50', msg=Unknown Error
Portaudio open stream 1 failed: Internal PortAudio error
init PortAudio failed
Portaudio close stream failed: Invalid stream pointer
no audio driver found

Musescore Debug Output 02162021.txt

In reply to by Mark Kelly 3

That definitely seems useful! But, I don't see "Failed to open AUHAL component" anywhere in the MuseScore source code, I think that probably comes from PortAudio itself. A Google search on that error messages turned up the following, among others:

So it seems this is a thing, but I don't understand most of what I see there, so I'm not sure what to advise except keep pursuing this path.


I spent some time on the phone with Apple today and ended up resolving my issue. After the reference to Audacity from Marc, I installed it on my system and had the same problem with it not playing or recording. One suggestion was to create a new user account and try the programs. Musescore and Audacity both ran perfectly under the new account.

Going through a process of elimination, I found two applications were running on start up. Not recognizing them, we disabled them from running and restarted. On restart, both Musescore and Audacity run under my normal account without any issues.

This might be a step to add to your FAQ in troubleshooting, probably for both Mac and Windows.

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

The problem was traced to software from Native Instruments, Komplete Kontrol. The installer for that software installs two agents to run at system startup: NIHostIntegrationAgent and NIHardwareAgent. I've communicated with Native Instruments and they confirm that these two agents apparently handle communications between their software, the system hardware and the DAW software.

I have submitted a bug report to Native Instruments as I believe their software shouldn't seize control of a system to the point that it prevents other software packages from running. My suggestion to add this step to the FAQ was to hopefully provide a step to identify any other software that might be in conflict with Musescore since it does seem to be a somewhat common issue of no sound with Musescore.

After reading through the Audacity thread linked by Mark Sabatella, I was able to fix my issue by deleting Plug-In components in my /Library/Audio and ~/Library/Audio directories.

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