Metronome SoundFont (CC0)

• Apr 24, 2021 - 03:38

I’ve tracked down the origins of the metronome clicks used in MuseScore and talked with Paul Davis, who generated them for Ardour, from which it made its way into mu͒2 via MusE.

You can download it from: http://www.mirbsd.org/~tg/soundfont/

To use the soundfont, add it to the Mixer (but make sure it’s below the other soundfonts to not mess up their order!) and then either add an unpitched percussion stave (the Wood Blocks instrument in MuseScore is set up correctly for this) or a pitched regular stave (or reuse one; I used a mid-stave instrument change to put the “count in” clicks on the Soprano stave).

Now switch the patch for the chosen instrument in the Mixer (F10) to “Metronom”, which is from the new SoundFont. Leave its volume at 100, which is only a tad louder than MuseScore’s clicks but makes it easier to distinguish the stressed mid-measure beat.

Then place a note on each beat:

  • “tick”, E₅ or High Woodblock on the downbeat (first beat in a measure)
  • “tack”, F₅ or Low Woodblock on all other beats

Using a 4/4 time signature as example, this means four quarter notes: tick tack tack tack

(Yes, the “high” one has a lower MIDI note number than the “low” one. I did this to make reusing the existing instrument, which does it this way around, possible.) When reusing a pitched stave, the F₅ might need a ♮ accidental if you’re in a sharp key signature, mind. (Using other pitches than the two shown above will not generate any sound!)

Now select all the metronome notes and open up Inspector (F8). Set the Velocity type to “User” (in order to use absolute velocities) and the Velocity to 127 at first. Then select only the unstressed beats (in a 4/4 time signature, that’s the second and fouth note, both “tack”) and change their Velocity to 80. This is, again, exactly what mu͒ itself does. (Use velocity 25 for compound subbeat, 15 for subbeat. Maybe someone who knows TimeSigFrac::rtick2beatType well can explain what this really means. I think I get it, but it’s not something I’ve encountered yet.)

The weblog entry at http://www.mirbsd.org/permalinks/wlog2020_e20210424.htm has further information, including a picture and a table!

This should fix https://musescore.org/en/node/154666

Cross-link to https://www.polyphone-soundfonts.com/documents/22-unpitched-percussion/… for the listing at the Polyphone soundfont directory.

The “downbeat” name doesn’t cover other musical traditions, according to Paul Davis, but I took it from the MuseScore sources so we have a connection to the code. Please feel free to use this with any kinds of musical traditions, the “tick” is just a little more distinguished than the “tack”, so a stressed-emphasised beat, as opposed to stressed-unemphasised or unstressed-unemphasised.


Comments

For implementing this in the MuseScore_General SoundFont, I propose the following bank:preset configurations:

  • Melodic: 010:115 Metronome - Would fall back to 000:115 Woodblock if somebody is using a different GM SoundFont.
  • Percussion: 128:55 Metronome - Would fall back to 127:48 Orchestra Kit if somebody is using a different GM SoundFont.

I'd also like to add the MuseScore Drumline Library metronome sounds in those presets on MIDI keys 33 & 34 (matching the usual GM drum kit metronome notes) for anybody who wants to use a drumline-style metronome sound instead. If we ever want to add additional metronome sounds, they could all be placed on different keys within these two presets.

Any thoughts?

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