Strings Mute

• Dec 12, 2021 - 17:44

I dont know if this is a bug but i will mention it anyway to see if someone says me too.

Last week i was able to change the strings texture from Arco to Pizz to Trem and importantly Muted.

Today i seem to have a different set of stave actions and mute has been replaced by a new midi action called Chord Symbol. Now as a viola player I know that the mute sign for this instrument is either the word mute or a + about the note.

however none of these work anymore for muting a string instrument.


Anyone know what is happening here with the software developers as well.


The chord symbol channel is available if the staff has chord symbols, it's there so you can independently control the playback of those. Not really relevant for you at the moment, but that's what it is there for.

Anyhow, I'm not sure what you are remembering - maybe you are thinking of brass instruments? - but stringed instruments have never had a "mute" channel. Unless perhaps you created a custom instruments.xml file with customized stringed instruments. If so, be sure to use your custom instruments in your score rather than the standard ones. And also note there is no sound for muted strings in the General MIDI standard, so you'd need to have a specialty soundfont loaded to get that playback effect.

It's also possible I guess that you are actually just thinking of the ability to mute the entire channel in the Mixer. That hasn't gone anywhere, but you don't access that from staff text properties - it's in the View menu.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Ok last week in strings I was able to mute strings ie with the muffled sound.

This week mute is missing.

In stave text if you right click I think edit and a menu pops up as in the screen capture.

In the first tab you select the colour of the notes ie if the notes are in blue then highlight number one. If green then 2 etc…..

Next select midi action.

In this screen you then select the action you want. So if in the first menu you selected pizzicato then on the second menu you select pizzicato then appl6 and go back the first tab to make sure it has been set. Then press ok. When you playback you get pizzicato sound from the strings. The original selections were Arco (bowed), Pizzicato (plucked) and then mute. The selections have changed since last week because I did use mutes on my strings because they sounded to harsh and that worked.

In reply to by dreece1

As I said, MuseScore has never had had a "mute" channel for strings. If you saw one last week, it must be that you created a custom instrument. Or maybe you were editing a score created by someone else that had already done so. But also, there is no sound or muted strings in the General MIDI standard, so if you are suggesting that it actually sounded different, then you must also have been using a non=standard soundfont. Do you remember which one?

In any case, mutes on strings are not a common thing, which is why neither the General MIDI standard nor MuseScore have any direct support for this built in. And relatively few string players will actually own or carry a mute. If you simply wish a different string sound for playback but don't wish to insist your string players purchase an actual mute and install it and use it when playing your score, much better to simply try some of the other strings sounds within the default soundfont (eg, the "slow" variants), or try a different soundfont entirely (see Handbook under Soundfonts for more info).

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Ok, I know this is a super old comment but I just happened to come across it while searching for something - what do you mean "In any case, mutes on strings are not a common thing, which is why neither the General MIDI standard nor MuseScore have any direct support for this built in. And relatively few string players will actually own or carry a mute."?
Because orchestral string players are certainly expected to all own mutes and they're called for quite often - that General MIDI doesn't have any capacity to represent this is purely a failing of General MIDI (just as it can't distinguish pizzicato on different string instruments, or solo vs sections. Nor does it have separate programs for Muted Horn or Muted Trombone vs Muted Trumpet).

In reply to by Dylan Nicholson1

Yes, and orchestral players are but a subset of all string players. Anyhow, the point is, string mutes are definitely far less common in usage than brass mutes, which is why muted strings sounds aren’t part of General MIDI. And trumpet mutes are more common than mutes on other brass, which is why only trumpet did make the list. When you only have 128 sounds to work with to cover a broad spectrum of orchestral, chamber, choral, jazz, pop, ethnic, and electronic music sounds, you need to make hard choices.

In reply to by Dylan Nicholson1

When the MIDI spec itself only gives you seven bits to work with for program change messages, the GM folks had little choice but to limit to 128 presets. Luckily there is - finally, decades later - MIDI 2.0, and the framework for expanding on this. Not that MuseScore need be limited by MIDI at all now that it supports Muse Sounds and VSTi.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Well perhaps, but being able to export a file that uses, say, muted strings, in a way that's likely to be understood by other software etc. is surely beneficial (and further, at least with the bit of code I'm working with, GM program numbers seem to be all that are available for defining how playback techniques can affect playback). Didn't know about MIDI 2.0 - wonder how soon before it's widely adopted...

In reply to by Dylan Nicholson1

Of course it would be nice if things had gone differently back in the 1980’s and MIDI had been been defined with two data bytes per message instead of just one, or at least if the spec had allowed for the option so as to keep the original serial data stream efficient for low-latency real-time control but allow for larger data structures when the idea of actually storing MIDI data and processing it offline came along later. It would be nice if the synths for which GM was designed had more sample ROM to be able to store enough sounds to make use of a wider palette of sounds so that GM would have been based on that larger palette instead of the palette that was actually in common use at the time. And so on.

But my point here wasn’t to discuss how I think things could have gone in an ideal world - just to explain how they are and the factors that led us here.

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