Synfire organizes Sounds in a hierarchy of categories that denote the type of instrument they are resembling. Sound categorization has clear advantages.

  1. Browsing large collections of sounds is easier.
  2. Categories provide default Playing Ranges, so if you assign a category to a sound or instrument, it will assume its playing ranges, unless specific ranges are already assigned.
  3. Synfire can automatically find a replacement if a sound is not currently available. This happens, for example, when a file was created by another user or in a different studio.
  4. Sounds can be previewed with a custom Phrase that was assigned to their category.

For synthetic or abstract sounds, it is sometimes not obvious which category to assign. In that case you should assign a category that comes close to the role a sound would take on in an arrangement. For example, if a synthetic sound is great in the lower pitch range, you may want to assign it the category Synth Bass.


An Instrument uses the category of the Sound currently assigned to it (default), until you override this setting in an Arrangement or anywhere else an instrument can be configured.

Note: The category tree of Synfire cannot replace the sophisticated sound matching and browsing schemes many plug-ins have to offer. The main purpose of a category is to find replacements for a missing sound and provide Synfire with a hint how a sound is expected to be played.