Change instrument sound in Musescore 4

• Dec 18, 2022 - 05:17

The new mixer allows you to change the soundfont for the instrument, but unlike in Musescore 3, you can't change the specific sound for the instrument. In Musescore 3, you would choose all the soundfonts you want to be used in the score, then you'd select the specific sound for the instrument, but now in v4, you can only assign an entire soundfont to an instrument if that makes sense. For example, the piano tracks I used to have assigned to various synthesizers and saw waves is now locked to just piano. If there's a way to change this, I still can't find it.


It looks like they now have distortion, overdrive, and all that built in now, it would still be nice to have access to individual tones though. Also kinda related, palm mutes lines are glitchy, they like to continue to mute the next note when it shouldn't be, and no matter how you mute, you can no longer achieve a distorted mute tone like with Musescore 3.

The ability to select other patches from Soundfonts directly from the mixer will be restored in a future update.
In the meantime you could resort to a free VST such as Sforzando or Sfizz to load your preferred soundfont patch that way.

In reply to by Dylan Chope

You should expect to wait for it until it's ready ;-)

I'm not certain it'll be in the very first bugfix releases already, given that there are a few more critical things to address first (crashes etc..). And I would not expect such a first 4.0.1 before the end of January as many of the team will be on holidays over the coming weeks.

What I did was, I used the instrument sound I wanted instead, and then I replaced the names and abbreviations, and adjusted the usable pitch range to match the instruments I was using.

Is there a way to tweak the timbre on an instrument? I’d just like the piano and voice to have a cleaner sound. The piano almost sounds like it has pedal. I’m not doing complicated scores, just one voice and piano at this point. In general, I’m finding 4 easy to learn, but some things seem to be missing or confusing.

In reply to by jbkerman

I'm assuming this is the same thing I've been having. From V3 I've already had over a dozen soundfonts installed, so if I want a different sound or timbre for an instrument I just select a different soundfont or VST. For now, unless you revert back to V3 it looks like you'll have to download another soundfont if you don't like the way any of the ones you already have sound.

This issue is all over the Musescore Forum and Issue Tracker, for example:

Can't change instrument through mixer/panel? (M4)

MuseScore 4 Soundfonts

How do I change a specific MIDI sound?

Change instrument sound in Musescore 4

Cannot specify a custom Program/Bank in the Mixer

Inability to chose specific sounds from Musescore Basic & SOundfonts

Problem for me too, so I'm adding in my vote to fix this as soon as possible. I constantly work with soundfonts and changing instrument sounds for my videogame composing and transcribing, so the lack of support for it in MS4 is a deal-breaker for me. I can't even consider using MS4 until this is fixed, so I'm sticking to MS3 for the forseeable.

In reply to by FinnStrike

This is expected to be addressed in 4.1, due out in a couple of months. Note that meanwhile you can simply split the soundfont into separate sounds, and/or use VST and Msue Sounds. Really, the capabilities go far beyond what was in MU3 already, but with 4.1, it will be that much more so.

In reply to by wieke.vangerwen

Yes, this is exactly as I said - those notes are too low for an oboe to play. That is why there are no recordings for them in Muse Sounds - the player they hired to record the sounds would have been physically unable to play those notes. Oboe is just not a good choice for tenor parts - try bassoon or some other instrument capable of playing notes further below middle C.

Just another user who relied on this heavily in MS3 and bummed it's not present (at present) in MS4.
I write simple 3- and 4-part vocal arrangements for my band.
The sounds associated with the Voice Instruments (Tenor, Baritone, Bass, etc.) are too choir-like for my taste, and have way too much reverb. I need timbrally distinct, clean single lines, so I used to substitute a variety of woodwind or brass sounds. In MS 4, if I select a transposing instrument (say, a Bb Clarinet), MS applies the appropriate key signature to make things harmonize with the Concert instruments -- but that confuses my singers.
I just want to be able to use the SOUND of an Instrument, without necessarily using the Instrument itself.

Hoping that more comments might put this higher on the staff priority list :') but yes I miss being able to change the specific instrument sound (Not talking about soundfont but like let's say putting a cello sound in a track that says vocal etc.) I will probably be staying in Musescore 3 for the meantime just because I need this feature.

I'm very much missing this function as well!
The choir voices are not very articulated and makes it quite hard to compose for a capella!
Was looking forward to the summer update and disappointed when I found this had not been included :(

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

This looks useful, thanks for posting this here. My system is currently too old for Muse Sounds, so this seems to be a decent option. But I am curious if there is a way of making specific sounds always be chosen by default? Aka, everytime I want a choir part, I always want choir oohs rather than choir ahhs. I'm having issues finding if this is a thing (best I can tell it isn't unless you use a new soundfont you're happy with or perhaps make a custom soundfont), and I really want it to be a thing considering how often I make scores with choir parts - I'd like to put an end to needing to change every part on every new score I make.
Thanks for all your hard work on the program!

So I just tested the latest development build of MuseScore 4.2 and I am thrilled!
Finally I can use my soundfonts with many different instruments and sounds (in this case Stefans Cathedral Pipe Organ.sf2).
Bold thanks to the programmers, you are my heros!

it seems like the only way around this is choosing the instrument you want the voice to sound like (i.e. I want my Alto voice to sound like the piano just so it doesn't sound so scary), and then renaming the voice part in the instrument section. so I would choose to re-name the piano Alto, so the score still looks like SATB, but doesn't have the scary voice

In reply to by inceangela200

Or simply choose the piano from Muse Sounds. Or any piano soundfont, including any of the ones from my "individual sounds" version of MS Basic. Or a VST piano. Or use the free VST "sforzando" to select the sound. Many ways to get a piano sound for your choral staves without resorting to what you describe.

Hooray for MuseScore 4.2 which addressed this issue nicely. Well done. Now, of course, I desire another change. offers the following option for voice sounds:
"The main technology is named Virtual Singer (VS), as lyrics are also "sung" by electronically-synthesized human voices. " See
Although it doesn't sound much like singing, the words are there and it's quite useful when learning a vocal part.
Unfortunately, Virtual Singer is not GPL licensed and so can't be shipped with MuseScore. Does anyone know of a similar GPL code that could be used to allow MuseScore to "sing" lyrics?

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.