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I’ve created another SF2 format SoundFont, at a whopping 12¾ KiB in size, which contains the two samples used by MuseScore’s metronome, e.g. to “count in” before the players begin. Turns out MuseScore cannot export the “count in” to audio, and users who need e.g. a click track or even just “giving the pitches” to singers before counting in will need to add it manually, anyway.

MuseScore uses two hard-coded samples, copied from MusE which in turn copied these from Ardour whose lead developer Paul Davis was very helpful in discovering the provenance of these samples (turns out they were generated mathematically, so they are not copyrightable) and reviewing the soundfont metadata cum instructions.

This soundfont can be used with any SF2-compatible synthesiser; the following instructions can be used with MuseScore, as well as anything that throws MIDI note events to e.g. timidity or fluidsynth:

  • Add the soundfont to the synthesiser. If loading in MuseScore ensure it’s listed below any other soundfont(s).
  • Assign the patch “Metronom”, available as drumset (bank 128, preset 48, matching MuseScore Orchestra Kit) or ordinary (bank 0, preset 115, matching MuseScore Woodblock¹), to either a pitched instrument (e.g. temporarily via a mid-stave/‑staff instrument change) or percussion stave (e.g. MuseScore Wood Blocks). (Keep the volume at or near 100, which is close to what mu͒ itself uses, even though the beats are slightly easier to distinguish.)
  • Enter notes for each beat: a tick (E₅, MIDI note 76, mu͒ High Woodblock) on the downbeat (first beat in a measure), a tack (F₅, MIDI note 77, mu͒ Low Woodblock) for all others. In 4/4 time, for example, this means a tick and three tacks.
  • Select all Metronom notes and open mu͒ Inspector (F8 key). Change Velocity type to “User”, then set Velocity, for all notes at first, to 127. Next, select the unstressed beats only (in 4/4 time again, the second and fourth note) and change their Velocity to 80.

Users of DAWs and other synthesisers may benefit from the following short representation (velocity is absolute):

beat typenotevelocity colour (in the picture below)
downbeat76 (E₅)127 green
stressed77 (F₅)127 red
unstressed77 (F₅)80 blue
compound subbeat77 (F₅)25 (not present)
other subbeat77 (F₅)15 (not present)

Soprano stave temporarily acting as metronome (mind the key signature), repurposed Wood Blocks stave doing the same; notes colourised per function (downbeat, unstressed beat, stressed beat, unstressed beat)

As can be seen in the above picture, a vocal (or instrumental) stave can, temporarily, be repurposed (e.g. for counting in) as metronome, or a separate percussion track can yield a click track. The MIDI notes were chosen so that the mu͒ Wood Blocks (unpitched percussion) instrument can be used for this out of the box — and because Wood Blocks used to be the common alternative for metronome tracks before the existence of this soundfont). Note also the accidental ♮ to nullify the key signature’s F♯ on the vocal stave to obtain the correct F₅ note. Not shown: ensure the tempo text is placed on (or before) the first click track note when counting in.

The SoundFont is published under CC0 (whose § 2 does not apply because I cannot legally waive/abandon copyright in my legislation). Discussion on the MuseScore forum for soundfonts, please.

① The Woodblock preset in the standard MuseScore_General soundfont has only one sample though so it’s not really comparable to this.

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