Assigning HALion percussion sounds in Dorico

Hi there,

I’m very sorry if this is a dumb question or if it has already been answered elsewhere, but I haven’t been able to solve it by searching the forums or watching videos.

I’m new to Dorico, and I’m trying to recreate a score that I’ve previously written in Sibelius.
I’m writing for a custom percussion setup with various techniques on each instrument.
How do I change the sounds that are played back? I’m using the HALion library, and I’m sure some of the sounds in that library can work perfectly well for what I’d like, but I can’t figure out how to assign them to what I’m writing (I’m used to just choosing a sound and have it correspond to a specific placement and notehead in Sibelius).

Some sounds are already fine (bass drum and toms for instance) but the different techniques I’ve specified (cross-stick, playing on rim etc.) aren’t playing back with correct sounds, and some instruments aren’t sounding at all.
I would also like to assign some sounds (like a cowbell or the like) to some unspecified metal instruments in the setup.

I can find a lot of tutorials on making custom percussion maps (which is still rather complex and new to me), but as far as I understand they mainly relate to using other VST- or midi instruments. I would just like to manually assign the sounds in HALion to what I’m writing.

Is this possible? Sorry for possible missing the obvious here.

Best regards,

1 Like

if you’re using Halion and use the default Halion Playback template, you’ll notice that every percussion instrument is automatically given either a dedicated Expression Map or/and a dedicated Percussion Map in the Endpoint setup dialog. (when using Noteperformer, e.g. all percussion instruments are included in the same map. You can also do this for Halion, to a large extent, but then you have to make it up yourself.)

Since percussion sounds are commonly distributed across the entire piano keyboard, a Percussion map is always needed to make the connection (translation) between what you write and what you want to hear. You are free to route any notation to any available sound slot, but then you have to make up your own Percussion Map(s)

The various playing techniques for a percussion instrument are accessed and defined here:

Thank you for your answer, fratveno :slight_smile:

I’ve already defined the playing techniques that way, but they don’t manifest during playback, which is what I can’t seem to grasp.
I guess I just might have to realize that Dorico’s way of doing these things isn’t for me. I’m at the end of my 30 day trial and have spent the last few days trying to get the right sounds to play in a piece that I’ve already written once in Sibelius 6, where none of this caused me any issues.
I can get it to look right, but the playback features are way to advanced for me.
I just want to write music, and I’m afraid I don’t understand how to fiddle around with midi maps, keyswitches, patches and stuff I don’t understand. What I want to be able to do is say “when I put a black notehead on G5 I wan’t a snare sound, if it’s an x-notehead it should be a rim sound” and approach it from the music notation side of things. As soon as I move to the playback tab I get lost almost instantly :frowning:

Thanks for trying to help me out :slight_smile:
I’m afraid I still don’t understand what to do to achieve my goal, but that’s me coming up short.

1 Like

(un)fortunately I have only superficial knowledge of Sibelius, but I find it hard to believe that S. can accommodate your wishes without any prior configuration… :grinning: and I feel confident that what you’re trying to achieve can be done in Dorico… If you provided some further details regarding where you get stuck, it might be easier to provide better advice… If things won’t play back as expected, maybe reapplying the Playback Template will improve things… having said that, I do know how you feel. I have clients/colleagues who call me every week with related issues, and had I charged by the minute I would probably have been a millionaire by now… :grinning:

I wrote up a reasonably detailed explanation of how everything in the percussion side of things fits together, which you can read here. It’s conceptually the same in Dorico as it is in Sibelius: you have a notehead of a particular appearance on a particular position on the staff, and this is mapped to a specific combination of percussion instrument and playing technique, and that is in turn mapped to a particular MIDI pitch on a particular patch.

Percussion is one of the more fiddly areas, but that’s not entirely Dorico’s fault: everybody wants to use their own notation (beyond drum set notation), every sample library provider provides different sets of sounds, and there is even confusion over which sound is on which note because different applications disagree over something as basic as the octave number for middle C.

I’m certainly willing to help you get this sorted out. Hopefully you have found over the course of your trial period that Dorico has lots of other things going for it, even if getting correct percussion playback is currently stumping you.

1 Like

In case it helps with your understanding, there’s a key difference between Dorico’s model and Sibelius’s model. Sibelius’s model is purely graphical: if it sees an x-notehead on the snare line then it knows that x-notehead maps to a rimshot. Dorico’s model is semantic: the note has a property to say ‘I’m a rimshot’, and the playback system uses that (by looking up snare + rim shot in the Percussion Map). The drawing system sees the rimshot property and knows to draw it with an x-notehead (this is set in the Percussion Kit definition).

So from a user point of view, Dorico doesn’t decide what to play based on what it looks like, it uses the properties of a note. For percussion staves, you can cycle through these technique properties with alt-up/down (or maybe shift+alt - I can’t remember).

There are several reasons for this separation of graphical and semantic data: it’s far more flexible, eg cross noteheads may have different meanings for different instruments, it can be used to play with multiple plugins that have different mappings, it allows multiple noteheads to look the same but play different sounds on the same line (eg the drum line libraries have separate L and R strokes).

1 Like

Dear fratveno, Daniel and Paul,

Thank you so much for your answers and willingness to help me - I have been extremely impressed with this forum this past month. Learning to understand an entirely new notation software is quite a handful and the help provided here to me and others before me has been extremely valuable.

I am now slowly beginning to understand the basics of percussion maps and have managed to create on for my project that works fairly well. I’m hopeful it will all be second nature to me once I get the time to put in the hours.

And to answer your question, Daniel: This trial has given me the confidence that Dorico is the perfect notation software for me. The popover menus are extremely intuitive and fast to me and the notation and engraving options are wonderful. So many things that I’ve struggled to do in Sibelius for years are made so simple that it almost feels as if the software is reading my mind, and I’m certain that the few things that are slightly awkward to me are worth working through.

I look forward to becoming a fully fledged Dorico user in a couple of days.

Once again thank you all for your kind replies and helpful nature.

1 Like

That’s great to hear. Rest assured that we are here to help you with any new challenges as they arise!