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Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra

Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra (SSO) is a free library of sampled orchestral instruments. The original version was created by Mattias Westlund in 2011, and quickly earned a following for its excellent quality and wide selection of instruments. This repository hosts the ongoing development of the library. Mattias is no longer directly involved (although he has given his permission for continuing to develop it) and has not personally reviewed all of the changes. In other words, don't email him with questions about it!

Download SSO

The instruments are packaged in SFZ format. They can be used with any compatible player, such as Linux Sampler, Sforzando, and ARIA Player.


SSO includes the following instruments and articulations:


Instrument Articulations
1st Violins Sustain, Marcato, Staccato, Pizzicato, Tremolo
2nd Violins Sustain, Marcato, Staccato, Pizzicato, Tremolo
Violas Sustain, Marcato, Staccato, Pizzicato
Cellos Sustain, Marcato, Staccato, Pizzicato
Basses Sustain, Marcato, Staccato, Pizzicato
Solo Violin Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)
Solo Violin 2 Sustain, Sustain non-vibrato, Marcato, Marcato non-vibrato, Spiccato, Pizzicato, Tremolo
Solo Cello Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)


Instrument Articulations
Trumpets Sustain (looped, non-looped), Marcato (looped, non-looped), Staccato
French Horns Sustain (looped, non-looped), Marcato (looped, non-looped), Staccato
Trombones Sustain (looped, non-looped), Marcato (looped, non-looped), Staccato
Tuba Sustain (looped, non-looped), Marcato (looped, non-looped), Staccato
Solo Trumpet Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)
Solo French Horn Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)
Solo Tenor Trombone Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)
Solo Bass Trombone Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)


Instrument Articulations
Flutes Sustain (looped, non-looped), Marcato (looped, non-looped), Staccato
Oboes Sustain (looped, non-looped)
Clarinets Sustain (looped, non-looped)
Bassoons Sustain (looped, non-looped)
Solo Piccolo Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)
Solo Flute Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)
Solo Alto Flute Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)
Solo Cor Anglais Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)
Solo Oboe Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)
Solo Clarinet Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)
Solo Bass Clarinet Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)
Solo Bassoon Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)
Solo Contrabassoon Sustain (non-looped, looped, decay)

Pitched Percussion

Instrument Variations
Timpani Right hand hits, Left hand hits, Rolls
Glockenspiel -
Xylophone -
Chimes -


Instrument Variations
Bass Drum Soft hit, Hard hit
Snare Drum Left hand hit, Right hand hit, Roll
Cymbals Hit, 4 Rolls
Conga Muffled, Open, Slap
Bar Chimes 3 Variations
Tamtam 3 Variations
Triangle Mute, Half-open, Open, Roll
Tambourine Soft hit, Hard hit, Shake, Roll
Wood Blocks High, Low
Cabasa 2 Variations
Shaker 3 Variations
Sleigh Bells Soft hit, Hard hit
Castanets 2 Variations
Ratchet -
Vibraslap -
Bell Tree -


Instrument Articulations
Grand Piano -
Concert Harp -
Chorus Male (looped, non-looped), Female (looped, non-looped)

Instruments with multiple articulations are packaged in two ways. Use whichever one is more convenient for your workflow.

  • As a separate SFZ instrument for each articulation.
  • As a keyswitched instrument with all articulations in a single file. You can switch between articulations by pressing keys outside the range of the instrument.

Most solo instruments have three versions:

  • A non-looped version that simply plays each sample once. This gives the most natural sound, but sets a strict limit on how long any note can be held.
  • A looped version that can be held indefinitely, but sounds less natural than the non-looped version.
  • A looped version that adds a gradual decay and gentle modulation. This tries to give a more natural sound than the simple looped version, but still not place a strict limit on how long notes can be held.

There are two different solo violin instruments. One has the standard three versions listed above. The other has many more articulations, but does not offer a looped version. The sustained notes are held long enough that the lack of looping is usually not a problem.

Marcato articulations use the mod wheel (MIDI control channel 1) to adjust the strength of the initial attack. This lets you smoothly blend between a gentle sustain and a strong marcato.

Technical Details

All samples are stereo, 16 bit, 44 kHz. Most instruments are sampled in minor 3rds. Staccato and pizzicato articulations use 2x round robin.

Most samples have only a small amount of reverb baked into them, so adding a realistic reverb is important for producing a good overall sound. Given that the samples came from a variety of different sources, this is also important for making them sound like a unified orchestra.


SSO may be used and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 license.

Mattias Westlund included the following statement with SSO 1.0 regarding the sources and licensing of the samples:

SSO was created from the following free/CC-licensed/public domain instrument samples: The University of Iowa MIS, MSLP, Philharmonia samples, OLPC project, The Complete K2000, ldk1609 violin, stamperadam Kelon Xylophone, Corsica_S Cello Pizzicato, davidjwoll cymbal rolls, Satoration Castanets, Thores Triangle, Mystified timpani, Eddie's English Horn and a variety of classic soundfonts by Campbell Barton, Nando Florestan, and Ethan Winer.

In the case of a few very old soundfonts I have no idea who the original authors were or what licensing might apply. But as these files have been modified by different people and included in countless GM banks and other soundfont compilations over the last decade, I'm assuming that they are to be considered public domain or at least free to use for sampling projects.

I have done my very best to avoid samples of questionable legality, but as it is impossible for me to know the exact origin of everything (i.e. I have no way of knowing if a soundfont labeled as "public domain" isn't actually sampled from a proprietary source), I would appreciate if you let me know if you find anything fishy.

Related Projects

SSO was the first high quality, free orchestral library. More recently, a few others have become available. Each one has its own sound, so try them all out.


Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra




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