CC's & Dorico's Dynamic Behavior

Dear Dorico Devs,

The forum is full of people asking “when will CC happen”. I’ve decided to take a different approach and give input on how I think CC SHOULD happen.

It is important to view this input with a certain lens. I prefer Dorico to get it as right as it can on its own, then for me to make as minimal tweaks to my liking as necessary. The more intelligent Dorico is, the better. The more flat it is, where I have to dictate every behavior as if I were sitting next to each musician in an orchestra and teaching each one how to play their instrument… the worse off I am as a user. Some users love that much control. I despise it. I live to compose and ideally for a real orchestra, not program MIDI performances.

Exhibit A:

This is a very typical look at my CC lanes and what I’ve seen in other user’s CC setup. Not everyone does it the exact same way of course. This is just a common enough 4-bar example to make my point. CC1 for xfade. CC7 for volume. Some argue xfades should be dynamic accurate for all musical contexts. Personally I see that as unreaslistic idealism and nonsense. Either way, I and many use both together. It may or may not be worth noting. I leave that to those developing Dorico’s default playback to figure out what’s best to give all users as automatically right of an experience as possible.

I believe the best way to do that is to have Dynamic markings POPULATE the CC lanes with curves I can edit post hoc. It’s automatic and hopefully sounds good… but I can easily tweak it as needed.


I call attention to the first arrow (left to right) to call out Steinberg on this. For years, Cubase users have wanted curves. It’s a big deal. Prior to Cubase 9.5, you could technically draw a dot-to-dot curve. But editing that curve required more effort. True curves make for easy input AND fine-tuning. Point is… curves are needed. In a video we’ve seen where you guys show that Dorico has CC editing, I didn’t see curves. Please understand that if you add CC lanes, people will be nagging you for curves for years. You may as well get it right to begin with.


Notice that bump leading into the 4th bar. The 4th bar is a crecendo on it’s own. But the instrument gets a little louder just before it. The reason why is because this is my cello section and on the 4th bar, several other instruments come in on that crecendo. It’s dramatic… because the cellists KNOW and ANTICIPATE the crecendo differently than they do in the middle of a phrase that only they will play. This deals specifically with player behaviors in real life. But I bring this up to illustrate a point…

Sibelius had remarkable playback. Arne Wallander alone has contributed a lot to researching this field and studying scores, recordings, and creating score-reading conditions that were truly great out of box. As a user, I want to work in notation and have a great mock-up. I don’t believe this is the type of thing left best to a 3rd-party developer. I would rather it be native to Dorico AND would prefer to have an element of control. If there were a library of conditions, I’d like to be able to tweak and edit a couple that never seemed right to me… but usually not have to of course. I believe that is in line with Dorico’s philosophy overall actually. That said, I don’t believe it should have to take 10 years to get there either.

That’s my ideal, but at very least I would like Dorico to be smart in how it plays the music. What I don’t want is a robot that serves me raw eggs for breakfast cause all it’s been programmed for is “eggs are healthy”. Hopefully this translates. It needs to be higher level. I realize I’m speaking to features that won’t be around for years. But having coded myself, I know that having a larger picture from the start is very helpful. Thus why I mention what I personally consider ideal.

All that said… the idea of drawn CC presets that average out start and end points relative to the context they are placed in wouldn’t be that hard to code… depending on how you’re developing CC lanes anyway. :wink: So please, don’t make us wait 10 years. I waited a few decades for Sibelius to get CC editing and never got it. I want great software notation playback in my lifetime.


Notice the last curve before the sudden dynamic drop at the end of bar 4. That curve is shorter than the curve before the first bar. That’s because the first curve is more casual to smooth out an articulation and dynamic change that happen simultaneously. I timed it to what sounded right with the timing of the notes. For example: tenuto to legato. It had to be smoother to sound right. The last curve in bar 4 is quick and sudden because it’s going from a crecendo held slightly over the 4th beat. Point is… the timing of the notes affects how pre-designed curves would be placed by Dorico’s dynamic markings. It needs to average out to the musical context… a crecendo that starts at pianissimo if that’s where the dynamics currently are… and it needs to average relative to the timing of the notes that are played, as to create a smooth performance.

All in all, I hope this doesn’t come across as nonsense. It’s simply the only way I can think to thoroughly detail the far more simple thought process I have when I place my curves in manually. Make it sound like a natural smooth transition… sometimes quickly… and place it in the right context.


P.S. Hopefully I’m not spamming you guys too much lately. It’s only January 2nd and the more I use the notation software I have with rewire… and the more I wish I was doing all MIDI editing in the same program… the more these thoughts are flooding in. :wink:

I’d also like to request that Steinberg management hire 5 more developers just for Dorico’s Playback functionality to improve. Seriously, the more I realize what needs to be done and what’s been involved just to get Dorico where it is… the more it’s looking like GOOD playback won’t happen until Dorico 5.0.

I of course realize this isn’t due to a lack of improvements. The change log and considerations like this post, my recent percussion map request, and my request for more robust expression maps… and intelligent rules for reading playing techniques… it all goes to show that a lot more needs to be done and the development simply isn’t happening fast enough to see most of this happen in Dorico 1.5 or even 2.0 at this rate.

With respect, I won’t buy Dorico 1.5 if I can’t get my Spitfire samples into it finally. And I won’t buy 2.0 if CC and rewire haven’t happened yet. That’s not me trying to be a thorn to the developers. I respect that they are dealing with what are truly complex problems. I’m strictly speaking to my user need, what I can afford to keep paying for (only things that seem to actually help my own income… oddly enough). So this isn’t a tantrum as much as a professional impatience.

Hire more people!


“I believe the best way to do that is to have Dynamic markings POPULATE the CC lanes with curves I can edit post hoc.”

It will be terrible if it doesn’t work this way.

Some outstanding points, scoredfilms. I particularly like the design concept of the automatic creation of CC curves by score markings, and the ability to edit them after the fact using Bezier-type controls. Thus you could get a quick, down-and-dirty rendering, then come back and play with the curves until it sounds like you want.

Curves without Bezier controls are much more cumbersome and less effective.

Is the purpose of notation software to include playback that produces realistic midi mockups with full midi editing capability? So far that hasn’t been the case in the market. I wish there was a notation/daw integrated solution so all this monkeying around between different programs wasn’t necessary, but as it stands now, the audience for notation software seems to be more geared to engravers than composers.

But why would Steinberg spend all that money building sophisticated midi playback/editing into Dorico when its product Cubase already has likely the most powerful midi editing/functionality of any DAW, including bezier curves now? I’d rather see a version of Cubase with a version of Dorico integrated into it, that had some kind of Wallender NotePerformer-like algorithm as a feature to handle playback from notation.

Steinberg really does seem to have a golden opportunity to get more people onboard with Cubase. If it could bring some version of Dorico into Cubase, then it could rightfully claim to be the best DAW for notation.

I can give Overture 5.5.1 as good example for the dynamics and many other things, yes it has it’s own problems, but still is much more advanced than Dorico as tool for “notation” composers who are using virtual instrument libraries…
socredfilms, the problem isn’t in the amount of programmers, but the Steinberg’s marketing management… Those guys are going to kill Steinberg…
Don Williams, the developer of Overture is the best example for that how much works is able one guy to do. In my opinion he needs few programmers to help him because his program growing and becoming more complex… Anyway Steinberg and Daniel’s team could learn a lot from Don about what is important for the composers…
We don’t need another score editor like Sibelius and Finale… We need something like Overture - hybrid scoring DAW.
For now… the only indication for DAW related things in Dorico is the Play Mode… I hope Dorico is going to become a notation DAW and competitor of Overture.
Yes, I’m agree that the improvement of Dorico is too slow for team of 15 people with 5 programmers (if I remembered correctly) + they have the teams behind Cubase and Nuendo to support them… So, they don’t need to build everything from scratch, just to integrate it in the right way into Dorico… :slight_smile:

Thurisaz says: “We don’t need another score editor like Sibelius and Finale… We need something like Overture - hybrid scoring DAW.”

Well, as a composer myself,and therefore part of your definition of 'We," I beg to differ. I’ve never touched a DAW and never will, nor do I need anything hybrid or otherwise that includes DAW elements. Another score editor “like Sibelius and Finale,” (but far better, in my opinion, like Dorico) is EXACTLY what I need(ed), and now have.

Thanks to the team for giving “Us” or at least ME, exactly what was needed.


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this, Sean. We are very aware of how important playback is for a large proportion of our users, and especially the use of 3rd party libraries. On the other hand, we also have a large number of users for whom playback isn’t important at all, beyond acting as a preview. We have users who want to edit every CC and users who never want to think about that at all. There’s such a spectrum of users, expectations, libraries and aural preferences that the hardest part of our job is to find a solution that works for everyone (or as close to everyone as we can get).

Please be assured that we do have great plans for the future of playback, and the underlying technology of the Cubase audio engine that we use in Dorico gives us a great starting point. It is though a starting point. It will inevitably take us a while to get to the sort of level that you are describing, but we do expect that there will be a number of significant incremental steps along the way, each of which will unlock greater potential for getting more out of the sample libraries that users already have. We hope that by the time that we’re only part way down that road that we’ll be knocking the competition out of the park. That’s what we aspire to.

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By knocking the competition out of the park, do you mean knocking your own product Cubase out of the park? Cubase does Midi playback better than anybody and has its own Score editor, so it sounds like your Dorico playback goals overlap with Cubase!

what does CC stand for?

CC = Continuous Controller
Deals with info such as crescendi where information changes (almost) continuously rather than note on/off messages that are discrete events.


If it helps to have a different explanation (though Derrek’s is very accurate)…

If you want to control the MIDI of your crecendos (control over the sound) then you’ll be using CC to draw/record curves which control how the sound of your score plays back on a computer.


Paul, thank you for the information! The second part of you message is great, about the future plans… :slight_smile:
But about the first part… There is a way to please the expectations of all users :slight_smile: Those like me, who would like to have notation DAW, and those for whom this is not so important and they use Dorico just as score writer…
Again I can give Overture as good example for such solution. It’s enough powerful to create very good printable scores at the same time to create great sounding orchestral and band arrangements with virtual instruments (I’m long time Cubase user, but I was amazed how easily well balanced Virtual orchestra could be created in Overture, without to much CC editing, which is not possible in Cubase) and to export audio tracks for further mixing. :slight_smile: I’m sure that you already have information about it’s possibilities.
Most of the times we need to use virtual orchestras because is not cheap to hire an orchestra, and for low budged projects is impossible to pay for orchestra and studio recordings + they also have to pay good money to the composer.
Greetings :slight_smile:


I have to say that I hope you’re not talking about CC editing being in it’s infancy now and not decent until Dorico 3.0 and robust until 9.0. If that’s the case then I won’t buy a single update honestly. Compared to how robust some of Dorico’s engraving features are, I simply haven’t presented requests that are a far ahead. I know you haven’t given me a timeline. But it did feel a bit like I’m still being placated at. [Edit, then again… your job is primarily to placate… I’ve done support for software so I guess I have to live with that :wink:]

At first I felt very short-changed buying Steinberg based on promises of MIDI playback control… teased videos of CC editing (in October 2016 mind you, nearly 1.5 years ago)… then watching the dev. team add things like custom vectors for chord symbols. So when all I’m asking for is similar robust control over how crescendos are played back… AND Steinberg knows decent and hopefully robust CC control matters to users… well what gives?

With complete respect, I get that things take time. My complaint is really not with the support or development team at all. It’s with product management. If you know users care so much about this (and not a niche crowd) then why isn’t this a priority enough to see the kind of features I’m asking for now? Will we even have curves for CC editing in 1.5 or not? I can only promise you that’s not a tantrum but a professional concern. I am content with the fact that I have a notation solution right now with CC curves. But I see a lot in Dorico that’s very attractive and I bought Dorico based on “in an update soon, we’ll have this”. So I’d like to know that CC editing isn’t still in it’s infancy 1.5 years later and will remain in its infancy by the time v1.5 comes out. A little reassurance would go a long way here. Perhaps a screenshot or a download link to your latest test build? :wink: lol

Forums bring out my impatient side, but I promise I’m really a nice guy! :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


Now that I’ve got that out of my system…

I made this mock-up to try to illustrate how cc presets could be defined and intelligently used for playback in the score.

The outer white points are the initial and post dynamic levels, in case the marking should start or end louder/softer. If that doesn’t make sense, please see the cello section tutti crescendo example in my OP. It’s one example but I have a few others (starting a crescendo PP<FF after an mp phrase, etc). The inner black points are of course the hairpin values.

[Edit: I also realize this has to account for time. The hairpin would obviously have to be the bulk of the time and you wouldn’t want the pre/post dynamic adjustment to take 2 bars of music if the hairpin was over 8 bars. My guess is that the best answer would be having the pre/post time be either specified by a note length.]

I believe this method would provide a similar enough experience to the existing dynamic curve feature, but instead of just dynamic range with a predefined xfade/velocity curve… this allows for full control of the default shapes crecendos would populate the CC lane with. The conditions are not meant to be a thorough illustration, but a rough mock-up of how the score could apply various dynamic presets based on musical context.

I’m ABSOLUTELY aware that this isn’t a fleshed out, tested, and proven answer. It’s a rough idea of what I’d do if I were writing my own notation program. If I were making a thorough mock-up I’d put a lot more care into making it suit every condition, etc. But hopefully it may help. If anything, maybe it’s dead wrong and will help someone else articulate a better solution than mine. Then it can be ready in time for Dorico 9.0. j/k j/k

I still felt this should be posted for future reference, even if it won’t happen for some time.



I’m going to have to disagree 100% as Overture being something good for engraving. Much like you and Sean need good playback, people (such as myself) need great notation. Overture does not offer good notation. Adequate for having some people sight read a chart, maybe. Good enough to truly publish… no where close.


I understand people’s desires to have all the bells and whistles they want in Dorico (I still have things I am waiting for). And I am all for people expressing their ideas and suggestions. But some of this stuff sounds a little bit threatening to me ("If you don’t XXXXX, then I YYYYY).

As someone who does engraving, and as someone who bought a notation software package (Dorico), I would prefer the team to tackle the issues that matter to the notation side of things. I work for a publishing house, albeit a small one. Sound mock-ups and playback aren’t as vital to me as having great notation. Someone made a comment that chord symbols got a drawing feature (paraphrasing), as if to say that isn’t important. I would completely disagree with that assumption/assertion. It is very important to those of us who do notation. I never felt Dorico was anything other than a notation package, with a solid sound engine on which to build a strong playback system. I never once believed Dorico was going to be a replacement for DAWs. And maybe this is because I followed Dorico (before it had a name) since 2012.

I understand that people might feel cheated by watching a video and thinking that things were coming in Dorico that are still not present. But I have to say, our development team is working very hard to provide the software package they can. I think we need to sit back and watch what happens.



I replied to you before and deleted it for being a bit over the top. I still encourage you to avoid this thread if it doesn’t apply to you. I also will again reiterate that I am not complaining about the existence of a chord symbol feature… or even how robust it is. I was complaining that IF engravers are getting something as robust as vector editing of chord symbols (arguably as robust as it can possibly get), then asking me to work with MIDI playback being in it’s infancy and getting updated at a snail’s pace by comparison is extremely tilted.

Every time I request MIDI improvements an engraver trolls the thread and complains. It’s as if I’m threatening them because I breathe oxygen from the same atmosphere they do. I believe there’s room for both of our features and haven’t complained on a single engraving feature. Even if it seems like overkill for my needs, I value it PRECISELY because I value other people getting good tools for their needs. I just hope they’ll show me the same courtesy. Oddly, that doesn’t seem to ever happen. I’m still seen as a threat to someone else’s oxygen supply every time.

According to your suggestion, it seems I not only bought the wrong software, but should never expect notation to sound good. Composers shouldn’t want to work in notation and have a good mock-up. We should tell directors to hire us anyway, to trust everything we do to just work no matter what, and that everything will go perfectly smoothly the day we record. Maybe mock-ups don’t affect your life. But they do affect a large chunk of Dorico’s user base and I think we can respectfully value each other’s needs based on that fact.

I respect that without engravers, my music would never get played. But without my music, engravers wouldn’t have a job. It’s okay to need each other, help each other, or avoid debating one’s needs over the other and still manage to respect each other without contest.



I did the same thing, composed several replies but deleted them before posting. You said it better than I could. Honestly and respectfully stating one’s point of view as a customer ought not to be deemed threatening. Notation programs have traditionally been the province of engravers. We get it. But sometimes growing, dynamic products break out beyond the original borders. What has been inside the borders is still centrally important, but new important things accumulate around it creating new possibilities.

FWIW, scoredfilms, I do appreciate that you develop the ideas you expect to see developed. I would not use those now (with multiple workarounds and different softwares involved) but it is clear that once Dorico has those implemented, we will (almost) all be using them ! I appreciate that the tone here remains respectful — as it has always been in this forum — and that you share your knowledge in such a deep and accurate manner.


Think what you want. However, if you post in an open forum expect people to respond. Plain and simple. Encouraging me to avoid this thread is quite a ridiculous notion. Especially since I would like better playback as well. It would be the same as me telling you to avoid the forum… it would be a ridiculous statement. If you don’t want people to respond, don’t post.

To assume people are anti-MIDI is far from the truth. I, too, have paid good money for sound libraries that are not that useful at the moment. I would really like those to work yesterday so that I can work more on my personal arrangements. However, recognizing what the team is doing, and the continuous improvements coming from each update, I trust in time they will be. The Dorico team has never stated that they are going to ignore this part of the software. However, it will take time.

My whole point that I was making was to be helpful and not threatening. You may feel as though you are being helpful. And some of what you posted has been helpful, thoughtful, and worth someone looking into. But making comments such as “If Dorico 1.5 doesn’t have…” comes across childish, and somewhat threatening. Making comments such as “If you know users care so much about this (and not a niche crowd) then why isn’t this a priority enough to see the kind of features I’m asking for now?”, doesn’t add to what is being discussed. Anytime playback comes up, I’ve only heard, “we want to include this (and other things), but there is a lot that we have to figure out first.” Doesn’t sound like a blow off me. It sounds to me like people are working out the best way to solve the issue.

I will encourage you to post what you would like to see in the realm of playback, and ideas/suggestions for what you need and what you want. Nothing is wrong with that. But maybe it is the way in which you word certain things. We all want Dorico to be the best it can be. Threatening not to buy the next version because your needs aren’t met is a given. But that doesn’t help anything or anyone. Give suggestions. Give solutions.

I have not seen a single “engraver” complain about suggestions to the software. Only the method in which people believe they are “giving” suggestions.

Just my 2 cents!