The MuseScore Orchestra SoundFont

• Feb 3, 2016 - 22:55

Of the many SF2 SoundFonts in the world, one of the best for playing orchestral music is FluidR3/FluidR3Mono—which is why it's included with MuseScore. However, there are a few problems with it: the default piano is too "bright" ; a few notes in the violin are noticeably out of tune ; alto and tenor saxes are out of tune ; and the clarinet sound is awful .

MuseScore's ChurchOrganist Michael Cowgill has been gradually adding improvements in recent years to the SoundFont originally created by Frank Wen, having added an alternative "mellow" piano, currently putting in the hard work to manually loop 135 individual samples just to replace the clarinet sound, and most recently fixing an issue with the timpani.

I don't have the patience for that. ;-) So I fixed the above mentioned issues by borrowing samples from other SoundFonts. The result is, to my ear, already the most lifelike orchestra that exists in the SoundFont format—and I intend to improve it in the future.

It's frustratingly impossible to track the actual origin of the samples, but it's pretty near certain that you can use this for whatever you want.

So, here's my customized SoundFont, mostly FluidR3Mono but with modifications and replacements from GeneralUser GS and Timbres of Heaven. For me, this is the orchestra I want to hear when I use MuseScore, which is why I had to call it the MuseScore Orchestra SoundFont.…

Below is an unedited MP3 of played with the MuseScore Orchestra (please compare and contrast at various points with the default playback—the clarinet is highlighted at about the one minute mark):…

So, download and enjoy, my friends! And let me know which instruments to replace next.


One slight problem Zack

You can't issue this under an MIT licence if you are using Presets from Timbres of Heaven.

Timbres of Heaven clearly states in the Readme that it is for Non Commercial Use only.

An MIT licence allows commercial use.

On first hearing - very well done.

Once I've examined it in Viena I may be able to comment more :)

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

Now you know why I didn't just import stuff willy nilly :)

Welcome to the murky world of intellectual property and rights management :)

Your best bet is to contact the author of Timbres of Heaven and ask if you can include those presets under the MIT licence. That's what I did with Ethan Winer's temple blocks.

Otherwise as the two licences are incompatible you will have to abandon one or the other.

I've updated to MuseScore Orchestra version 1.1, incorporating all the latest improvements from FluidR3Mono—notably, drumline/marching percussion instruments are now included by default. On my own end, the thing I'm most happy with is that the timpani is now audible with my customized SoundFont. The same link as above still applies. Enjoy!

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

Are the timpani audible because of my changes to the amplitude envelopes?

Or because you've raised the volume?

Incidentally I did look at the timps again - I used a baroque Concerto Grossi by Barsanti as a test piece and found that with a little balancing in the mixer the timps were coming across fine on my sound system simply because the envelopes were allowing the timps to play the whole sample instead of chopping it with a note off at the end of the note duration.

I'm going to check again on my new Behringer Studio 5 Reference Monitors tomorrow, just to be sure.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

I changed the preset's attentuation from 10dB to -10dB. That seems like it should be extreme, but really it only brings it up to about the level of the tuba or orchestral bass drum.

EDIT: No, you're right—now I made it too loud. I'll see if I can find a happier medium.

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

There is no attenuation on the timps in the latest version - I removed it when I sorted out the envelopes.

Playing them through my new reference monitors was a real eye-opener.

I had to turn down the timps in the mixer because they were too loud!

Which just goes to show that unless you are using equipment capable of reproducing the full audio spectrum you are going to get a false impression of the sound.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Hey, Michael! Glad to hear that my sample score for the Barsanti was useful to you. I'm grateful for the adjustments you made and suggested in the playback, too; my orchestra contractor was able to hear a much more accurate representation of the score as a result.

Keep up the good work!

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

I finally got around to checking this out - very nice! Maybe my new favorite :-)

But, with the default volume in 2.0.3 being higher than it was in 2.0.2, this thing clips pretty badly for me on large ensemble scores unless I turn down the master a ways. I guess that's probably not anything wrong with your soundfont, more an issue of our having optimzied the default volume for FluidR3?

Um, I pulled up the major symphony I was working on, I have searched high an low for a soundfont that would make it sound great. I just downloaded the soundfont and used it, here's what I have noticed that needs to be improved
(1) The Flute part is played by a grand piano
(2) The bass clarinet part is also played by a grand piano
(3) Violin 1 Tremolo is played by a harp

Also, the string sound is drowned out at times.

In reply to by Elwin

I don't see how that's possible. Are you sure you aren't using something like Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra, which requires mixed-up sound assignments? If the score plays with the correct instruments with FluidR3Mono and other GM SoundFonts, it plays correctly with this MuseScore Orchestra.

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

I basically did not mix anything. I simply, downloaded, loaded, then hit play. When I noticed the sounds were different, I checked the mixer and then I saw.

In all honesty, very few soundfonts have impressed me. Sometimes, I grudgingly use it. Sonatina Symphonic orchestra sounds better when it's no sf2 format.

In reply to by Arianna2001

Scottish Fantasy Op. 46 - Max Bruch,_Op.46_(Bruch,_Max)

Just use your SF2 to produce a mp3 file that done & exported by musescore v2,
the other SF2 by Richard Roma.


Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra (MuseScore).sf2

Attachment Size
scottish_fantasy-orc-mvt1.mscz 115.76 KB

This soundfont is great and I use it with all my compositions. However, there is one slight problem with the piano. When there is a chord right after a break in the pedal, it makes a strange kind of pounding effect, like a popping noise with the note except more implemented into the sound. I am working on a section of a composition in pianissimo and it still does this. A natural piano doesn't do that at all, except with extremely loud notes. And even then, it's not as extreme.

Is there a way this can be fixed?

In reply to by McCleffy

Not necessarily a bug in MuseScore.

It could be a) something to do with the sound configuration on your computer, and b) (most likely) loop points being badly set for one or more samples in the instrument.

Which particular voices exhibit this "pounding" effect in the Fluid soundfont?

And an example score with indications to where this happens would be helpful too.

This is nice, but the strings are still very unrealistic and quite harsh to listen to in my opinion. I would try and create a softer, more natural sound with them. Try listening to the strings that come with Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra. They're probably the best around in my opinion.

Could you add the most up-to-date version of the soundfont to your initial post please (with a short descriptive note)? I'm really having trouble finding the correct links within the depths of the comments section.

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