Beginner questions (expression maps and key switches)

Hi all, I’m a new Dorico user (3 SE) and already a big fan of the program. I do have a few questions though, and would of course be grateful to get some help from more experienced users than myself.

  1. Is there a way to get my own custom expression maps to show up in the default list (with all the HSO expression maps), so that I don’t have to import them on a project-to-project basis?
  2. Is there a way to activate a key switch without assigning it to a particular expression? I tried the obvious thing by adding the key switch note to the piano roll, which does work; except that the note shows up in the score with an awful lot of ledger lines. Can I selectively hide these notes, or something? The problem is that I have a VST with a lot of technique variants (e.g., passionate legato, delicate legato, etc.), and I don’t want to clutter up the score with expressions every time I use another technique variant. Also, some of the key switches (such as violin harmonics) only remain in force as long as the key switch note is being held.

Thanks for reading, and have a nice day!

You ought to be able to hide custom expressions so they do not clutter up your score, but expressions/playing techniques & expression maps are the best way to apply keyswitches to a note or notes.

  1. The easiest way to make your default expression maps available to new projects is to make them part of a playback template, then set that playback template to be the default one in the Preferences dialog; when Dorico starts a new project, it will then apply your default playback template, which will include making the required expression maps available.

  2. Really the best way is to define actual playing techniques that generate the correct key switch. If you were using Dorico Pro, you would be able to add an extra staff to your instrument into which you could write your keyswitch notes, then tell Dorico not to show it again; however, the extra staff would remain lurking around along with its music, which would still be played to the plug-in, and hence you’d get your extra key switch notes that way. This feature is exclusive to Dorico Pro, however.

Thanks, Derrek and Daniel! I will certainly consider getting the Pro version now.