Friday, April 13, 2018

Merrie Minstrels III: Bittersweet Symphony

Important update 4/27/2018: with I changed the sort order of the accessories in the catalog so that they appear with the other Merrie Minstrels projects.

Happy weekend, all.

So I'm not sure whether to consider this a series with long intervals between updates, or three separate one-offs, but here we are.

The Merrie Minstrels and Merrie Minstrels II: Meríminsutoreru are among my most popular and well-received projects. Everybody seems to enjoy the music-related projects, and they are great resources for storytellers.

Merrie Minstrels III is a bit more modern-ish and includes everything you need to set up a symphony orchestra.


So I'm not a music guy. I don't consider myself any kind of authority on the classical music, or  on the instruments included in this set. That said, I put in a ton of research to make sure that the depiction, playing style, and proportions of each instrument are accurate.

There's an excellent introductory YouTube series to instruments by the Philharmonia Orchestra of London HERE.

This set comes in three parts: Objects, accessories, and poses (plus a collection file). The objects include a bass drum, a timpani set, a snare drum, a xylophone, a glockenspiel, a music stand, and a conductor's podium with a posing slot. Unlike the previous sets, I haven't included deco versions of the smaller instruments or "travel" accessories, as this set isn't really intended to be portable.

This set is intended to be basic (as opposed to comprehensive). I know that there are some pieces missing to make it a full orchestra. The woodwinds are missing a piccolo, an oboe, and a contrabassoon. The horns are missing a flugelhorn, a baritone horn, and a euphonium. The percussion section is missing a marimba, a vibraphone, and so on. All I can say is that I don't have the skill to freehand thee objects myself and so I have to work with the free 3D models on the interwebz.

The accessories and poses are for YA-Elder, both genders, only. The instruments can be used with everything except underwear and swimwear. They're binned using NixNivis's/my binning system (Swords for Morgaine/The Armory) as opposed to my binning system (Project 2395/Outdoor Adventures/Midnight at...) either as right hand or left hand accessories, as appropriate.

The poses are grouped by type: conductor overlays, woodwind overlays, horn overlays, string overlays, string poses, percussion poses, and lower body overlays. The upper body overlays can be used alone or combined with lower body overlays. They essentially “lock” all the joints from the waist to the shoulder in place, leaving the lower torso and head and neck free. They can also be used with regular Maxis walking animations. The lower body overlays allow the Sims to stand or sit while using the instrument poses. The poses are for use with the cello (in sitting position) and the percussion objects.

Zara A. for the conductor's podium and baton objects.
Chris for the clarinet object.
Collin Bachet for the bassoon model.
Eduard T for the flute model.
hypnagogia for the violin and cello models
3D Cadnav for the trumpet, music stand and xylophone models.
Matthew K for the trombone model.
Joey for the french horn model.
gladiomir for the tuba model.
turgut G for the glockenspiel model.
James Moffat for the snare drum and drumstick models.
Flamingheart for the bass drum model.

Additional credits (Clothing and stuff)
The Concert Hall lot was created by Noie at MTS
The snazzy tuxes the gents are wearing are by SimsCorner and can be found on All About Style.
Buy Mode:
Bass Drum
Catalog: Deco/ sculpture. §3115
Polys: High
Recolorable subsets: Base, drumhead
Notes: The bass drum is the master object for the other percussion peices in the set

Timpani set
Catalog: Deco/ sculpture. §2365
Polys: High
Recolorable subsets: Base, drumhead

Catalog: Deco/ sculpture. §1973
Polys: Medium
Recolorable subsets: Keys

Catalog: Deco/ sculpture. §3204
Polys: Very high
Recolorable subsets: Keys

Music stand
Catalog: Deco/ sculpture. §115
Polys: High
Recolorable subsets: Sheet
Notes: This object is place-anywhere

Condustor's Podium
Catalog: Deco/ misc. §2150
Polys: High
Recolorable subsets: Base, rail
Notes: The object has a built-in slot for posing your conductor. To enable the slot, use the move_objects on cheat.


These are the custom accessory thumbnails, as they appear in CAS:

For this set, I created a brand new posebox.

Overlays and poses

The overlays are special poses that only "lock" selected joints. All of the conductor, string, horn, and woodwind poses (with the exception of the sitting cello poses) are upper body overlays. These overlays can be used in conjunction with regular Maxis walking animations, or with the lower body overlays.

There are four lower body overlays: sitting, standing (centered), standing (right leg forward), and standing (left leg forward). The standing overlays are intended to be used in conjunction with the contrabass, standing cello, and conductor overlays. The sitting overlay is intended to be used with the horn, woodwind, violin, and viola overlays.

The sitting cello poses and all of the percussion poses are full-body poses.

Conductor overlays

Overlays used to conduct the orchestra.

Woodwind overlays

Overlays for the woodwind instruments.

Horn overlays

Overlays for the horn instruments.

String overlays and poses

Overlays for the stringed instruments.

Percussion poses

Full-body poses for the percussion instruments. The snare drum is played with thee drumstick accessory, and the other objects use the percussion mallet accessory.

To take us out, here's the Elysetown Philharmonic playing "Ode to Joy".

Q: So where are the teen accessories, J?

A: This project was stupid hard. Like, so hard that most Simmers' brains would explode if they attempted it. I put about a hundred hours into everything you're seeing here. So, nah, no teen accessories for now. If there is a skilled pose/accessory maker out there who feels up to the challenge of converting them, be my guest.

Q: Where's my (insert instrument name here)? I wanted a (insert instrument name again).

A: I included the absolute best 3D models I could find for this project. I found a few models of other instruments, but they didn't live up to my exacting standards. I'm no slouch with Blender, but I have nowhere near the skill I would need to freehand the meshes.

Q: Why did you make them as Body Shop accessories? Why didn't you make them as Decorgal-style props that can be spawned in the sim's hand?

A: As a good friend once said, I'm no Decorgal. I *could* have done it that way, but the project would have taken me two months instead of two weeks.

Q: Do you have any future plans for the Merrie Minstrels project?

A: Eeerm, possibly. I mean, I still have some meshes I haven't used yet, and the meshes and accessories in this set are a good start for a marching band. Other ideas include moar medieval-ish instruments, and some sci-fi type stuff. I'll probably upload a Part 4 in another year or so at the rate I complete these projects.

Q: Do you plan on adding (name of artist/musical instrument) to this collection?

A: The short answer is no. I don't take requests per se, but if you have a favorite deco instrument out there, I'll have a look at it and consider it for future projects.

The file is massive; even Compressorized and .rar'd, it's about 17 mb. The instruments are organized into folders, so you can keep only the ones you want or the entire set. 


  1. Looks incredible, (like all of your projects!). Thank you for all the hard work you put into this. It was definitely worth it.

    1. :O I'm not worthy. Come back to us; we miss your stories.

      I appreciate the praise. Thanks for your feedback.

  2. La palabra en español para este trabajo es: ¡Excelso!

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Gracias. Ojalá que valió el tiempo de espera; fue bastante difícil ejecutar. :)

  3. I have no doubt this project took 100 hours! So many instruments and poses and overlays! Oh, my! Thank you! It all looks A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!

    1. Hi, Xia! I'm glad you like it. And yes, like all the Merrie Minstrels projects, it was insanely time-consuming, but worth it!

  4. Magnifico! These instruments and poses all put together are amazing! A lovely modern-day complement to the Asian and Medieval instruments made previously :D. I saw glimpses of you working, so I'd believe the 100 hours of effort. These instruments are beautifully detailed, and the poses are accurate for how they would be played.

    Thank you so much for putting so much effort into this :)

    1. Hey, there! I was really pleased with the results.

      These projects are aggravatingly difficult, from converting the models to coordinating the accessories with the poses. I think it took me four tries to get the flute right.

      I'm not very music-oriented myself, so a lot of research went into watching how each instrument is played so I could make the poses accurately. I think in that respect the French horn is really interesting; the keys are played with the left hand and the right hand acts kind of as a natural mute.

      As I said before, I'm really happy with the outcome. The Merrie Minstrels projects take a lot out of me (which is why I only manage to do about one a year), but I'm always amazed by the overwhelming positive feedback I receive. Thank you for commenting. :)

  5. WOW!! You've outdone yourself this time, J - this set is incredible! :O I know how mush work and hair-pulling that must have gone into this, and as someone who *is* a music person, I really, really appreciate the attention to detail. It makes me extra happy to see my old friend the clarinet in there. :) (I used to play as a hobby until MS borked my arm.)

    But now I've got "Bittersweet Symphony" playing on repeat in my head, thank you very much for that. :P

    1. Hi, Nix!

      I have a love/hate relationship with the Merrie Minstrels projects. On the one hand, they're incredibly time-consuming and I have to do some of the pieces over and over again until they come out right. This is why I only manage to get done about one every year.

      On the other hand, they are incredibly useful as storytelling props, and everyone seems to love them.

      I'm sorry you're not able to play anymore. I think this set is more relatable than the other two because most of us have had band class at one time or another. I took a couple of years of trombone in 5th/6th grade, but I was no earthly good at it.

      And yeah. I thought long and hard about the subtitle for this set, and "Bittersweet Symphony" was what came to mind. That song is insidiously catchy, isn't it?

  6. Wow!!!! I can't imagine getting so many Sims posing in perfect unison. This is amazing!!!! I love the entire set. epo

  7. Hi, epo! I'm glad you like it. I think that photoshoot took about 2 1/2 hours, start to finish.

  8. THIS IS SO FLIPPING FANTASTIC! I can't sing praises enough for the work you've done on this. I've played in orchestra for so many years and so personally sims always felt kind of empty in the music department. This is a game changer and as you mentioned, a great addition to what storytellers can use for images. I very much intend to use the Bittersweet Symphony Set and link back to here when the pictures start rolling. Very excited to see how others use this set too! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

    1. Hi, there. I'm glad you like it. That was always one of my pet peeves; the range of instruments that comes packaged with the game is limited.

      If you post a story or some pictures, I'd love to see it. Please do send a link when you can.

  9. Well, I am seeing this project for the first time (thanks to another kind simmer linking to it over at MTS), and must say that this is ridiculously fantastic! I was very much an orchestra brat in my teens/early 20's, and look forward to lining my classical music loving sims walls with images from their 'performances'.

    Thank you for all of the hard work, and have a great rest of the week! :)

    1. Hi, PenelopeT! Welcome to my blog, and I'm glad you like the set. I had a few hair-pulling moments making it, but I'm really happy with the results. Enjoy!

  10. This set is absolutely magnificent! I am in awe of your talent and creativity; it's obvious how much time and attention to detail that you put into this project. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful gift with us.

    1. Hi, there! I'm not sure how much credit I can take; I owe a lot to the original creators of the models I converted.But I did my best to get the details (size, proportion, playing technique and so on) as accurate as possible. Thank you for your feedback.

  11. Oh my gosh
    You have brought tears of joy yo my eyes.
    I have been scouring the webs for years now, hoping that somewhere, someone has put together a full orchestra and/or a Mariachi band. And here is an orchestra.
    If you were female I'd give you a big wet slobbery kiss. *lol*

    MUCHAS GRACIAS! THANK YOU! Gingerton finally has an orchestra!

    1. Hi, HB!

      I'm always floored by the outpouring of support and praise I get for the Merrie Minstrels projects. If they weren't so damn hard to do, I would make them more often. I'm glad you like it. Enjoy!

      And did someone say... Mariachi? Keep your eyes peeled for the next 3-4 weeks.

  12. Thank you very much for your contribution, very good work, you could tell me with what software I can start your project.

  13. Hi, there. Thank you for the feedback. I'm sorry, but I don't think I understand the question.

    1. Hola. mi pregunta es como puedo instalar orquesta, que programas necesito instalar para poder visualizarla, no se como hacerlo, solo encontre su pagina en internet, gracias

    2. Hay un enlace al fondo de la publicación que dice "Download Merrie Minstrels III: Bittersweet Symphony". Haz clic en ese enlace y podrás bajar el archivo. Requiere que tengas Los Sims 2 instalado, y todo el contenido del archivo se coloca en tu carpeta "Downloads".

  14. These pictures are so shocking, every little detail is perfect, thanks to the hard work of the bloggers