Request for comment: temple blocks

• Dec 27, 2015 - 01:17

As suggested at, don't temple blocks have five pentatonic pitches? Currently, MuseScore's "Temple Blocks" instrument is classified among "Unpitched Percussion," and the drumset definition includes only two blocks. Is this genuinely an alternative instrument? Don't we have something seriously missing here?


Temple blocks can come in lots of different configurations, but indeed sets of five seem pretty common, so probably we should amend the definition. There won't likely be any good playback possible, though, since I don't think GM defines five distinct woodblock sounds.

There is a full range variant at Program number #115 (Woodblock) which gives control over the pitch ranging from MIDI #0 to MIDI #127, it is currently not chromatic though as the scale tuning is set to 20 which sounds as though it gives in/decrements of around 50 cents.

The problem with this is that currently it could not be configured into a 5 note set as it is not a GM Percussion instrument.

The other problem is that it is a wood block sound and not a temple block sound. The temple block has a hollower sound - I'll see if I can source some samples.

In the mean time is it your considered opinion that I should adjust the scale tuning so that Program #115 is properly chromatic?

EDIT: Found some excellent temple block samples. Just need to clear their use with the creator.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

I'd settle for wood block sound even if the match isn't perfect. More important, of course, to sort out the notation. Really, we **could* define the drumset to have more than five sounds but assign shortcuts for the msot common 5. Would be interesting to hear from experienced orchestral percussionists on this.

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