Arco playback technique cancels muted technique


I’m working on a score where the strings switch back and forth from arco to pizz several times, all while muted

It seems that whenever I insert arco, that causes the articulation to go back to natural or legato if there is a slur, when it should be muted or legato + muted. So I have to put “mute on” every time I put arco.

Is this a known bug?

No. It’s a mistake in your Expression Map.
To help further you’d need to upload a project that shows the problem.

For something like Opus, IF you are using the master KS patches it is pretty easy because the MIDI channels don’t change and the mute is done by a separate MIDI CC (#15). In a case like that, just make sure that the expression map entries for mute on and mute off are add-ons. The pizz/arco/legato will change the KS sure, but not the CC #15 value. (Or at least it should - pay attention to what else the “natural” technique might also be resetting. You may want to move some of that to the “init” entry.)

If you didn’t create the mute as an add-on, then the arco will override the mute entry, and you won’t (or may not) get the behavior you intend.

If you use separate channels for any patches, it can be a different thing. Same general ideas but the expression map has to work with the idiosyncrasies of your setup like Janus said.

Thanks for your replies.

I’m using NotePerformer and the expression map that it comes with. Version 31.

I see that there is a base switch for muted, and one for pizz, and one for muted+pizz. I don’t see an arco switch, the arco playback technique seems to trigger the “natural” switch, which sets all related MIDI controllers back to 0. Is that the problem?

I can’t test NP, but it is the behavior I would expect with a map like you describe. Not sure I’d personally want to mess with the NP map’s behavior too much… Maybe create a new arco-mute PT? if you don’t want to bother performers, use a display text for the pt as just “arco” after being selected, so that only you know the difference in the key editor’s pt lane?

Yea, right now I’m just putting a hidden “mute” PT with every new arco. It works for now.

Thanks for your help!

I’ve run into the same problem and solved it the same way you did. The problem is that the arco playing technique triggers the “bowed” playback technique, which is an alias for the “natural” playback technique, which resets all of the CC’s used by NotePerformer to zero. This is why the muted playback technique disappears.

I’ve tried several ways to get around this, such as editing CC’s in play mode and adding new playing techniques, but I’ve been unsuccessful. Someone with more Expression Map/Playing Technique/Playback Technique savvy than I have might be able to come up with a nice solution.

The real root of the problem is that “muted” isn’t really a playing technique — it’s a physical alteration of the instrument. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the instrument is played. When you put the mute on, you play the instrument exactly the same as you would if the mute were off. Other examples of playing techniques that are really physical alterations are snare drum snare on/off, and vibraphone motor on/off/speed, to name just a couple.

I think it would be great if, in some future version of Dorico, the playback technique mechanism could be modified so that playing techniques and physical alterations of an instrument were taken separately when arriving at the final playback technique. If this could be done, then switching from pizz to arco with the mute still on would work as expected since the physical alteration (mute) would remain in effect while the playing technique (how the instrument is played) changes from pizz to arco. I have no idea if this is possible, but I think semantically it makes sense and it could turn out to be a really nice feature.

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There’s something in this but I would put the primary responsibility with the developers of the virtual instrument. Mute should be mapped under a separate control which can be defined as an add-on rather than base switch – such as I have for instance in one or two VSL instruments – and then things work fine.

In theory Dorico already has this. There are “add-on” expressions that only trigger their own switch and are independent of all other expressions that might be going on at the same time.
Unfortunately, it seems that there is no way to create your own playing techniques that trigger these “add-on” expressions as they don’t show up in the editor…

We could also need this for Note Performer to tell it we want 1, 2, 3, 4 or more players playing, as this is bound to a seperate CC which is not being used by anything else. But it does not seem possible in Dorico at the moment.

@Estigy - If you go to the Library menu → playing techniques, there is a plus sign in the lower left that allows you to create a new playing technique.

When choosing a playback technique to assign to your new playing technique, there is also an “edit” button that allows you to create a brand new playback technique. It is the playback technique that will show up in the expression map editor.

The name of the playing technique and the text or glyph that it displays in the score can be different. I was attempting to say earlier that you can hide the difference if you want from players yet still observe the playback technique in the lanes of the key editor.

I’ve sometimes done this for some pure MIDI hacks.

Oh, thanks, I’ll look at that!
I tried a few times to approach it from the other side: Creating a playback technique first and using it in a playing technique, and there it won’t show up in the dropdown…


Just to quickly follow up on your suggestion: When I follow your instructions, the newly created entry that’s showing up in the expression map editor is of type “basic”, and it seems that I can’t change it anywhere to an “add-on” type.
Any ideas?