Freepats project

Free and open instrument sets, samples, sound synthesis, music...

External links

FluidSynth: software synthesizer based on the SF2 specifications.

Swami: editor for MIDI instruments and sounds.

[DIR]Piano/ - -
[DIR]conventional/ - -
[DIR]dollysoft/ - -
[DIR]freepats/ - -
[DIR]gt/ - -
[DIR]laura/ - -
[DIR]musix/ - -
[DIR]olpc-sounds/ - -
[DIR]partial/ - -
[DIR]samples/ - -
[DIR]sf2/ - -
[DIR]system-sounds/ - -
[DIR]tools/ - -
[DIR]walt/ - -
[   ]freepats-20060219.tar.bz2 25M-
[   ]freepats-20060219.tar.xz 24M-
[   ] 28M-
[TXT] -
[TXT] -
[TXT]wiki.html117 -

Freepats is a project to create a free and open set of instrument patches, in any format, that can be used with softsynths. We would like to collect and host samples and instrument patches in any format so if you are interested in contributing to the project then send a message to the freepats mailing list. Needless to say, any uploaded content must either be in the Public Domain or have an open and free redistribution license.

Reference documentation and SMF MIDI files are also wanted as well as any HOWTO or general information about patches, samples or the applications to use them, on the Wiki. Feel free to contribute or get involved via the mailman web interface. Please use the Wiki for notes and documentation.


These web pages are being updated. Currently only the design is changed, though there a are plans to eventually update contents.


Here is a link to Public Domain Music Resources maintained by Laura Michaels - From the site: Links to public domain music resources are provided on this page. I've also started a mailing list for discussion of locating public domain tunes and using open source and freeware programs to share them. See pdsongs if you'd like to join in.


Ben Collver collver at peak dot org has yet again updated his sfubar, available locally in the tools folder. From his announcement...

Announcing sfubar version 9, a public-domain command-line utility to work with soundfont2 files using plain text configuration files and basic audio files. Includes sfubar.exe for Windows command prompt.

Can be fetched at:

Changes since version 6:


Ben Collver collver at peak dot org has updated his sfubar, available locally in the tools folder. From his announcement...

Announcing sfubar version 6, a public-domain command-line utility to work with soundfont2 files using plain text configuration files and basic audio files. Includes sfubar.exe for Windows command prompt.

Can be fetched at:

Changes in version 6:


New Colombo hydrogen drumkit deb package and musix-freepats-extras

Marcos Guglielmetti has created a Debain packaged drumkit available at...

deb ./

You can find the complete set of samples here. There are 10.9 MB into 92 sound samples. This drumkit is a small version of 3.4 MB. and installs on:


Colombo drums are handcraft drums made in La Plata, Argentina by a man called Colombo. Licence: GNU GPL v2 or later, see COPYING and README for details. Drum details...


by Roberto Gordo Saez <roberto dot gordo at gmail dot com>

I must say that I've almost stopped searching for samples. Most of the maybe-free samples seems to be poor quality, specially compared to IMIS ones. Also, I've discovered that sometimes when people say "copyright free" they really mean "royalty free"...

It would be great to have at least a General MIDI set of instruments, so I've made a short (uncompleted) list of samples we already have (mainly from IMIS) that can be used on GM. There are comments below.

General MIDI melodic sounds


  1 Acoustic Piano -> IMIS Piano, Steinway & Sons
  5 Electric Piano 1 (Rhodes) -> Rhodes piano from freepats sf2 directory


 41 Violin -> IMIS Violin
 42 Viola -> IMIS Viola
 43 Cello -> IMIS Cello
 44 Double Bass -> IMIS Double Bass


 57 Trumpet -> IMIS Bb Trumpet
 58 Trombone -> IMIS Tenor Trombone (or IMIS Bass Trombone)
 59 Tuba -> IMIS Tuba
 61 French Horn -> IMIS French Horn


 65 Soprano saxophone -> IMIS Soprano Saxophone
 66 Alto saxophone -> IMIS Alto saxophone
 69 Oboe -> IMIS Oboe
 71 Basson -> IMIS Basson
 72 Clarinet -> IMIS Bb Clarinet (or IMIS Eb Clarinet)


 74 Flute -> IMIS Flute

Orchestral instruments are difficult to synthesize in a realistic manner, so it is good that we have the IMIS recordings for them. Anyway, there are still lots of orchestral instruments missing.

I've seen the Violin Con Sordino (Muted) on the sf2 dir of freepats site. Unfortunately, it can't be used because GM does not have a Muted Violin, but it does have a Muted Trumpet instead for which I was unable to found some decent patches :-(

AFAIK, General MIDI does not specify the sub-kind of instrument in some cases, so we have to choose. For example, GM Trombone can be taken from IMIS Tenor Trombone or Bass Trombone, and the same with Bb Clarinet and Eb Clarinet. The oppose happens for other instruments that have multiple kinds on different GM patches: Soprano saxophone, Alto saxophone, Tenor saxophone, Baritone saxophone. In this case more samples are needed as Tenor and Baritone are missing.

None of the samples are 192KHz, but at least having some good 44KHz samples to start is better than nothing. Mark said that current raw instruments on freepats GUS patches are mainly poor quality, I don't know if we can save some of them. For now, I haven't counted on them.

It is not much, only 16 melodic patches for now. I've not checked drums status.

The following is a list of GM instruments that can be synthesized from scratch. This is the case for all synth sounds on GM. In fact they need to be synthesized in some way, since there is no "real" analog instrument to record from ;-)


 39 Synth Bass 1
 40 Synth Bass 2


 51 Synth Strings 1
 52 Synth Strings 2
 55 Synth Voice


 63 Synth Brass 1
 64 Synth Brass 2

Synth Lead

 81 Lead 1 (square)
 82 Lead 2 (sawtooth)
 83 Lead 3 (calliope)
 84 Lead 4 (chiff)
 85 Lead 5 (charang)
 86 Lead 6 (voice)
 87 Lead 7 (fifths)
 88 Lead 8 (bass + lead)

Synth Pad

 89 Pad 1 (new age)
 90 Pad 2 (warm)
 91 Pad 3 (polysynth)
 92 Pad 4 (choir)
 93 Pad 5 (bowed)
 94 Pad 6 (metallic)
 95 Pad 7 (halo)
 96 Pad 8 (sweep)

Synth Effects

  97 FX 1 (rain)
  98 FX 2 (soundtrack)
  99 FX 3 (crystal)
100 FX 4 (atmosphere)
101 FX 5 (brightness)
102 FX 6 (goblins)
103 FX 7 (echoes)
104 FX 8 (sci-fi)

Sound Effects

Maybe sound effects (GM 121 to 128) can also synthesized. When making real records for effects there is a problem with multiple pitches. Different notes need to be artificially generated from the same recording. I think a synthesized noise will sound better at different notes for FX.

121 Guitar Fret Noise
122 Breath Noise: Should be easy to record a real one, but recording
the full set of different pitch breathings can be a challenge ;-)
123 Seashore
124 Bird Tweet
125 Telephone Ring: What kind of ring it sound should be? I don't
know, never used it... An old analog phone ring can be recorded, or it
should be easy to synthesize typical two tone ring produced by office
like phones.

126 Helicopter: OK, I understand that the applause, the guitar fret, and even the seashore can be useful for music, but I've always wondered about the usefulness of an helicopter noise as a standard instrument (?). Anyway, I guess it should be synthesized. 127 Applause 128 Gunshot

Other electric instruments on GM can be synthesized, I think. Some of the synthesized sounds can be directly taken from ZynAddSubFX examples. I think examples are also under GPL, as the program itself. Feel free to add (or change) things to this list by sending an email to roberto dot gordo at gmail dot com or markc at renta dot net.


Ben Collver has turned sfubar into a static-link library (.a archive), and made some small bug fixes for version 4 in the tools/ folder.


Added the tools/ folder and moved MidiComp into it and also downloaded Ben Collvers' (collver at peak dot org) sfubar code for manipulating sf2 soundfonts. Thanks Ben!


I've finished to upload all samples converted to flac. The size has been greatly reduced. We will ask authors to put them under a crearly free license; until then, files are distributed under the same notice that can be found on their original homepage. -- RGS


Created a folder to hold the Iowa Musical Instrument Samples from Thanks to Roberto Gordo Saez for his efforts to locate and process these samples.


Uploaded SF2 specs from Creative along with possibly free 8 to 9 year old soundfonts from HammerSound by Thomas Hammer. These soundfonts have been slightly renamed to make them linux friendly and repackaged into a bzip2 tarball as HS_Collection.tar.bz2. There are also 2 Piano soundfonts from the HammerSound library as examples for testing and comparing with new soundfonts. Their license is either unclear or non-existant so they are okay to use and probably safe to redistribute.


Downloaded samples for the Colombo Drumkit by Marcos Guglielmetti from into /musix/samples/drums.


A mailing-list for discussion has been created. You can sign up via the mailman web interface or send a message to freepats-subscribe at


Uploaded 2 GPL soundfonts from the Musix liveCD. We would be very interested if anyone could double check these soundofnts to confirm if they are completely GPL friendly.


A full 20 months after the last release of FreePats we are pleased to finally announce a new version with 15 new freely redistributable drum sounds. See Walts' folder for more info and click on the 20060219 tar.gz and zip files above to download.

Many thanks to (Walt Gregg) for uploading patches to fill out drumset 0 along with a well commented crude.cfg to take advantage of them (crude.cfg uses substitute instruments to fill out missing patches.) The original uploaded drumset instruments can be downloaded here.

The new patches are



Added the dollysoft folder after some communication with Andrey Masleyev regarding the usage of FreePats in his Tales Animator project.


We now have a license, the GPL with an exception. See the README file inside the freepats folder. Any comments or objections to the Wiki please. The tarball and zipfile have been updated with this license.


TAMUKI Shoichi has created a conventional folder and uploaded a pat set with the original 8.3 letter names.


008_Celesta.pat and 014_Tubular_Bells.pat have been added to the freepats collection. Updated missing pats at the end of the README file. There are two config files, one auto-generated with the contents of the freepats folder and another one, called "crude.cfg", which is an attempt to match some missing pats by doubling up from the ones already available. As the name suggests, it is a crude attempt at being able to use this set of pats "as is".


From Eric A Welsh: I was looking at the steel guitar today, and realized it was way too small. Somehow when editing files over the past who knows when, I copied an old backup guitar from Feb 2000 (780k) over the correct acguitar (2 megs). And, when I went to update FreePats, I noticed I got the names of the Nylon and Steel guitars switched (not the numbers, just the names). The acoustic guitars have been fixed now.


Eric has uploaded his first set of free GUS compatible patches. Check out the end of the freepats README to see what patches are still needed to complete a full GM set.

A huge thank you, I'm sure from everyone, to Eric for making the effort to go through his patch sets and provide these patches that are free of any copyright restrictions. We all owe you one...


From: Eric A. Welsh <ewelsh at ccb dot wustl dot edu>

I don't have the time to run an undertaking like this at the moment, but if you'd like to take a set of files I can currently say with certainty are clean and build from there, I could upload them some place and you could get the ball rolling. There are roughly 29 megs worth of free (non-Gravis, non-Roland, non-MAZ) instruments for which I know of no non-free restrictions placed on them. There are roughly 3.8 megs of Gravis instruments (~80 instruments) that I removed last night. I have not yet gone through the various drum and sound effect sets to clear them. Clearing the sound effects will require me to contact the MAZ maintainer and ask him if any of the samples may be infringing (I don't know, but being a directory called "maz" is suspicious, best to play it safe for now). So the 29 megs of clean instruments are just from the standard GM tone and drum bank 0 instruments, around 110 of them. I can add drumsets and sfx later as I clean them.