[solved] Is working with mixer worth it?

• May 21, 2022 - 17:14

Hello! I am just a newbie experiencing his honeymoon on having bumped into this incredible software. I've retained myself several times from posting before reading the handbook several times, but it looks like there is no (or I don' see a) clear answer to my question in it. So I will dare to ask here now. Sorry if the question is too silly or is misplaced.

My question is: What is mixer really needed for? Or better: Is it only needed while one is creating the score?

What I mean is, as far as I understand, different levels of volumes that can be set up for different tracks in the mixer will only affect the playback, but they won't affect the score itself. In other words, if I want those settings to be reflected on the score I would still have to do it by using different dynamics notations. Am I right?

If so, than better just not even open the mixer and start adjusting different parts' volumes by using the notation on the score. Otherwise, you will be disappointed when, say, you finally upload the score to Musescore website - only to discover later that the volume levels in your printed and uploaded piece are way off!

Besides, there are also some features on the mixer that cannot be possibly reflected on the score - the panning, the reverb and, probably, the chorus. If you spend a lot of time setting up those for different parts of your piece during the process of creation (and multiple playbacks), the disappointment later will be all the more great!

Is my understanding here correct? Can somebody, please, explain?


I don't use the mixer to set levels unless the instrument is too soft in general. The mixer can solo or mute tracks during playback if you want to check just one or a few staves. You're correct. It's mostly for playback. Not for producing a score for real players. It is important for playback so that we can hear how things blend in our compositions. We can test that we put something close to the correct dynamic (for example) in a particular place.

You should indeed start by adding the dynamics you want. But, if you find that the trombone is consistently too loud relative to the trumpet (or whatever) even when adding what should be the right dynamics, the mixer is how you fine-tune the relative levels. it's also how you would temporarily silence the strings, or temporarily solo the harp, etc, to help you hear the parts while you are composing.

Panning isn't something that appears on the score, but it's relevant if you are trying to get the playback to mimic how a real orchestra might sound when set up on a large stage - violins to the left, basses to the right, etc.

Changes you make in the mixer are preserved when you upload to musescore.com or otherwise share your score. They just won't appear on the parts when you print them, which is why you definitely want to start by getting the dynamics right.

What is mixer really needed for? Or better: Is it only needed while one is creating the score?

Welcome aboard...
More info.:
The mixer offers choices like "Grand Piano", "Mellow Grand Piano", "Bright Grand Piano", etc. with which you can experiment to select a sound you may prefer, especially if you are exporting to an audio format like .mp3 or .wav.and are looking for a sound to fit the style of music. (Also, instrument sound, panning, reverb, etc. are permanently locked into an audio score.)

Furthermore, for more instrument choices, you can install other soundfonts.
That's where the mixer and synthesizer also come into play.

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