Musescore 4, Muse Sounds

I saw Musescore 4 was released today. I’m not a Musescore user, but I’m interested in Muse Sounds, especially after David’s review on Scoring Notes.

…Just not interested enough to install MuseScore and try it, lol.

Seriously though, I’d like to hear user opinions. And if these sounds really are that good, will they be able to be used in Dorico in any way? Or are they entirely proprietary?


I thought exactly the same, hopefully someone from the forum is a user and can give us his opinion.

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Hello team and fellow Doricians,
Just WOOOOW… about the Muse Sounds… I’m listening to this piece:

I’m very interested to use these sounds in Dorico. They really sound like a hi-end library. :slightly_smiling_face: Far much realistic sound than NotePerformer 3.
I don’t know what NotePerformer 4 will bring to us.
I hope soon we’ll be able to use Muse Sounds in Dorico, too! :slight_smile:
@DanKreider, since MuseScore is free and opensource, I suppose the Muse Sounds library is free and opensource, too.
The point here is how they can be adopted to Dorico, since they don’t use Expression Maps in MuseScore?! And is there a VST3 plugin that plays them back, or not?

Best wishes,


I tried to write something in MS4 with the new sounds earlier to test them out, but my system performance tanked the more I worked on it. I guess I’ll just wait until that’s fixed.


Tried to play the demo Muse orchestra score with Muse sound but somehow super laggy on my windows system (Surface Pro 4 i5 8g ram). Maybe the system requirement to smoothly playback with loads of Muse sounds is quite high?

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I have only briefly looked into this some time ago but if i remember correctly, the situation is as follows. While MuseScore is free and open source, MuseSounds (produced by Muse) is free, but not open source. It’s not using VST, but its own system “Muse Playback Events” (MPE). This is to provide more context on the music, get richer, higher fidelity data etc. to better synthesize and sample. As far as I understood, Noteperformer uses a 1 second delay “hack” to get more context before synthesizing and it has some bespoke integration in Dorico as well. The MPE specification is supposed to be open, so it might be possible in the future to use it in Dorico, but might likely require implementing MPE in Dorico.

(edit: just saw this tweet by Tantacrul: it seems there’s a video coming out soon that might give some more details)


You’re not the only one. It happens to me on a small instrumentation as well, and I have twice the RAM you have. Very likely a bug (at least I’m, hoping it is and doesn’t require a NASA computer to run).

Just wait to see what NP4 brings… Smaller , smarter sound libraries are definitely the way forward.

I agree with David’s review: the sounds are very impressive, but the ‘killer’ feature of MP4 is still its price. It’s great that everyone has access to decently engraved notation. While there’s still room for improvement, commercial apps will have to up their game to justify their price. Dorico, certainly, is doing that.

I really don’t know how MS makes enough money to buy StaffPad, Audacity, etc. It can’t all be from sheet music, can it? :rofl:

I know this was mentioned when they previewed v4; but … at lot of the changes to the UI seem very familiar to Dorico users…


I couldn’t agree more! C’est un hommage à l’original…


Definitely! And some design and operation philosophy as well. Not a bad thing though.

It looks and sounds good. I’m intrigued with a couple of things I saw in the video and may download it to see if I’ve understood those things correctly, or not. One thing I did spot - which I think is a great idea - is changing the VST from the mixer lane.


I just had a play with it on some old musescore scores.

I also have Staffpad, which uses a sfz system for rendering. When I looked into this system, it uses envelope modulation to handle dynamics, and also some quick repeated notes. Staffpad suffered in rendering for this, you couldn’t have for example a held note at dynamic p, moving to a different note at f. You hear the tail of the first note crescendo quickly as the envelope is modulated prior to the next note. It’s a non-starter for me.

So yeah MuseScore has the exact same issue. Clearly it’s using Staffpad’s rendering engine.

It really limits what you can write before you start getting all kind of weird artefacts. In my view, NotePerformer is miles better, and even though its samples may be less shiny, it has less weirdness going on, which every other system seems to suffer from.

I also don’t know how you do soundsets for the VST instruments.

Also it has some kind of baked in reverb that I couldn’t turn off (so therefore couldn’t use a different reverb VST plugin).

So my money is waiting for NotePerformer 4.


Thanks @adrien. I was impressed with the demo, but I’m always interested to hear real-world feedback. I’m looking forward to NP4 as well, 2023Q1… a late Christmas present…

As regards MuseScore: a rising tide lifts all boats. I’m glad about the continued improvement of synthesized playback. Anybody remember creating demos 15 years ago??? :clown_face:


Well, we all know that Martin Kaery a.k.a. Tantacrul is a Dorico fan, just he wasn’t agree with some aspects of the program. He also proposed some improvements that I really liked and still they are not there.
After all Dorico has many common things with Overture, which is the first DAW-like scoring software. The conception of DAW-like has obligatory model, that why all DAW’s on the market has much more similarities than differences. It’s not the same with the scoring editors. For example Finale and Sibelius completely different design approaches, different functional logic.

Dan, that’s completely true. :slight_smile: I hope Arne from Wallander Instruments is enough aware about the Muse Sounds and preparing something even better, no matter if it takes 14GB, or more drive space! :slight_smile:
Actually I would love to see something like NotePerformer and Muse Sounds, but more controllable AI from Steinberg, too. Why not?!

Best wishes,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:


For the cost of $0 and a single program, this official demo is truly remarkable.

Assuming that the engraving capabilities of MuseScore 4 do not exceed Dorico Elements (I have no clue), it still takes $100 plus a complete and total dependence on a 3rd party developer ($130 more for NotePerformer) to get to the comparable quality of playback. To a lot of ears, the current version of NotePerformer is not as good as Staffpad has been or MuseScore 4 is right now at this level.

Aside from the issue of value for money, there is also the issue of ease of use. If MuseScore 4 really does provides this level of “instant gratification” out of the box, then it’s a no-brainer as a sketching if not compositional tool, superior to Dorico and undercutting on of its stated aims. It costs nothing to get, and the quality of hassle-free playback should provide enough motivation to stick with it while it’s being developed and refined and to learn its ins and outs. Thinking about this from the standpoint of typical marketing “funnel” of user acquisition, I think this is a serious development for education and some portion of DAW users and possibly other all non-engraver segments.

Of course, it’s easy to sit in an armchair and dispense all kinds of advice but I do hope Steinberg is exploring an acquisition of NotePerformer or some kind of integrated partnership but especially agreements with individual developers to mitigate this “crutch” situation and make the combined offer more competitive. The more developers make their product work seamlessly with Dorico out of the box the less competitive and seductive MuseScore becomes despite its zero cost.

MuseScore has the massive advantage of building its playback on the strength of superior sounds developed by industry leaders, Orchestral Tools and Spitfire. It’s only doing the scripting. NotePerformer, on the other hand, is doing everything from scratch. It’s astonishing to me that Steinberg is not participating in this area at all.

On the other hand, people were ringing all kinds of alarm bells when Staffpad came out too. It’s no wonder the official MuseScore demo relies so heavily on long sustains, which are much easier to get to sound expressive than the shorts which I find underwhelming at the moment. Let’s see how far this one goes.

I’ll call it right now:

If Dorico (pro) has some sort of official / in-built support for NP4 in version 5.0 (I would love this) someone will, the day of release, get on this forum and complain about how all they need is engrave mode, and “why should I have to pay extra for playback integration that I don’t need; Dorico is too expensive and then you add in this extra stuff that all users don’t need! All this development time wasted on playback that was already pretty good, and we still don’t have XXX [obscure request] that I mentioned three years ago! blah blah blah.”

Mark my words.


Yes, I have no doubt this will happen. It’s always annoying to read complaints from users whose needs do not match mine! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

(I’ll walk over to MuseScore forum on of these days to see if it’s any different there, although I doubt it).

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I’m fairly sure I read on some other forum that Product B should buy NotePerformer. This assumes Arne is willing to sell, of course.

I am always surprised that the music notation market manages to support as many players as it does: Besides Dorico, Sibelius, Finale, MuseScore and Lilypond, there are still loads of other products, all making money, apparently.

MuseScore will certainly squeeze the competition: and I would assume that the market will coalesce: on one side, those who are prepared to pay for products that give them professional results, fast; and on the other side, those for whom the free app is sufficient.

We’ve already seen MakeMusic drop its prices across the board: this is certainly an attempt to increase user numbers (and get old users on the latest version).

As far as I’m concerned, Dorico still justifies its price over that of MuseScore on its feature set.


It sounds like you are intimately familiar with the Finale forum!!!