Sonatina SoundFont File and Polyphone SoundFont Editor issue

• Jul 31, 2015 - 18:47

Hi, Gang!!!

Now, I could download the enormously large "Sonatina" soundfont file!!!

Now, I understand that Mark Sabatella told me, days ago: THERE IS AN STANDARD GENERAL MIDI INSTRUMENTS LIST ORDER, WHICH... IT IS BETTER TO FOLLOW. This "Sonatina" has very good sounds, but... I don't know who put them in what order!!! It is a chaotic disorder!!! Hahahahaha!!!

Anyway, it has a very good sounds, at least.

I don't know if someone had enough free time to "order" its sounds to "observe" the GM rules. It would be great!!!

BTW: Why some of the sounds from the soundfont files sound different when we play it on Polyphone soundfont editor and MuseScore? ???

Greetings & Blessings!!!



I could do it, but it will be problematic since there are two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, etc. (and only one of each in GM specifications). Let me know which sound (ensemble or solo for each woodwind and brass instrument) you want so I can put these in the GM 'spot'. The strings will be problematic, I will put the ensemble presets in the solo instrument slots since there are not many solo strings in Sonatina (if you are okay with that). There will be some trouble with percussion too, but I will work that out as I go.

Sonatina is out of order because there's no real way to order it according to GM specifications, so they just grouped all the instrument types together.

Things sound different in Polyphone because no effects are added, but in MuseScore, some effects are added.
I also could add some other public domain sounds onto it if you would like (like a better cello)

In reply to by StringContrabass

I can't speak for anyone else, but I think it would make sense to have the GM slot for clarinet et al be the standard single instrument. The section sounds could be given some other slot - preferably one that didn't conflict with whatever extra slot assignments are found in FluidR3. That way, you could have both Sonatina and FluidR3 loaded but the Sonatina sounds would simply take precedence wherever they happened to be available. Then people could take advantage of this soundfont without all the manual work currently required.

Seems someone might have done some part of this at one time?

In reply to by StringContrabass

I really like the Sonatina sounds (most of all), but the problem is about all the score we have were made following the standard instrument list order, so... none of the sound we want to hear are right into the MuseScore Mixer (of course, we have to fix it manually, instrument by instrument, not too funny).

There should be a good discussion about the General Midi list order, but it isn't a MuseScore forums issue.

And, yes, it should be another cello and trumpet solo.

I'd really want to have a group and solo sounds from all the instruments, not only strings, but, maybe, I'm asking too much?

Greetings & Blessings!!!!!!!


In reply to by jotape1960

Not all of Sonatina fits within GM specs (there are instruments in it that do not exist GM specs) this is what Marc and I were discussing above with some possible workarounds.

I am mostly done with the new file, I am working on rearranging percussion. Unfortunately, not all of the percussion will be in the finished product.

The GM specs are all over the internet, and you can find them on Wikipedia if you wish.

I can add another cello (a public domain soundfont made by Ethan Winer). I do not know of a public domain/Creative Commons licensed trumpet that I could include of a high enough quality. I made a Celeste and a Marimba Soundfont a while ago, I could also include those (neither instrument is in Sonatina) if you want.

In reply to by StringContrabass

Are you aware that General MIDI Level 2 allows the creation of sound variations using Banks?

The MuseScore 2 default soundfont - FLuidR3Mono - is GM 2 compliant, having instrument variations in separate banks, and the Mixer fully supports this, albeit in a somewhat arcane manner :)

I would suggest that this is the way forward for you.


In reply to by StringContrabass

Oh, it would be so nice!!!

Thanks you so much for your time!!!

BTW: I use the "GeneralUser GS MuseScore v1.442.sf2" because (at least in my PC) it is from I've got the most natural sounds. "Sonatina" has better sounds, but brass and cello (and the issue about the instruments order). GeneralUser has the same "unnatural" brass sounds, too (I don't know why those instruments are so difficult to get a good natural sound). The worst thing GeneralUser has are the percussion banks!!! But, not because the sounds itself, it is about the volume (power level) of each instrument. I've been trying to fix it, with Polyphone, but I've got... Nothing!!! I have to study and learn more about Polyphone, Hahahahaha!!!

Greetings & Blessings!!!!!!!


In reply to by StringContrabass

I've done this kind of thing before. I put the presets on separate banks. That way they sorta stack on top of each other in the mixer just like when you have more than one soundfont loaded. So you can put the "best" sounds in bank 0 and the runner-ups or the solo instruments in bank 1. That way the normal instruments will load their sounds from bank 0, the best voices, and you'll just have to endure scrolling a long time to reach bank 1 sounds at the bottom of the menu.

Although, if you do something like that, it might be a good idea to put the "weird" instruments like the synthesizers, sound effects, and misc. sounds in bank 1 even if they fit in bank 0 so that they are at the bottom and the actual instruments are closer together in the list.

(Polyphone has a bank:___ patch:__ thing at the top-left, I'm talking about the number on the left, not the General MIDI number)

I finished editing the SoundFont.
The changes (other than preset order) that have been made are:

Condesation of all string sections into one pizzicato and one arco section with individual sections in banks 1-5
Omitting multiple percussion sounds that do not fit General MIDI specs
Adding several percussion sounds to have a better rounded and more complete percussion kit
Addition of a Marimba and a Celeste to better round out pitched percussion sounds
Changed out the original cello for "Ethan's Cello", a public domain soundfont, for a more realistic cello

I need a place to host this file, I can host the file on dropbox, but the file is large enough that it might generate enough traffic to remove it quickly. If someone with DropBox pro or another site to host could host it where it would not get taken down, I would greatly appreciate that.
I will post the link on DropBox tomorrow, it is pretty late here and the upload will take a while.

In reply to by StringContrabass

Have you thought of using Google Drive as a download point?

Google do not seem to operate download limits.

I am currently using Google Drive to host the Mike Schorsch Marching Percussion extensions, and the new clarinet soundfont, so far without problems, although I suspect download is limited to the MuseScore community.

Another thought - the GM Level 2 Spec is flexible enough to include the extra percussion sounds found in the Sonatina spec in a separate bank(s). All that would be required would be to add documentation of the key mapping(s) to the download. If you have time to implement this, it would be great, as many of those sounds are incredibly useful in an orchestral context.

Also, it is clear that a lot of the percussion sounds are designed for use with velocity switching, something relatively easy to set up in SF2 technology.

Looking forward to testing your first release :) Is this to be regarded as Beta?

In reply to by StringContrabass

I'm just downloading it now.

One minor point - the file name is exactly the same as the original soundfont version of the Sonatina Orchestra.

It would probably be a good idea to rename it Sonatina_Symphonic_Orchestra_GM2 to distinguish it from the original, and identify it as a GM Level 2 version.

It would also be a good idea to include licensing information and other documentation such as a changelog, and any relevant percussion keymaps with the soundfont file.

Looking forward to testing this in the morning :)

In reply to by StringContrabass

I could download it and now I have it on my PC!!!

BUT... (All human's things have some... "But")

1) I can ear an issue with the flute: some notes are out-of-tune.

2) There is no viola and double-bass solos.

3) Trumpet sounds not real to me (my taste).

4) Clarinet, English Horn, Fagot and Tuba can't reach some bass notes (whom can be get from that instruments as well). But it is a general debatable issue.

In this last way, I'm uploading a collection of MuseScore files with the instruments range. But, it is on another forum entry. I will wait your comments.

In reply to by jotape1960

You need to bear in mind that the Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra orginal SFZ only contained notes for the expected range of each instrument in an orchestral context, which may not include notes at the extremes of either end of the range, which are not normally used in an orchestral context as they require virtuoso skills to perform correctly on a consistent basis. Consequently you will find you are confronted with dead silence for notes which are outside that.

This was obviously a design philosophy choice made by the original sound designer. It certainly keeps you on your toes when you are writing orchestral scores.

OTOH with my modifications to Fluid3 and the standalone stuff I am working on have taken the deliberate design philosophy that composers will, in all probability, wish to use notes from outside the instruments' official ranges. Consequently the new Clarinet for MuseScore utilises Bass Clarinet samples to extend the Bb Clarinet range downwards, and in FLuid3Mono I have used 'cello samples to extend the Contrabass range upwards outside its normal playable range.

These are decisions which have to be made by sound designers when approaching a new sample set.

If you don't like being forced to keep within normal playable ranges then SSO is not for you :)

Keep in mind I did not make this soundfont, I only modified it. I want to keep it as close to the original as possible. I could tune the flute, but this will take some time. I also could add a viola and bass solo if you wish, once again, it will take some time.

I want to keep the trumpet because I know some people really like Sonatina's brass.

MuseScore adds effects, such as reverb and some equalizer effects. If you do not like these go to
View-Synthesizer-Effects and click 'No Effects for both'.

I'm thinking about adding a few instruments (a solo viola, bass, saxophones, a church organ, and a vibraphone).
Do you think this would be a good idea to make it easier for MuseScore users to use with their scores?

In reply to by StringContrabass

Yes I do think it would be a good idea to help facilitate MuseScore users to get what they want from the software.

OTOH if you follow this route at some point it will cease to be Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra, and become something else entirely.

I think I'm rapidly approaching this point with FluidR3Mono :)

At which point it will need a new name which confirms its new identity whilst recognising its past heritage.

Don't let this hold you back - after all the original SFZ is still around for the purists :)

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

At least the original FluidR3 is still available and easily usable in MuseScore, so I don't have any qualms about our making our own improvements for our version. Sonatina, on the other hand, is all but unusable as it, and I do think it would be valuable to have a "relatively" pure version. But the missing solo orchestral instruments (eg, viola) are definitely worth filling in.

When I tried the beta version - which sounds very good of course - it "stole" all the sounds it didn't provie. That is, with Sonatina at the top of the list and FluidR3 below, I had hoped missing instruments like viola would automatically be filled in from FluidR3, but no such luck - they all turned into piano. Any way top make that not happen, so one doesn't have to go to the mixer all the time?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Any way top make that not happen, so one doesn't have to go to the mixer all the time?

Not under the current Mixer architecture in Musescore, which just creates one long list of patchnames beginning with the first soundfont, then adding the patches in the next and so on..

This was one of the reasons I wanted to combine the Mixer with the Instruments dialogue, but I can see why the development team rejected that idea.

To achieve this we would need a much more sophisticated parsing system for the Patchnames, which would mean completely rewriting the current Patch assignation code, and a different data structure to hold the Patch data, categorising them on a soundfont by soundfont basis with null entries for missing GM patches.

It would certainly be possible, and maybe instead of pursuing my current work on a new Patch menu for the mixer I should incorporate this idea instead?

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Maybe. I'd like to understand better. I think think the mixer reorgnization makes sense, but I don't understand why it is necessary to solve this particular problem. I get that the order of pathches is linear, but I don't understand why a soundfont that only contains a definition for a limited number of patches affects all instruments. At the most extreme example, a soundfont with only a single sound - say, program #17 - why does having this soundfont installed affect an instrument that asks for program #94? I would think internally we would look at the first soundfont on the list, see if it defines a sound for #94, see that it doesn't, then go to the next soundfont in the list and look. I would have assumed each soundfont maked clear which programs it defines? Sorry, I obviously don't know the details of the soundfont format or much about this area of code in MuseScore.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Because currently MuseScore defaults to patch selection from the first soundfont in the list, and if there is only one patch it will assign that to every sound.

I suspect this goes back to the 1.x code which only had one soundfont anyway.

I haven't yet examined the patch selection code, but I have looked at the code which generates the mixer patch menu, and whilst Werner's function which reads data from the soundfont has a data structure which holds the relevant soundfont, Patch number and Bank number(s) for a sound, the current internal Mixer Patch data structure is just one long list of Patches and Bank numbers in soundfont order from the one at the top of the Synth window to the one at the bottom. In order for MuseScore to be able to drop through a missing patch to the next soundfont, it has to know that patch is missing and to move on to the next soundfont, which it currently does not do.

It is simple to do this but the data structure required to store the soundfont/patch/bank information requires null entries to tell it to move onto the next soundfont in the list. eg we could use an internal program number of 0xFF to indicate there is no patch for that program number. This would be read into the data structure when the mixer menu was generated, and MuseScore would read that byte and know to move to the next soundfont.

There is no mechanism within MIDI for doing this - assigning an empty Patch number in a sequencer will result in either silence or an error message.

But, as you've seen - the coding would be relatively simple. We'd just need to redesign the Patch data structures slightly in order to accommodate this concept.

PS This would actually make possible the use of a range of specialist soundfonts created for super high quality playback, in which Musescore would only load the soundfonts it needed for a score instead of having to have them all in memory.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Maybe, the best way you can "catch" my original idea about an Instrumental Table on the Mixer is if you can get the old Creative Lab SoundBlaster Live! sound card and you install all the Windows software bundled with that old card. When you get it, then you can go to the card configuration menu and see the soundfont bank selection method. You'll see not only the instrument names, but its MIDI number and banks.

Those numbers (values) are so important into the MIDI world because, normally, we have more than one (per example) guitar sound, and those sounds have the same MIDI number (24 to the acoustic guitar), but, it has a different MIDI bank number (bank 0 = standard bank; bank 1, or 2, or 3, etc. = extra banks of the soundfont file).

I know this information is absolutely irrelevant to the internal MuseScore gnome, because it doesn't work with the MIDI world, directly. But it is very, very, very, important when we want to connect with an external MIDI synthesizer.

Anyway, to show (into the MuseScore Mixer) all the instruments list from an specific soundfont file, I insist in the table way.

These are the changes I will be making for the next release of Sonatina GM:

*Church organ made from the Pitea Organ file will be added
*A few plucked strings (mandolin, banjo, etc.) from MSLP will be added
*a vibraphone from the University of Iowa will be added
*The Timpani will be changed to make it more compatible with MuseScore
*Toms will be added to the drum kit
*A Viola from the Philharmonia Make Music Samples or the University of Iowa will be added
*A Contrabass from either Karyofarers or my own instrument will be added
*any reported to be out of tune will be tuned

If anyone wants to help with this, go ahead and make the changes and share the new file with me. If there are other instruments you worked like to see in the next release, please tell me. Also, if anyone can find public domain/CC licensed tom (or any others) samples, let me know. If you want to record any sounds for the project, that would be amazing, just get the samples to me with information so I can properly attribute them.

In reply to by StringContrabass

Hi. I know that many of us are excited to get our hands on the new release. I also know that these things take time and appreciate the hard work you are putting in on this. I hope that you are well and if you have a moment I'm sure we would love an update on how things are going.



In reply to by Isaac Weiss

I'm applying for both composition and double bass (I would be okay if I got into one and not the other) at University of Colorado, University of Northern Colorado, University of Indiana, Cleveland Institute of Music, Eastman School of Music, and Peabody Institute (they gave me a wavier to apply for free).

In reply to by StringContrabass

Wow, nice selection. Unfortunately, no overlap with mine—I'm looking at the University of Michigan, a few other state schools, Oberlin, Case Western Reserve University, University of Chicago, and Harvard (why not?), hoping to go into music education (though the last two don't have music ed programs, they're so ridiculously world-class I'm sure I'll find something else to do if I get in and decide to go there). However, I know another bass player who's applying to at least a couple of those places—I think Indiana and Eastman—so if you meet a guy named Max at college, check if he's from Michigan. ;-) Good luck!

Good news.
Although I have not completed anything, I have started the process of tuning samples and adding a pipe organ.
After this process is finished, a new version will be released.
Estimated time: 1 month

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