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Use multiple SoundFonts to reduce traffic

since 1.1.0

Since alphaTab v1.1 you can load multiple soundfonts into alphaTab depending on the needs of the song loaded. This guide will show you how to setup alphaTab in a way that it loads only individual soundfonts from the server depending on the ones needed by the loaded score.


Detect in the scoreLoaded event which midi programs your tracks need, load the SoundFonts manually via Ajax and use api.loadSoundFont(data, true) with the second parameter to true to load multiple soundfonts into the synthesizer for playback.

Data Preparation

First we need to slice down our SoundFont into smaller chunks. We will use Polyphone a free SoundFont editor to do this.

The slicing that makes sense, strongly depends on what kind of music pieces you plan to offer to your users. For simplicity in this example we will just slice the soundfont into 2 files:

  1. sonivox-main.sf2 containing all guitars (midi 24-31) and drums
  2. sonivox-others.sf2 containing the other files

You can of course go that far to put each instrument into an own file. A typical music piece usually will not contain more than 4-5 different instruments which should still allow fast download of the files. Modern browser limit the number of concurrent requests to the server, so you might slow down the data loading.

First we make 2 copies of the main soundfont file and rename them as above.

Then we open the first file in Polyphone, and select all presets beside 000:24-000:31 and 128:000, right-click them and request deletion:

After that we clean from the instruments all entries which are not used in the presets. This is quite easy, we can select all instruments and request deletion, Polyphone will not delete the ones which are in use

And we do the same with the samples group, select all and hit delete. After that you can save the file.

With the second file we do it reverse: we delete the presets 000:24-000:31 and 128:000 and keep the rest. And now we have one small and one larger file:

Setup alphaTab

Now we need to hook into some alphaTab events to load the right soundfonts when they are needed. The example below will already give some hints on how you might want to manage the downloads.

<div>Progress <span id="progressValue">0%</div>
<button id="playPause" disabled="disabled">Play/Pause</button>
<div id="alphaTab"></div>
<script type="text/javascript">
const el = document.querySelector('#alphaTab');
const playPause = document.querySelector('#playPause');
const at = new alphaTab.AlphaTabApi(el, {
file: '',
player: {
enablePlayer: true
playPause.onclick = e => {

const progress = new Map();
function updateLoadingIndicator() {
let loaded = 0;
let total = 0;
progress.forEach(value => {
loaded += value.loaded;
total +=;

document.querySelector('#progressValue').innerText = Math.floor( (loaded / total) * 100 ) + '%';
if(total === loaded) {

function loadSoundFont(url) {
// only load once
if(progress.has(url)) {

// assume 100KB as avg. size before we actually know it.
progress.set(url, { loaded: 0, total: 100 * 1024});

// load via ajax
const request = new XMLHttpRequest();'GET', url, true);
request.responseType = 'arraybuffer';
request.onload = () => {
const buffer = new Uint8Array(request.response);
at.loadSoundFont(buffer, true);
request.onprogress = e => {
progress.set(url, e);

// when a score is loaded, trigger load of soundfonts depending on programs.
at.scoreLoaded.on(score => {
score.tracks.forEach(track => {
const program = track.playbackInfo.program;
if(track.playbackInfo.primaryChannel === 9 /* drums */ || (program >= 24 && program <= 31)) {
} else {

Let's recap what we're doing here. First we setup alphaTab with the player enabled but no SoundFont configured yet. Then we add a handler to the scoreLoaded event which will be fired when a new music piece was loaded. Then we will inspect the midi programs of the individual tracks and dynamically initiate the loading of the SoundFonts.

The SoundFont loader uses a Map to avoid multiple loading of SoundFonts and keep track of the overall download progress. In simple words: The loadSoundFont loads a soundfont if needed, reports the progress and initiates a SoundFont load in alphaTab once downloaded. The important aspect is the second parameter of the loadSoundFont which indicates that the presets from the soundfont should be added and not replaced.

If we check the logic with two different files, one with guitar only, the other with a mix of instruments, we can see how only the required soundfonts are loaded.