Realistic piano audio
Windows XP Media Edition V2002 SP3 0.9.5 2012
I've been frustrated in not being able to produce realistic piano music out of Muscscore. Recently I've taken some steps that improve the quality of piano audio (at least in my humble opinion). Here's the recipe:
1. Obtain the Audacity and Timidiy software (it's free). Substitute the TimGM6mb.sf2 sound font from Timidity for the one you presently use. The "Piano 1" option in TimGM6mb.sf2 is a sound font with all high frequency overtones (just noise to me) suppressed using a 24db/octave low-pass filter.
2. Separate the piano music into left and right hand copies. Do this by copying the original with two staves, remove the left from one copy and right from the other. Make sure that you have all the information in the copies. Give each copy EXACTLY the same tempo, and set the playback tempo in each to 100%. Set the mixer volume to maximum with no reverb. Usually you want the left hand slightly softer than the right, so make all the dynamics in the left hand one step below the right. For example, start the right at forte; the left at mezzo-forte.
3. Export the right and left hand copies as wav files. Start up Audacity and open the left hand wav file. For reasons I don't understand, wav files exported by Musescore have a very low level, so raise the level by 24db and save it as a wav file in the Audacity folder. Close the Audacity program and do the same with the right hand wav file and close Audacity.
4. Because the music exported from Musescore will play a two note chord about twice as loud as a single note (like two trumpets are twice as loud as one, right?) we need to use Audacity to reduce the dynamic spread so a six note chord doesn't overwhelm us. Start Audacity and open the right hand wav file stored in the Audacity folder. Select the file by clicking on the area beneath the volume and pan sliders. Under "Effect" select "Compressor. " In its options, start the compression at -1db (the top slider all the way to the right) and uncheck the "normalize to 0db after compression" and do the compression. Now select "Project" and "Import" the left hand wav file you stored in the Audacity folder. I don't bother with compressing the left hand. Pan the right hand wave file to 40 right; the left to 40 left (for a stereo effect) and save the project by exporting to a new file in the Audacity folder. Audacity will automatically mix the two files. I like to use a name like the original Musescore file name with "MixC" appended.
The mp3 at http://ormusic.home.comcast.net/LockAndKey.mp3 is an example done using this recipe.