8vb treble clef playback

Hello all,

I’m learning Dorico by putting together a barbershop quartet arrangement. I used the “Barbershop Quartet” template to create a new project, and it set up the score appropriately, with Tenor and Lead singers’ parts written on 8vb treble clefs and Baritone and Bass parts on standard bass clefs, as is typical; that’s all good.

However, the Lead (and only the Lead) plays back as if written on a standard, non-8vb treble clef; it is playing an octave higher than it should.

Where should I look, to get Dorico to play back the lead line in its correct octave?


You need to assign the voices in the 8vb clefs to sounds already transposed down an octave, as the Tenor sample in Halion is. (There may be a way of transposing other sounds down an octave in the Halion player, but I have not investigated this).

This approach has caused some comment in both directions, since assigning a Tenor voice to a Bass clef (in hymnal notation, for example) results in the opposite problem.

You can transpose the notes by an octave in playback by assigning an appropriate expression map in Play mode.

First go to Play > Expression Maps Setup, and in the list of expression maps on the left-hand side, choose ‘Transpose up 1 octave’, then click the Duplicate button to make a new expression map based on this one, and call it e.g. ‘Transpose down 1 octave’. Change ‘Transpose’ from 12 to -12. Click OK to confirm your edits.

Next, click the little cog icon next to the ‘HALion Sonic SE 2’ entry in the VST Instruments rack on the right-hand side in Play mode, and from there you can choose the expression map associated with each channel in the player. If your tenor voice is using e.g. channel 3, then choose ‘Transpose down 1 octave’ as the expression map for that channel.

Unless I’m misunderstanding the issue, there’s an easier way to have playback be an octave lower:
In Play Mode, click the ‘e’ on the right, select the correct track (in the Barbershop template, the Lead is the second track), and turn the Octave knob down.

Your window might look a bit differently, as I updated to the Halion Sonic SE 3, but the knob should be there.

This almost worked as you’ve described; for whatever reason, Dorico wouldn’t allow me to change the transposition number from 12 to -12. I had to click the lock icon at the top right of the dialog, after which I could type “-12” into the “Transpose” field, but upon clicking either “OK” or the lock icon (after moving focus away from the “Transpose” field), the change would not save. The next time I went back into the expression map setup dialog and selected “Transpose down 1 octave”, the “Transpose” field would say “12” again.

I worked around this by simply creating a new expression map from scratch, so now I have a map that does transpose correctly. Thanks!

Yow! Yes, this is pretty shocking — I would not expect the transposition to be happening at the level of the sampler. I would expect the note on the page to sound as written, for the given clef! (Leaving aside a few instruments like piccolo for which there’s a well established precedent to do otherwise.)

See Daniel’s comments on this thread for why this is: https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=246&t=113251