Hey all! I’ve got a long post for you to read - there is a TLDR at the bottom with the short versions of all of my questions - for more info feel free to read these longer sections!
I’ve gone relatively quiet lately - I thought I had all of this figured out, but was on vacation for about two weeks and for the sake of hard drive space just used default libraries so that I would not have to carry my external drives with me to load the plethora of libraries that I’ve downloaded in the last few weeks.
I recently signed up for EWQL’s Composer Cloud subscription, which EXCELLENTLY has provided me access to some fantastic instruments which I can (in theory) use to make my pieces of music sound FAR more realistic, and that is wonderful - however, I’m having some issues with some libraries (particularly ones that I have downloaded from other users forum posts) that I can’t seem to solve. I’ve decided to take on the task of building out expression maps/percussion maps/playback templates for all of these instruments myself so that I may most simply make use of the instruments that I have access to in a way that works for my brain and is easy to remember.
I’ll first start with the issue that I’ve experienced with the downloaded maps from other users:
For some reason, when downloading (and setting up, I think properly) the expression maps/playback templates that I’ve downloaded (specifically for the Hollywood Orchestra Brass and Woodwind libraries, haven’t even made it to percussion or strings yet) Dorico does not seem to interpret them correctly. I have strange issues where I will install the doricolib files and setup playback templates and expression maps as notated in the “read me” files that come with the downloads but upon actual playback in practice does not properly emulate things like note duration, articulations, etc.
My thought is that perhaps those EMs and PTs (hope those abbreviations make sense) were perhaps designed on an older version of Dorico or were designed with the “Play” version of EQWL rather than the Opus one. I also do not typically use ALL of the key switches that are listed. These issues have led me to believe that since I cannot find/download one that works as expected, creating my own would work best.
So, I suppose I’m relatively new to this whole thing. I’ve been composing and arranging for many years now, since High School, and have used various programs but to be quite honest (before Dorico at least) I spent most of my time in MuseScore. As a former High School teacher, I often wrote music for my own marching band (and some friends) and mainly used MS to do that, but was quite fluent in Finale during college years as well. This, though, as I’m ramping up in my composing and looking to branch out and explore this more as a career option, is the first time that I’ve ever delved into the world of sampling and these incredible sample libraries. In looking to potentially create some sort of online portfolio where I can share my arrangements and compositions with potential clients, I want to provide as high quality of a mockup as possible without the use of a DAW.
Which leads me to my ongoing battles with Expression Maps/Percussion Maps/Playback Templates.
So, I thought I had correctly followed steps to create Expression Maps for some of the instruments, but ended up experiencing some similar issues to those experienced while working with the pre-downloaded ones. I am 100% certain that these issues are operator error and that somewhere along the line I am misinterpreting a step or something, leading me to not be able to correctly situate the map.
If someone is able to provide a step by step (I tried looking through the official Dorico Material/other forum posts and couldn’t find something that exactly worked) just to let me know exactly what is the expectation, that would be INCREDIBLY helpful in my process and MUCH appreciated. At this point, I am committed to the undeniably long-winded experience of creating all of these maps for myself, but to be honest I think I just lack the knowledge to do it without a little bit of assistance.
Secondarily, I’m also wondering if it has something to do with the way that I am setting up my VST instances. A colleague of mine had suggested setting each instrument up in its own VST instance, but he works primarily in DAWs (Logic, to be specific). I am wondering if, with EWQL and the Opus player, this is the correct course of action. I believe with relative simplicity (and the use of a dedicated playback template, once I get it fully set up of course) I should in theory be able to use fewer instances of Opus by assigning MIDI channels rather than by setting up individual instances, but I’m not sure if this is actually possible or not (I know with some libraries, BBCSO for example, it is not).
Lastly, I’m wondering how I can correctly identify/set up which MIDI CC # to control dynamics with per patch. There is a section in the Opus window which shows the assigned MIDI Control #'s, but I’m not quite sure what they mean. I don’t have a mod wheel on my keyboard, so from what I am aware of I believe that my dynamics should be controlled by CC11 which is assigned to “expression”. Is this correct?
If you’ve made it this far, you are truly a lifesaver for me - I’ve been teaching for a few years now and have stepped down to a lower position at a middle school in order to afford more time in my personal life to further a career as a composer, and I love everything that Dorico has offered me thus far in terms of creativity, comfortability, usability, and PARTICULARLY with the workflow. I have saved COUNTLESS hours of editing due to the sufficiently streamlined workflow in comparison to other programs that I have used, and for that reason I cannot bear to switch back to any other program. My only roadblock now is getting the sound to properly emulate what I’ve written. TLDR below in case you don’t want to read everything else:
- Expression Maps and Playback Templates that I’ve downloaded haven’t seemed to work and have provided weird playback issues (see above), and I want to take on the task of building my own but I haven’t been quite able to follow the available guides on how to do it - I’m hoping someone can provide a step by step guide to help me through that process (with as much or as little detail as you feel necessary)
- I’m not sure if for East West Quantum Leap’s Opus player I am setting up my VST instances correctly. A colleague who composes for film and primarily uses a DAW sets up an instance for each instrument (which is what I have been attempting to do), but I’m wondering if that is the best (and easiest) course of action or if I should set up an instance of Opus with multiple MIDI channels and route different instruments to them that way, ending up with less instances of Opus for the same amount of instruments.
- Particularly for the EWQL libraries (and the Hollywood Orchestra specifically) I’m having difficulties identifying (and understanding) what MIDI CC are for/what they do. I can’t seem to make my custom maps/templates properly convey dynamics using either CC1 or CC11, which is likely user error. I don’t have a mod wheel, so presumably dynamics cannot be controlled via CC1 regardless, but I’m not sure what the correct action is.
Again, thank you all so much for reading. I know I’ve typed a lot here… I don’t mean to overshare, but I want to make sure I provide the necessary context to make you all aware of the issues that I’m trying to overcome in order to complete my experience with this great program.