Is there any software able to synthesize music based on real sounds, not midi when writing scores? I mean something really offering all known instrument sounds and sound dynamics, no matter what it costs and no matter what performance it requires..

Thank you !

  • What do you mean by software that does not synthesize midi? Midi is not audio of any sort; instead, it is information about notes (pitch, duration, volume), comparable to notation on a page. Whether a synth is driven by midi or by something else has nothing to do with its quality / realism: A synth is still a synth.
    – apollodude217
    Aug 7, 2011 at 22:45

3 Answers 3


Usually the approach that will get you the most realistic results will be to use sampled instruments. You can buy an all-in-one sampler with a wide variety of bundled sounds, or if you are willing to spend more, you can buy sets of samples on an instrument by instrument basis (e.g. piano, strings, drums are often sold separately).

For example, Native Instruments has a sampler called Kontakt which comes with 43 GB of samples, but you can also buy individual pianos from them such as Alicia's Keys or Berlin Concert Grand. Almost all other companies that make samplers have a similar lineup - you can expand the factory settings with additional libraries. These days, the add-on libraries often come with their own VST player, meaning you don't need to buy the full sampler, and their GUI is optimised for the instrument in question.

The other thing to bear in mind if you want complete realism is the need for 'articulations'. For example, strings can be played legato, pizzicato etc. Different samplers and sample sets offer different ways of triggering these articulations. You will also need a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that lets you sequence your song and play it through the samplers using MIDI. For example the latest Cubase has introduced better support for controlling articulations and dynamics.


Finale has its own built-in synthesizers/samplers that try to recreate real instruments. Of course, the only way to get the real thing is to actually use real people. Not every stylistic aspect is in your score, and the computer isn't very good at guessing.

  • The Garritan Library is pretty darn good when you consider that it is just an add on for Finale. I would recommend it wholeheartedly for this application, but of course, if one has never really done it before, one's expectations may be way too high. YMMV.
    – Zeronyne
    Apr 27, 2011 at 20:08

Reason allows midi notes to be played through sampled instruments. As Mark Heath pointed out, there is the need for articulation, which doesn't really happen with most samples. Also, the notes have to be written correctly for an instrument, meaning the stylistic touches which enable us to differentiate between instruments. A piano hits a note full on, but some instruments 'slide into' a note.

  • beat me to it... +1 for mentioning Propellerhead reason. The Malstrom sounds really nifty! propellerheads.se/reason6/index.cfm
    – sum1stolemyname
    Aug 23, 2011 at 14:07
  • 1
    Actually, the maelstrom doesn't use samples. I was thinking of the NX-XT sampler.
    – No'am Newman
    Aug 24, 2011 at 10:20
  • @newman: You're right, but I still like the sound of the Maelstrom - and it does use a single sample as basis for it's sound (though not in the way the OP asked for).
    – sum1stolemyname
    Aug 29, 2011 at 7:38

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