Automation Lanes Info in Dorico Manual

In the current Dorico 4.3 Manual I’ve been unable to locate any sections on automation lanes, which I’d like to learn about.

From the VSL forum (on a slightly different issue) I was directed to the Dorico 2.2.2 Manual where I found chapters titled "Automation Lanes, “Inputting automation in automation lanes” etc. And on another thread here, a link was provided by Lillie Harris to the 3.5 (I think) Manual, where, for example, there’s a chapter titled “Making automation points constant/linear”.

But the Dorico UI has changed massively since the 2.2 manual and there are things not covered at all there. (There are even buttons I don’t understand)

Are there not similar sections/chapters in the current manual (even if differently titled) which reflect the current architecture of Dorico 4.3? I’m hoping I’ve just been unable to locate them despite extensive searching, or made some other beginner error, but would appreciate being pointed in the right direction. (Copying in cc lanes would be an example of something I’d like to understand)

Unfortunately the Dorico 4 manual is still missing its Key Editor chapter, as it’s still in progress (the app moved quicker than me all through last year!)

For the most up-to-date information about the Key Editor and the various editors available within it, see the comprehensive Version History for Dorico 4.3.20, and/or watch some of the excellent tutorial videos on our YouTube channel:

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Wow, thank you for the impressively immediate reply! At least I know it’s not my searching abilities now.

I will look at the version history and video and see if I can find answers to my questions there before, if needed, coming back to you. Thanks for your help.

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OK, I’ve learnt how to copy cc data within a cc11 lane, and how to copy it to cc2. But how do I copy cc2 to cc11, which is really what I want to do? I don’t seem to be able to select the data in cc2 like I can in cc11.

(By the way, I’m very happy to explain WHY I want to do this, but, for the moment, trying to spare you a very long explanation!)

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In theory it should work the same between any CC: select the points in the source editor, copy as normal, go to the destination editor, position the playhead where you want the start of the selection to be pasted, and paste as normal.

If you can’t appear to select the points, perhaps try refreshing the view (e.g. switching layouts and back, switching away from/back to the Key Editor, or save, close, then re-open your project).

I tried refreshing/closing reopening but still can’t select CC2, (which is just a line reflecting the gradual dynamic in the score, and there don’t appear to be points on that line in the way that there are on cc11). Is there a way to select all? (Ie select the entire lane?)

Additionally “Convert to Linear” is not working for me on cc11, in case that helps a diagnosis!

If there are no points shown on the line when you look in the MIDI CC editor for CC2, then there’s no “real” data there – only the data that Dorico is generating, presumably as a result of dynamics that you’ve written in your score that are then being played out as CC2. If the goal is for those dynamics to affect CC11 rather than CC2, then in theory it should be as simple as determining which expression map is being used for that instrument (which you can find out via the Endpoint Setup dialog, accessible via Play mode), then go to Library > Expression Maps and edit the controller used for dynamics by that expression map from CC2 to CC11.

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So, just to be clear, in the EM in question - VSL Syed Solo Strings - I would go through all 66 key switches and reset Secondary Dynamic Control Change 2 to 11? There’s no way to do this for all the switches at once?

Perhaps it is time to be clear about what I’m trying to achieve, which I’ve avoided to save everyone time, but is now necessary…

The music in question is a very long piece for piano and violin. I’m using the VSL SYzd Solo Strings (Violin 1 basic - Velocity preset) with a VSL Piano. There are abundant crescendi-diminuendi on single notes from ppp to f to ppp. I have found that the extent of the cresc-dim is constrained compared to a real instrument. (When I listen to recordings of real instruments playing these markings professional players can get very near to “niente” with almost no audible endpoint - albeit if there are some other audible byproducts in the process).

So essentially I’m trying to “exaggerate” the effect of the gradual dynamic in the score, making the soft start and end even softer and the louder centre a little louder. I did at first think that this issue was best adressed from the VSL point of view and have listened to their advice, but the outcome is a recommendation to use CC11 to enhance the cc2 dynamic derived from the score.

This at first seemed entirely counterintuitive to me. And I still doubt that this is what CC11 Expression is intended to do. However, having tested it out, to my surprise it works perfectly well. But because the score is long and manually inserting the cc11 lines would be time consuming it seem. Since the timing of the information and its shape would be either identical or a vertically compressed version of the shape displayed in the cc2 lane it seemed natural to see if there was a way to simply paste that info over to cc11. But, as you say, there’s no “real” data there to start with.

So, whilst I’ll happily try your suggestion (if you could just comment on my opening) I fear that simply changing the route for the score’s gradual dynamics from cc2 to cc11 may not work as well.

This is not the easiest thing to put into words, so I hope my explanation makes some sense. I’m sorry it’s long, but it’s just possible you may have an alternative idea for exaggerating the effect of the output gradual dynamics! Thank you

Right, I understand what you’re trying to achieve, and my advice is therefore no good, since you want to use both CC2 and CC11 for dynamics. So rather than changing the dynamic controller to CC11, you can perhaps try setting the Secondary dynamic controller to CC11 in the expression map, so that Dorico will use both CC2 and CC11.

Unfortunately you will have to do this for each expression map in turn, and you can’t do it as a bulk edit, but hopefully that repetitive job is still easier and quicker than manually drawing in curves in CC11 throughout the piece, which is otherwise what I think you’ll need to do.

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Daniel, thanks so much for your help.

I’ve followed through on your idea, and also tried some further variants to the Volume dynamic/Secondary dynamic settings. In the sense that the score’s gradual dynamic is now reflected in cc11 it works, but unfortunately non-gradual dynamics have been affected. (There might be a way round that if I could get those EM settings correct, though I’ve not so far achieved it.)

However, a bigger issue emerged: the cc11 lane is now, as you put it, not real data! So, uneditable.

I think drawing in the curves is now the best option and attach a test project with a few notes to see whether this is what you had in mind. From this you can see that the cc11 point has been set higher at the start of the cresc. and lower at the end of the dim. to replicate somewhat what a player is limited to (ie. starting from true niente is pretty much impossible as the bow has to bite on the string, even if minimally). Of course this has been set for VSL SYed Solo Violin 1 (Velocity Preset) so may not work with other instruments (and without reverb adjustments etc. still far from a finished product. And true, if you take away the cc11 and just leave the cc2 the difference is still subtle…but in the context of the piece it will be important. In any case the example is only intended to demonstrate the method.

I’m still uncomfortable that this seems a somewhat bizarre solution to the issue, though it works. If you have time to take a look and comment as to the sanity or otherwise of this method, before I start to edit the actual piece, I’d be very grateful. I never expected my first note on Dorico to take a week, but there you are, perhaps my needs are a little specific!

CC11 Test Wednesday 080323.dorico (515.5 KB)

I use the Synchronized solo strings and always use the CC1 primary dynamic (CC2 is only for the Special Edition, I thought?), CC11 secondary combination. With VSL you must scale the secondary, otherwise the quieter dynamics are too quiet - I scale min 65 to max 120 at present. I’ve never seen any point in using velocity for the primary controller or understand why VSL even have a template for it as it eliminates aftertouch control. But perhaps there’s something I’m missing.

Generally you want to control the dynamics with the primary where of course you already have the points available for editing and only use the secondary to correct volume imbalances or for the likes of al niente etc.

Thanks dko22, that’s interesting. All the VSL Expression Maps (very recently downloaded) have Volume dynamic as CC1 and Secondary dynamic as cc2…so do you change cc2 to cc11 on all required switches (there are approx. 66 in SYed Solo Violin 1 & Viola for example). Or are you not using the VSL for Dorico templates anyway and built your own?

I thought the point of using “Note velocity” was for shorter notes where gradual dynamics were not relevant (and if you choose this, then presumably the cc setting here is irrelevant)? But I’m a complete beginner with Dorico, and every hour finding some new thing that I used to manage ok has become super difficult!!

As to the quieter dynamics being too quiet, it’s the opposite in my case… but there’s more about that above. Thanks for your thoughts.

I’ve built my own maps from scratch a couple of years ago and simply used the default preset assignments of the instruments at the time. Just downloaded the “official” presets again out of curiosity and am still not happy with them – the results are often lumpy and often the wrong articulations are mapped as the automation remains fairly basic— imo of course and it may depend on the type of music (I’m listening to a string quartet I wrote) . The mapping is now to velocity and CC2 secondary.

With the volume dynamic – all the patches are velocity, not just the shorter ones which is the way some other vendors work. I’m fine with that approach but using velocity for all is another thing that makes no sense to me and I’m not convinced by the results in practice! It seems they use CC2 for the secondary so this way there is a way to control the dynamic after the initial sound but this still seems like the wrong way round to me. Crossfade is also disabled – OK I know that’s a bit controversial though I always have it on. I remain a bit puzzled by VSL’s decisions.

you’re absolutely right – the quieter dynamics with the VSL template are much too loud! And the tenuto patch is still staccato because they’ve completely forgotten to map it…