Creating Music


Gloria uses the General MIDI set of instruments, commonly called patches. MIDI channels use the Program Change command to change instruments. The instrument change only applies to that channel. If you want to change the instruments on all channels then each channel will need its own Program Change command. By convention the default is to start each channel set to patch #0 (Acoustic Grand Piano). If there are no Program Change commands in the file then the entire song will play using Acoustic Grand Piano. All the same, it’s good practice to include a Program Change command at the start of each channel, even if you actually want Acoustic Grand Piano.

MIDI Program Change dialog box

Keep in mind that at the start of every file the Gloria synthesizer is reset to Acoustic Grand Piano. Let’s say you start with a MIDI file that includes intro, main verse, bridge and final verse all in one file, and then split the file into multiple files (intro, main, second version). While the music was in one single file, instrument changes remained in place on each channel until the next instrument change. If the Melody on channel 1 was set to Flute in the intro, the main verse would continue with Flute. When split into multiple files, the intro file would contain the Flute instrument change but the main file would not. So on playback the song would start with the Melody set to Flute during the intro, and then abruptly switch to Piano at the start of the verse. Thus, when splitting a MIDI file into multiple files for Gloria (and when creating those files from scratch), be sure to include a Program Change command at the start of every channel for every file such that instruments are correctly carried over from one file to the next.

Changing instruments will affect new notes on the same channel following the change. It has no effect on notes currently playing.

MIDI editing software will typically add a Bank Select controller command ahead of the Program Change command. For example, instead of simply having Program Change: 19 (Church Organ), there will be Bank Select: 0, Program Change: 19 (Church Organ). Technically Bank Select 0 is correct. In practice Gloria ignores all Bank Select commands.

MIDI Program Change event with Bank Select event

Some software (Reaper, for example) will always add a Bank Select command alongside the Program Change command. Delete the Bank Select afterwards to save space or just don’t worry about it.

MIDI Program Change event alone

Channel 10, Percussion, ignores all Program Change and Bank Select commands.

At all times the user has the option of making their own instrument choices while playing music on Gloria. They can change the instrument on a single track, on multiple tracks, or on the whole song. User instrument selections override any subsequent instrument changes within the MIDI files until the end of the song, and persist through all stanzas. Starting a new song (or stopping and re-starting the same song) reverts to using the instrument changes in the MIDI file. Pressing and holding the Play key while a song is playing will revert all tracks to the original instruments specified in the MIDI file.

Different instruments vary in overall loudness. Some instruments work well with others. Some combinations clash. Instruments with a well-defined attack, a punchy, almost percussive start to each note, work well on lead tracks such as Melody and Bass because they give good cues to the singers and help keep everybody on tempo. Instruments with gradual, mushy attack and release, the lead-in and lead-out of each note, are better suited to background tracks such as Accompaniment. Experiment with the instrument keys on Gloria to get a feel for how each instrument sounds. Hold down the Synthesizer key for three seconds to access an on-screen selection of any instrument within the General MIDI set, including instruments that can’t be directly selected using the normal instrument keys.

Most Gloria instruments mimic a real-world physical instrument, and in the real world most instruments are limited in the range of notes they can produce. A synthesized instrument can be played at any pitch, at least in theory. But you’ll get some strange results if you play high notes with a bass instrument such as a cello or bass guitar, or if you play low notes with a flute. You’ll get the best results if you keep to the ranges typical of each instrument.

The instruments from 81 to 104 are entirely artificial, so the names and sounds are somewhat arbitrary. Apply according to taste.

Here’s a table of the instruments available in Gloria. Note that patch numbers are sometimes started at 1. This manual uses the convention of starting the patch numbers at 0. The General MIDI instrument set extends to patch #127, but patches #120–127 are not implemented in Gloria.

Patch #InstrumentGloria Details
0Acoustic Grand PianoRefined
1Bright PianoSame as #0
2Electric Grand PianoRefined
3Honkytonk PianoRefined, two voices
4Electric Piano 1Refined
5Electric Piano 2Refined, two voices
8CelestaRefined, long release
9GlockenspielRefined, long release
10Music BoxRefined, long release
12MarimbaRefined, long release
13XylophoneRefined, long release
14Tubular BellsRefined, long release
15DulcimerRefined, long release
16Drawbar OrganRefined
17Percussive OrganTwo voices
18Rock OrganRefined
19Church OrganRefined
20Reed OrganRefined, three voices
21AccordionRefined, two voices
23Tango AccordionSame as #21
24Nylon GuitarRefined
25Steel GuitarRefined
26Jazz GuitarRefined
27Clean Electric GuitarRefined
28Muted Electric GuitarRefined
29Overdriven Guitar
30Distortion GuitarSame as #29
31Guitar Harmonics
32Acoustic BassRefined
33Fingered BassRefined
34Picked BassRefined
35Fretless BassRefined
36Slap Bass 1
37Slap Bass 2Refined
38Synth Bass 1
39Synth Bass 2Refined
41ViolaSame as #40
44Tremolo Strings
45Pizzicato StringsRefined
46Orchestral HarpRefined, long release
47TimpaniLong release
48String Ensemble 1Refined
49String Ensemble 2Refined, long release
50Synth Strings 1Refined
51Synth Strings 2Refined, two voices, long release
52Choir AahsRefined
53Choir Oohs
54Synth VoiceRefined, long release
55Orchestra HitTwo voices
58TubaRefined, two voices (stereo)
59Muted Trumpet
60French HornRefined, two voices (stereo)
61Brass SectionRefined, two voices
62Synth Brass 1Two voices
63Synth Brass 2Refined, two voices (stereo)
64Soprano SaxRefined
65Alto SaxRefined
66Tenor SaxRefined
67Baritone SaxRefined
69English HornRefined
75Pan FluteRefined, two voices
76Blown BottleRefined
78WhistleSame as #79
80Square LeadRefined, two voices
81WhisperRefined, two voices
82CalliopeTwo voices
83ChifferThree voices
84CharangTwo voices
85Voice LeadRefined
86Fifths LeadTwo voices
87Bass + LeadTwo voices
89WarmLong release
91ReflectionsRefined, two voices, long release
92Bowed GlassTwo voices, long release
93Back HomeRefined
94HaloRefined, two voices
95SweepFour voices, long release
96RainTwo voices, long release
97SoundtrackTwo voices (stereo), long release
98Crystal FXRefined, two voices (stereo), long release
99AtmosphereRefined, long release
100BrightnessTwo voices, long release
101DarknessTwo voices, long attack & release
102Echoes & Drops
103Sci-fi FXRefined, two voices, long release
104SitarRefined, long release
107KotoRefined, long release
109Bag PipesRefined, two voices above note #85
110FiddleSame as #40
112Tinkle BellLong release
114Steel DrumsRefined, long release
116Taiko DrumsLong release
117Melodic Tom
118Synth Drums
119Reverse CymbalTwo voices below note #55

Things to Keep in Mind

Gloria can synthesize up to 42 voices at once. In a common scenario the Melody, Alto, Tenor and Bass tracks are playing one note each. The Accompaniment track is playing four notes and the Percussion track is playing four drums (or cymbals, maracas, etc.). At one voice per note, that’s a total of 12 voices. However, each voice usually continues to play after the note has ended. The release portion of the note trails off even as the next note begins, so at the very least there are now 24 voices playing: the current set of notes plus the remains of the notes that went before. And notes often overlap, even when there’s only one note per track, adding to the total number of active voices.

Some of the instruments are synthesized with more than one voice, as noted in the table above. Each note uses two voices (or more) when playing with one of these instruments. Now the example above is using 16 voices for eight notes, plus four for percussion, for a total of 20 voices. Include the overlap from the previous notes to get 40 voices playing at once. So you see how quickly you can reach the limit.

Some of the instruments have a longer than usual release (two seconds or longer), as noted in the table above. The release phase is the part of the note that continues to sound after the note has ended. Think of a bell continuing to ring after it has been struck, or a guitar string continuing to vibrate after it has been plucked. Notes with a long release continue to use a voice long after the note has ended, while other notes come and go. So instruments with a long release are more taxing on the system than others.

Gloria uses various tricks to get around this problem. About half the percussion instruments can be replaced outright by other percussion instruments (eliminating the overlap) without the listener noticing. If there are no free voices Gloria will cancel the quietest voices, the ones that have had the most time to trail off into silence, that contribute the least to the overall sound. Again, the listener doesn’t notice.

Some of the instruments create a stereo sound, as noted in the table above. They have a different but complementary sound for the left and right audio channels on the Line Out connector. The stereo audio is mixed into one mono channel when using the built-in speaker (Gloria only has one speaker), but you can enjoy the full stereo effect when using headphones or when connected to an external stereo system.

Most of the instruments are marked “Refined” in the table above. Those instruments have been individually tailored and fine tuned to work well with Gloria music. The few remaining instruments have not been tested in live accompaniment. You may use them, of course, but you may want to evaluate their suitability before committing to active use.


These are the percussion instruments available in Gloria. They are played from channel 10.

Note #Percussion Instrument
29Scratch Push
30Scratch Pull
31Stick Click
32Metronome Click
33Metronome Click 2
34Metronome Bell
35Acoustic Bass Drum
36Bass Drum 1
37Side Stick
38Acoustic Snare
39Hand Clap
40Electric Snare
41Low Floor Tom
42Closed Hi-Hat
43High Floor Tom
44Pedal Hi-Hat
45Low Tom
46Open Hi-Hat
47Low Mid Tom
48High Mid Tom
49Crash Cymbal 1
50High Tom
51Ride Cymbal 1
52Chinese Cymbal
53Ride Bell
55Splash Cymbal
57Crash Cymbal 2
59Ride Cymbal 2
60High Bongo
61Low Bongo
62Mute High Conga
63Open High Conga
64Low Conga
65High Timbale
66Low Timbale
67High Agogo
68Low Agogo
71Short Whistle
72Long Whistle
73Short Guiro
74Long Guiro
76High Wood Block
77Low Wood Block
78High Cuica
79Low Cuica
80Mute Triangle
81Open Triangle
83Sleigh Bell
84Bell Tree
86Surdu Dead Stroke