[solved] What makes this portion of the classic score sound so different form the original sound of the piece?

• Jul 17, 2022 - 18:21

Here is a portion of the score of Tchaikovsky's "Dance of the Reed Pipes" from "Nutcracker" that I have downloaded from the public domain of musescore.com:


And here is the same piece (starting from the same point) on YouTube:


Please, listen to the first few measures of both sources. I have no reasons to believe that the score has any mistakes in it - it is done professionally and obviously the creator of the score knew perfectly well what he was doing. However, when I listen to that part when majority of instruments start playing (the fourth measure of the portion), not only do I sense some disbalance in volume levels, but even some wrong notes. If you listen to the same spot on the YouTube video, you don't hear anything of that and don't even get the feeling like really a lot of instruments start playing.

Why is it so? Can anyone here who is both a professional musician and a skilled Musescore user explain this to me, please?

Attachment Size
reed_pipes_bit.mscz 979.89 KB


This is all based on keeping the notation simple and the internal settings of the soundfont.
Musescore's soundfont plays dynamics on some instruments with slightly less difference. With another soundfont these differences may be extreme, while another soundfont may be more acceptable to some. But that's what's available for now.

In the Youtube video you linked: Almost all the notes are played as staccato and/or tenuto-staccato.
In addition, in held notes, brass and woodwind players adjust their volumes to each other and to the orchestra, using their experience. However, when two (or more) players (eg clarinet section) play together, the software leaves the volume as it is. however, human instrument players quickly adapt themselves to this dynamic.

Of course, there is no sign of these in the score. Because these are the details of the interpretation and the playing style.
You can bring the playing of the score closer to the actual playing using a bunch of invisible dynamics and additional articulations. So this will be your alternate score that you edit, which you will only use to play the piece.

There will be different performances according to the interpretation of the conductor who will play the orchestra. For example, maybe your "p" dynamic might point to "p". However, what the Conductor wants from the orchestra during rehearsals may be as low as the "pp" dynamic (or more quiet). There will also be Tempo (playing speed) differences.

There are indeed wrong notes in the trumpet part. Put the score in concert pitch. Compare it with the violas. G's should be sharp.
Aside from the OE font trumpet sound being blatty.
And as stated above, doubled parts in MuseScore are loud. So the accompaniment is too loud. The horns, for example.
There is no way to put a large score into MuseScore and expect it to sound real. This was written for real players. You can make MuseScore sound good by writing for it. Or changing things in the score.

In reply to by bobjp

Try this file.
I muted the 3rd and 4th horns and raised the p dynamic for the 16th notes in the trumpet and appropriate strig parts to mf. also made the trumpet notes staccato. Still needs work though. But I think you get the idea. The original poster may have had a better font than I do. Who knows, he missed the G#s.

Attachment Size
reed_pipes_bit_1.mscz 51.88 KB

In reply to by bobjp

@bobjp addressed the notation errors and added a score where he corrected them. //thanks bobjp :)

I also added how this score sounds in two different soundfonts with the same settings. As you can see, the instruments are mixed differently in both, although no mixer settings have been touched.
PS: One is not better or worse than the other; they just differ from each other.

Attachment Size
reed_pipes_bit_1-2SFs-MP3.zip 1.38 MB

In reply to by Ziya Mete Demircan

Hmmm. Can't trust drummers. This part of what I dislike about the MuseScore drum palette. Everything is all lumped together. Sibelius read the drum kit as a...drumkit, but not a cymbal. Sibelius has its own separate sounds for concert percussion. The other part of the drum palette that I dislike is...everything. I don't use it unless I have no choice.

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