a very basic question about the relationship between Dynamics Lane and CC data

I just purchased BBC SO Pro. I’ve recorded a quick test using Realtime MIDI record of a string part that included CC1 data for expression (with the sound set to the BBC SO Pro Expression Map Dorico provided for strings). I see that slurs, pizz., staccato notes, etc. subsequently added to the score all change to the appropriate BBC SO string articulation on playback which is great. But what happens if I add a dynamic marking (such as “ppp”) to the actual score, or try moving the horizontal line in the Dynamics lane? Is this supposed to affect things? I ask because right now it doesn’t seem to do anything and I was wondering if there was a setting that affects the relationship between MIDI expression data recorded directly (and subsequently edited) such as CC11, CC1, CC7, etc.) and whether or not dynamic markings or changes to the Dynamics lane subsequently affect this.

I’m sure this is answered somewhere but just diving in now (so thanks in advance for any help!)

  • robjohn9999

Provided you have the appropriate expression map chosen, and the expression map specifies that dynamics should be controlled by a particular MIDI continuous controller, you will see the effect of the dynamics you have entered in Write mode in the profile shown both in the Dynamics lane and in the automation lane when you choose the specific controller in question.

I’ve loaded in a BBCSO pro violin and assigned it to the BBCSO Expression map for Strings. When I open the Expression Map assigned it says that it will default to controlling the volume dynamic with CC1 (which is also what I performed in when I first recorded my test). This plays back as would be expected in a typical DAW Piano Roll so all well so far. However, what I’m trying to figure out is: if I subsequently insert a “pp” dynamic indication in the score or try (after doing so) to move the horizontal line that’s created in the “Dynamics” window in Play Mode exaggeratedly up or down, etc., it seems to have no effect on the subsequent playback. So I’m again just trying to understand how the two things work together: if the dynamics (in terms of what is actually played back) is ONLY controlled by CC1 in this above example, or if there’s a setting to specify whether any CC1 data that was originally performed in is subsequently affected by things like dynamics symbols added to the score (or by moving the Dynamics line up or down, etc.) afterwards?

  • rj

Dorico translates the dynamics like pp into CC1 messages. If you view both the dynamics lane and the CC1 automation lane, you should see that the general profile of the CC1 data follows the dynamics data, though with a little more variation because the CC1 profile will show you the effects of the humanisation specified in Playback Options as well.

Here I find that the CC1 data recorded as part of a real time recording completely overrules whatever is added in the notation. As soon as a recorded segment in the CC1 lane ends, the notated dynamics take effect. So, in response to the thread title, there is no relationship, it’s either or… hope I’ve overlooked some setting somewhere…

I assume that as the BBC Core articulations are the same as the Pro that the EM’s regarding the Pro version will be also the same (of course Core has no programming for microphone positions) but can’t be 100% sure with John Barron’s as he hasn’t yet posted a Pro version https://blog.dorico.com/2020/07/spitfire-bbc-symphony-orchestra-templates/ This what I’m using with so far only minor modifications

Here the secondary controller (labelled as “expression” in the BBC player but actually just meaning volume) is used throughout mapped to CC11, normally with exact synchronisation to the primary dynamic controller which is CC1. As Daniel says, the dynamics lane and CC1 controller lane should be the same unless you have humanisation switched on (which I would not recommend for this library). The CC11 lane will also show the same in most cases but of course can and should be edited separately. With certain instruments, particularly the solo horn, it’s essential to be able to adjust dynamics and volume independently. If you’re not controlling “expression” through the EM — in other words not using the secondary dynamic controller – then dynamics will have little effect in some situations. I suspect that might be part of the problem?

There are plenty of demos of film/TV music produced with the BBC orchestra but I haven’t yet found a symphony. Here https://app.box.com/s/jam9ljfmkeegde4jjblqvdvfbn1423jn is an example of one which only took a few hours to produce from a Sibelius to Dorico conversion and gives an idea of how the library can sound though there is still plenty room for improvement as I learn more about it

Despite its name, the BBCSO doesn’t actually play many “symphonies” live. It mainly plays contemporary orchestral music of all genres (including film/TV scores of course).

In fact one of its principal players once complained in an interview that “as an orchestra, we can sight read any 20th century score that is put in front of us, but we don’t have a clue how to play Brahms.”

Just for clarity, I was referring to the behavior of recorded CC1 data in general, not the BBCSO in particular. (whenever you record something in real time and wiggle the Mod Wheel, Dorico will store it in the CC1 lane, even with the Silence template active…)

Of course I was referring to the virtual orchestra, not the actual one which I guess is most famous for the Proms. Nice quote, anyway!

But what I’m wondering is: what should happen to playback if I record using CC1 in realtime, then subsequently add an additional dynamics marking (like “pppp”) to the score? Right now doing so doesn’t seem to subsequently have any effect on the CC1 data already recorded (or on the actual sound of the playback) so I’m just trying to understand the “rules”.


  • rj

Right, as Frank has already said, if you record explicit CC1 data, that’s all that will be played. Dynamics you write in the score won’t take effect if they require changing CC1 to be audible. Explicit CC1 data takes precedence over everything automatically generated by Dorico.

Most of their work is studio recording sessions for the BBC, but the Proms are their main annual live concert season.

My point was that if somebody wants a sample library for the mainstream classical and romantic 18th/19th century orchestral repertoire, then choose an orchestra which actually plays that music regularly - and the BBCSO doesn’t.

I just tried recording via RealTime MIDI record a pizz string part, invoking the keyswitch for pizz prior to performance, then afterwards adding a “pizz” playing technique to the score. So far so good (plays back as performed in). Now, however, when I subsequently add a “p” dynamic to the score, the velocity data of this realtime MIDI performance IS affected by the dynamic symbol. Does this mean that the dynamics of a Realtime MIDI performance ONLY takes precedence when the dynamics are set to be controlled by CC1, but if the Expression Map is set to have velocity control the dynamics instead (as is the case with this “pizz” articulation), then a RealTime MIDI performance WILL be affected after the fact by adding a dynamic indication? I just want to make sure I have straight the “rules” :slight_smile:

  • rj

Actually, although the BBC SO has a firm committent to 20th century and contemporary music as you say, they also play (or used to) plenty of mainstream stuff as any look at their concert repertoire will quickly show. Anyway, if I wanted something that plays like the VSL SE, then I already have it! To me, the BBC brings something new to the table although I suspect some of the articulations were chosen particularly with filmic music in mind.

Played around with this. With pizz, John’s EM which I referred to earlier sets the primary controller to velocity just as you have done. Therefore playing live, your velocities are faithfully recorded. If you add a p to the score, then the dynamics are scaled down but the relative values are retained.

By the way, apologies that my initial post didn’t take account of the specific situation of playing live. I initially misread it.

So do I have this right?:

Record live with CC1 set to control playback of dynamics in instrument’s Expression Map: adding dynamics to score afterwards will not further affect notes that also have CC1 data recorded

Record live with velocity set to control playback of dynamics in instrument’s Expression Map: adding dynamics to score afterwards will scale velocity appropriately to the dynamic symbol

Step enter score with dynamic symbols added to the score - automatic interpretation according to playback settings of all dynamics

Edit the step-entered score by drawing in points in the Dynamic Lane in Play Mode - affects all dynamics played back correspondingly

Edit the step-entered score by drawing (or performing in) CC data - takes precedence for those moments over all other dynamics


  • rj

Since it is possible to draw in the dynamics lane, I would prefer to use that one for micro-editing. Editing in the CC1 lane would do the same, but if I change the expression map, and the new map uses a different CC, I guess I would lose all my editing.

Also, working in the dynamics lane for dynamics would leave some other essential controller (for example, attack time) accessible in parallel.


I think my issue can be related to this one, so I’ll post here.

I’m trying to draw in the dynamics lane, with both the Line and Draw tools. However, after I’ve drawn something, Dorico changes the existing curves in a way I can’t understand (and is not what I wanted). What I drew, and what Dorico did, are shown in separate, overlapping curves. Grid resolution is 1/32th.


What’s happening?


You should edit the existing points rather than adding new ones in that situation.

yes, that’s correct from my experience. But it has prompted me to bring up something that’s increasingly starting to irritate. When you return to the Play window after switching to another, the same tool is active as the last time. Whether it should be reset to select or not is a debatable issue but what happens is that the icon is reset to select but the actual tool is not. If this can be confirmed, then it’s not surprising that some of us get confused and what Paolo has show is something I myself see far too often! I’m now wondering if this is something that has slipped in quite recently such as with 3.5.10 or later as I don’t remember being bothered by it before (the earliest versions of 3 had different tooltip issues)?