How to use built in General MIDI on Mac for Playback


how do I use built in General MIDI on Mac for Playback?
I would prefer to use the lightweight built in Audio and don’t know how to set it up that way.
Any help is welcome.

If I understand you correctly, then you want to stream Dorico’s MIDI data into the built-in GM sound module of your Mac and thus bypass Dorico’s audio engine, right?
If that is so, then I have to disappoint you, because it won’t work. Could be in the future, that we will add this as a feature, but for the moment you have to use Dorico’s audio engine.

Thank you, Ulf. Yes, it would be nice to see this in the nearer future. As Dorico’s primary focus is supposed to be on the engraving process, we should not be tied to a certain sound subset. A lot of music to be composed or copied with Dorico will not be for a modern Symphony Orchestra, modern instrument types or their sound equivalent. I always preferred the quite decent and neutral General MIDI playback on the Mac (I think it consist of 124 Quicktime Sounds, having been computed a long time ago).

There are a full set of GM patches in the HALion sounds, and they seem more lightweight in terms of RAM than the orchestral instruments. Click the arrow at the right of the “multi program rack” to load a sound and type GM in the search box at the top of the dialog.

They also have the advantage that you can still export an audio file, which you wouldn’t be able to get if you used the system GM device.

Rob, thank you, this helps a lot :slight_smile:
Now I will only have to find a nice sound to replace the violin sound of a single violin…
[GM 041] Violin sounds dirty,
[GM 111] Fiddle is not usable because of a tremendous amount of vibrato…
HALion Sonic SE Solo Violin sounds „whiny“,
… not easy…

Actually in Sib. it is not a problem to use System GM sounds for export, sorry for correcting you.

Really? I wrote the feature (in Sibelius) so this surprises me - you can only export audio through a loaded plugin in both Sibelius and Dorico. Or is the GM device on the mac actually an AU Plugin?

The solo violin in the beginning is from HSO, I found it decent enough to use it…


Benji, bedankt,
yes, you are right, the HSO Solo Violin sounds much better in my opinion (so does the Solo Voice).
I am no expert at all: 1) what is HSO? 2) would it be possible to use that sound inside Dorico?


There are a full set of GM patches in the HALion sounds

Great can we force Dorico to load only the GM patches when open a score or when click “Load Sounds for Unassigned Instruments”? without to load one by one ?
Or can I delete the *.vstsound I don’t want to force the Gm to load?

I don’t think we’ll support a GM-only configuration as it just doesn’t sound very good. HSO itself is quite lightweight and a GM set wouldn’t save much.

HSO is Halion Symphonic Orchestra and it comes with Dorico.

Hmm – I’m surprised that you’re surprised, Paul! I only ever load general MIDI sounds into Sibelius, having not even bothered to install the sound libraries – like the OP, I only use Sibelius for composing and auditioning, and don’t need anything sophisticated. And I can export audio files no problem just by using the built-in Export function.

Of course, exported audio files sound just like general MIDI playback, which is to say not very good, but they do the job.

I do like the Fiddle (not Violin) sound of Apples/QuickTimes General Midi Sounds. That is, what I use for strings in baroque and classical style, very clear and nice to listen to. It even has a gentle modulation (vibrato), which sets in after a little while.

I’m in exactly the same position as randywombat: I use playback only for proofing, and really appreciate the small load and quick response of the built-in GM. I don’t care that it sounds bad. I prefer it fast and light weight. I have never installed any of the sound libraries that came with Sibelius, in 16 years.

This thread overlaps with a current one at

I have now tried the ROLAND Sound Canvas VA. It turns out, it plays happily with Dorico. That way I can access the sounds (of which Apple actually bought a license from Roland over 20 years ago to be their system/Quicktime sound source). So far I have installed the trial version (for Mac), which works after having whitelisted it.

If you turn on the IAC Bus in Audio MIDI, you should be able to pass Dorico’s output to another MIDI-aware application, which might be able to play using the GM MIDI samples from the OS. I’m not sure how Dorico’s “MIDI Instruments” work exactly, but this might be useful.

Apple’s GM MIDI sounds can be accessed through an Audio Unit, but I don’t know how that coresponds to VSTs. Plus there’s the white-listing.