MuseScore 4 - Make it the Film Scoring Release

• Mar 7, 2021 - 23:07

It's not a secret that movies are one of the biggest homes for orchestral music these days. Having seen the amazing planned features for the next major release, MuseScore 4, I thought I'd write up a post to find who's like-minded and to collect some feature ideas only related to this specific use case.

Being not professional, but having worked with Dorico, Cubase, Sibelius Pro, Notion and Ardour, I still always come back to the friendly free MuseScore - the nice boy you wanna play with amongst all those serious adults. And in a time where Alan Silvestri states he manually exports his scores from Dorico (Steinberg Notation Software) and manually imports them into Cubase (Steinberg Digital Audio Workstation) for proper editing, I think with MuseScore's simplicity approach, together with the newly planned killer features like VST support, there's a real place out there for MuseScore for every kind of professionalism.

So, here's a list of some features that came to my mind:

  • VST-Support (already planned)
  • LV2-Support (quite important for staying Open-Source-friendly)
  • Video + Video's Audio playback & sync (built-in, not requiring JACK etc. and with support for the audio stream of the video)
  • MuseScore General Soundfont as a LV2/VST plugin (making the features mentioned henceforth just possible)
  • Expression Curves (already planned afaict, I don't know how to make them play well with the dynamics though)
  • realistic Tremolos, Vibratos etc. (via the aforementioned VST plugin)
  • smooth Glissandos across large-ish intervals (technically not impossible in MuseScore 3 by manually creating a lot of pitch bends and gluing them together, so just a question of implementation - sounds like a good job for the aforementioned VST plugin, and in fact even the cheaper paid instrument plugins don't support them - let's beat them)
  • real Cymbal and drum rolls out of the box
  • a filter/fx system (already planned afaict)
  • a filter where you just choose a room type (i.e. "Concert Hall" or "Recording Studio") and then get a 2d-space where you can position your instruments, just like in a real orchestra. Essentially a plugin that takes into account: reverb, panning and a few hundred more complex physical laws - well, it's just a sketch of an idea though and not at all that necessary to make good orchestrations

I guess I've missed some features, so feel free to add your ideas. I'm really thankful for the work and commitment, the MuseScore developers have shown in all these years. If you find the time to implement any of those features, that'd be wonderful.

I'm looking forward to the release of MuseScore 4.0, aka. MuseScore NT ;) . Best,

(P.S.: I built some not-so-performant but still quite usable Video+Audio player which plays in sync with MuseScore via JACK. I was able to score some short film with it. So if anyone's interested, feel free to tell me who's your favorite composer and that you'd like to use it :) )


Lots of food for thought here.

I think that glissando support is quite well handled as of the most recent stable release. Once the glissando has been inserted, the inspector gives you an impressive range of controls over the playback of the effect. You can select chromatic, white keys, black keys, diatonic or portamento, and adjust the ease in/ease out of the playback as well. Quite impressive, actually.

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