In this chapter, we will learn the different ways for using and creating predefined user instruments. You will also find here other useful information about standard or user-defined instruments.
First, here are some reminders about the way digital instruments are managed by the program.
What is a digital instrument ?
A digital instrument is, for Melody/Harmony, a set of digital sounds (samples), along with parameters.
Digital sounds are digitally recorded real instruments, playing a given note.
For some instruments, only one sound is necessary. But for many others,
it is necessary to record several sounds to define an complete
instrument : instrument timbre can vary significantly depending on the
played note. The program, for playing another note, needs to distort
the recorded sound in order to match the required frequency (pitch).
This process is only possible within a given range.
For example, processing a note recorded from the 3rd octave of a piano
in order to make it play a note at 5th octave will provide a strong
distortion, which leads to a noticeable corruption of the sound.
So, to define an instrument, several digital recordings of the same
instrument, made at different pitches, are necessary, in order not to
be "too far" from the recorded note.
Above this, a set of parameters are related to these digital sounds, to explain the program how to play the sample. For
example, in the same way note velocity (power at which the note is
played) have an influence upon the volume, it can also alter the sound
timbre. The high-quality velocity enables to define frequency filters
to be applied depending on the note velocity.
These miscellanous parameters will be detailed later.
Instrument bases a.k.a. sound bases
Many digital instruments are provided by default in the software.
In order to comply to current standard, these instruments are sorted
according to the GM/GS specification, also followed by most of the MIDI
Instruments are grouped together into sound bases. Several sound bases are available, in different quality. The best quality, the bigger base.
For example, the simplest sound base, GMLTBASE is about 500 Kb, while the most elaborate, GOLD, is about 300 Mb... The main benefit of a sound base is mainly the gain in size for the music files. Thanks to the sound base,
a music file only contains notes and other symbols. Digital data needed
for playing the sounds are provided once and for all in the software.
it is possible to use other instrument than the default ones. To do
this, it is necessary to define a user instrument.
In this case of course, digital data for the instrument are stored into the music file, which will increase its size.
For example, a 10 second sound, sampled at 44 kHz, takes about 880 Kb. Music file size will therefore increase drastically.
It is possible to reduce this size by saving into .mu3 format instead of the standard format.
In the .mu3 file format, sounds are packed using the Vorbis Ogg encoding. Loss of quality is slight, but size is divided by 10.
Predefined user instruments
Available in Harmony Assistant from version 8.4, this concept enables to use user instruments exactly the same way we use default instruments.
To select a default instrument, we use two lists in the instrument edit box :
In the left list, instrument sections (Ensemble, Brass, Reed ...), in
the right list, instruments that belong to this section (Violin, Cello,
Contrabass...). User instrument groups can be
added to the list on the left. In front of these user instrument group
names, a little red star that shows these instruments are user-defined.
Selecting one of these groups will show the group content in the list
on the right, as it is already the case for standard instruments.
Selecting an user instrument becomes as simple as selecting a standard
But be careful ! In order to
enable your music file to be played on any computer other than yours,
even those who do not own the user instruments you are using, data for
these instruments will still be recorded into the music file. So, a
How to install predefined user instruments
predefined user instruments are supplied as an archive which, once
unpacked, provides a folder. You just have to drag and drop this folder
into the "Sounds" subfolder of the "Myriad documents" folder. Folder name will be the instrument group name. Each instrument included in the group is stored as an independent file of .mui extension (Myriad User Instrument)
Sounds these instruments are made of are packed using non-destructive packing scheme, enabling a packing ration of about 1:4.
If the file name (before the .mui extension) ends with "set", for
example "Heavy drum set", it is considered as a percussive instrument
set. This group will only appear in lists if the instrument is in
"drum" mode. In the same way, user drum sets do not appear in list if
the instrument is in chromatic (non drum) mode.
Creating a user digital instrument
Here are some explanations about some important parameters for user instruments.
First, the general settings for all sounds of this instruments :
Relative volume :
It is the instrument master volume, from 1 (very faint) to 1000 (very
loud). It enables to balance the instrument relatively to the others,
without having to alter the sounds it is made of. For historical
reasons, 0 provides the same effect as1000.
: It is the influence of note velocity (power at which the note is
played) on its volume. This depends on the way the real instrument is
High quality velocity : If active, you can define a set of filters that will be applied depending on the note velocity.
The following settings can be adjusted for each sound the instrument is made of.
Note range menu : this sound will be selected if the note to be played belongs to this range.
For this range, pitch of the recorded note (for a drum instrument, set 0)
When music is playing, only one note can be played on the same group :
the new note cuts off the previous one. For example, it is used in
drums to enable the closed hi-hat to stop sound of the open hi-hat.
• 0 : no group, polyphonic instrument
• 1-9 : system groups (used by standard instruments)
• 10-200 : user groups In case of doubt, set 0.
: Sound attack rate. Attack is the volume rising at the beginning of
the note. The highest value, the fastest rising. 0 means "no attack".
The sound will reach its maximal volume immediately.
: Decay is the sound volume decreasing slope while the note is
"depressed". It varies from 0 (no volume decrease, for example flute,
organ...) to 9999 (sound is then very short).
: Release is the sound volume decreasing slope after the note has been
"released". It varies from 0 (no volume decrease) to 9999 (sound stops
immediately). Usually, this value is bigger than the decay. NEVER USE A
RELEASE OF 0 AND AN INFINITE LOOP AT THE SAME TIME, SOUND WOULD NEVER
Loop fine adjustment : While note is "depressed", sound loops on a part of the sample. Finding a good "loop point" is a fundamental component
for a nice sound. An improper loop will make the sound produce "ticks"
each time it loops. Tools in the "Effects" contextual menu can help you
to find a loop in the current selection range. But usually, loop points
are adjusted "by ear"
For example, zoom on the part you consider as the most interesting, ask
for playing the selection range infinitely, and move it until you are
satisfied with the result. Sometimes it is not possible to find a
proper loop point. Then, you have to record the instrument again, and
be careful the note is as flat as possible in terms or volume (no
tremolo) and pitch (no vibrato). The loop fine adjustment enables to define a "floating point" loop point, in order to set it up more finely.
: When note will be released, the part after the loop point is played,
unless the loop is marked as infini. In which case the loop will
continue to be played while the volume decreases (release).
How to create predefined user instruments
you use some user instruments very often, it is interesting to make
them available more easily by creating a user instrument group.
It is also an easy way to share instrument sets with other users. A
special page offers to download for free a selection of the best
instrument groups we receive. Do not hesitate to send us yours...
Here is how to proceed :
Create a subfolder in the "Sounds" subfolder of the "Myriad Documents" folder. Give a clear and vivid name
to this subfolder : this name will appear in the instrument group list
within the program. If the instrument group is a drum set, end its name
the software, edit you user instrument and select "Save predefined
instrument" in the "Action" contextual menu.
needed, type in a comment to be related to this instrument. This
comment will be displayed when user clicks the "?" icon in the
Select whether you want the instrument to be packed (Vorbis Ogg encoding) and the packing ratio.
Select the previously
created folder as saving location, and give a name to your instrument
That's all, your user instrument can now be selected from any of your document, as a standard instrument.