Available instruments between mixer and dialogs

• Jun 25, 2015 - 17:45

Can someone explain to me the fact that the instruments seemingly available in the mixer, with the default sound font, or any sound font, do not correspond to the instruments in Staff Properties or Edit Instruments, and why this is good? I always want "Pan Pipes" (read "continuo organ") but I have to choose "violin" or some other treble instrument and then "get what I want in the mixer". What is the deal here, and what parameters are there for customizing it?



The Mixer shows all sounds the active SoundFonts have to offer. in a full GM SoundFont that is a maximum of 128 sounds.
The Instruments dialog has all(most all) Instruments you can possibly think of, with their name, appreviation, (preferred) clef, string data, range and transpositioning info, and there is a mapping between those instruments and the corresponding sounds, but this is not a 1-to-1 mapping and in some cases GM just has nothing appropriate to offer.

If you want Pan Pipes, why not just select that instrument in the first place (it's actually called Pan Flute)?

If you are saying you want the instrument to be Organ but to use the *sound* of pan pipes, then you can simply set up a score that way then save it to your Templates folder. Then it wil be available every time you create a new score.

In reply to by [DELETED] 1831606

It's not listed under "Common Instruments", but should show up if you either switch to "All Instruments" or simply use the search box. (EDIT: too late :-)

As for what isntrument to start weith, if organ doesn't work, pick whatever makes sense obviously. You'd want to have the right number of staves, the right starting clefs, and the right range. If there is no perfect match now, this is all the more reaosn to create a template. That way, the customizations you make to the staff / clef / range settings would also be ready for you each time you started a score.

Editing instruments/xml is also a possibility, but it seems kind of overkill.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

There is no problem now that I have found "all the instruments." My only question is whether all these instruments from dulzians to Hammond organs to sackbuts, violones and Baroque Trumpets appear in everyone's default font and on the website font....

I never knew what I was missing; I should re-score all my scores!

In reply to by [DELETED] 1831606

Think of instruments.xml as primarily defining the *appearance* of the music for the different instruments: names to display on first and subsequent staves, number of staves, number of staff lines, starting clef, transposition information for the "concert pitch" button, range information for the playability warnings, information on how they correspond to different MusicXML isntrument definitionsetc.

It does also happen to include information on which of the standard GM sounds most closely resembles the sound for the instrument. But there are *way* more instruments in the world than standard GM sounds so indeed, when it comes to sound specifically, many will appear to be new names for old things. Again, though, specifying a sound is but one small aspect of what is specified in instruments.xml. "English horn" and "baroque oboe", for example, are very different in instruments.xml even though they happen to map to the same standard GM sound. They have different transpositions, different playable ranges, and different names for both initial and subsequent staves, plus they map to different MusicXML instruments, etc.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Yes, thanks, I am now aware of and understand all that; all those qualities, though, other than sound, are precisely controllable individually; sound/GM channel is a "whole 'nother thing". I wrote 15 lines of python to dump out

68 ['piccolo-oboe', 'oboe', "oboe-d'amore", 'baritone-oboe', 'piccolo-heckelphone', 'heckelphone', 'heckelphone-clarinet']
69 ['baroque-oboe', 'english-horn', 'tarogato', 'octavin']
70 ['bassoon', 'contrabassoon', 'reed-contrabass']
71 ['duduk', 'f-duduk', 'e-duduk', 'd-duduk', 'c-duduk', 'b-duduk', 'bb-duduk',

etc., and this gives me all the info I need to explore the GM space usefully. Thanks!

In reply to by [DELETED] 1831606

Sound is controllable individually as well - that is exactly what the mixer does. Changing the sound from 68 to 69 in the mixer is no different from changing the transposition from "Major second down" to "Major sixth down" in staff properties, really. It's just one of the things that is set for a staff initially via instruments.xml but can be overridden, no different from number of staves, initial clef, transposition, etc. Maybe that's obvious, but somehow, it doesn't seem a "whole 'nother thing" at all to me.

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