Creating Expression Maps with Key Combinations

Hello, I’m beginning to experiment with Expression Maps in Cubase 8 and I get a general sense about it. But the first instrument I’ve been trying to work with has individual key-switches as well as “combination” key-switches for certain articulations. The instrument is The Trumpet 3 from Sample Modeling. There are several articulations that are triggered by holding down C2 along with other keys from C1 to A1. The C2 key has its own articulation assigned to it when pressed by itself as well, but when you press C2 along with other keys in the C1 to A1 range, additional articulations are triggered.

What I noticed is that I can get the individual key switches to trigger either when I play them live as well as inserting them manually in the Key Editor on individual notes as “Attributes”. However, the “combination” key-switches only work when I insert them manually in the Key Editor; I can’t play them live if the Map is loaded.

I’m not sure if that’s the way the program is supposed to work or if I’ve done something wrong in the setup. Has anyone set up Expression Maps for VSTIs that make use of combination key switches? Do you get the same behavior when playing live?

Thanks

After reading this thread:
https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=226&t=77658&p=445263&hilit=expression+Maps#p445263
I believe Cubase is doing what it’s supposed to do. Another senior member commented about the 2nd key switch canceling the 1st key switch.

Hi,
In the case of The Trumpet 3, there is, fortunately, only one key (C2) that has to be held down in order to trigger that “second layer” of articulations (which amounts to a further eleven keyswitches). So, in this instance (and, fortunately again), the actual playing range of The Trumpet allows enough space to accomodate these extra remote keys…
[EDIT] Apologies… you would indeed “run out of” available notes for remote keys on a five-octave keyboard, if you follow my recommendations “to the letter”, but read it anyways, then see the amendment at the end of this post… sorry again :wink: [/EDIT]
So (presuming that you are basically setting up the default “single” remote keys in your Expression Map to mimic The Trumpet’s own keyswitch assignment, i.e. C1 thru D2), what you need to do now is create a further eleven remote keys (e.g. D#2 thru C#3), where, for example, the remote key D#2 sends out two trigger notes (the “Output Mapping” section, at the top-right section of the Expression Map), e.g. C2 + C1 (for the “Chromatic” articulation), and the remote key E2 sends out C2 + C#1 (for the “Mixed” articulation).and so on up to remote key C#3 to trigger C2 + A#1 (for the “Half valve Fall” articulation).

[EDITING] with a single five-octave keyboard, there wouldn’t be enough “spare” notes for these extra remote keys, whereas, with an 88-note keyboard, you can at least adapt the map (move the remote keys down one octave, for example, or, alternatively, add these “extra” remote keys, starting at G#5 (i.e. just after the highest note of The Trumpet itself)
(Still thinking about a solution (if any :wink: ), if “stuck” with a five octave keyboard…[/EDIT][EDIT to the EDIT l)… see *** below[/EDIT]

But, admittedly, if there were more than one primary remote key (e.g. another set of articulations triggered by holding down a different key than C2), this would quickly become unmanageable anyways :wink:.


The nearest I have gotten so far (but I don’t think it is really a “playable” solution)… create a second Expression Map, with just the extra “dual” articulations on it, and use this on a second MIDI track, routed to the same The Trumpet Instrument. This does in fact work (so long as “Latch” is Off), but the problem of course is when switching between MIDI tracks.

My conclusion… Expression Maps aren’t really a practical solution for this kind of use. If this presents a problem inside the Score Editor (i.e. remote keys being seen as played notes), just Hide them, by declaring them outside visible range.

(btw, I do have The Trumpet 3, myself, although I haven’t been using it with any Expression Map :wink: )…
I have just discovered another potential disadvantage when using an Expression Map with The Trumpet… there are some articulations where, when playing live, you’d prefer “Latch” to be On (so that you don’t have to keep the remote key pressed all the time), but, when Latch is indeed On, you can only use the “On-The Fly” articulations (e.g. Vibrato Endings) the one time, without having to select a different remote key before trying to use that one a second time. (but works fine with “Latch” Off, because it returns to slot #1 immediately after use).

Thanks for the feedback. I had previously created slots for the combinations and set up stacks in the Output Mapping section in the upper right of the window. But I failed to set up remote keys for those slots because I wasn’t sure what to use. I have an 88 key, so there’s extra keys I can use (now that I understand it a little better). I set up the remote keys for the second layer of key switches, starting at C0 because D#2 thru C#3 are valid notes on the keyboard for “sound”. Once I got the Remote keys C0 thru A#0 set up, it works pretty good.

I think Expression Maps probably shine best when used in Score writing (which I’m not ready for just yet). I sat in on a Club Cubase meeting and asked about how to keep key switches from appearing as playable notes on a Score, and the moderator suggested the use of Expression Maps. So here I am, trying to get it my head around this feature. Since I’m not familiar with Score writing just yet, how do you “hide” unwanted notes? Hiding them would certainly keep the Score clean of non-playable key switches, but you’d have to manually add the articulations in the Score, correct? While I see its benefits, Expression Maps are very time consuming to set up. Pretty cool nonetheless.

I played around with the Latch mode and felt like I would have to keep in mind that only some articulations benefit from it being active while others lead to unnatural trumpet action. I just felt like it was too much to think about when I’m playing, so I left it off.

Excellent, so that’s at least one problem you don’t have to worry about :wink:.

how do you “hide” unwanted notes?

Two ways, depending upon your specific needs…
a)
You can select the notes in question, then click on the “H” button in the extended toolbar (or right-click on one of the selected notes and select “Show/Hide”).
Btw, to undo this at some later stage, you need to use the visibility option “Hidden Notes”, which is different from the other option “Hide” (for other non-note types of events).

b)
If you simply want to Hide notes that are above, or below, a certain note range, the go to Score Settings>Staff>Options>Note Limits.

Hiding them would certainly keep the Score clean of non-playable key switches, but you’d have to manually add the articulations in the Score, correct? While I see its benefits, Expression Maps are very time consuming to set up. Pretty cool nonetheless.

Well, if you were using an Expression Map, these notes would be hidden anyways (that’s the beauty of them :wink: ), and you can insert the articulations either from the specific “Expression Map” pane in the Score’s Inspector, or do so from within the MIDI Key Editor window.
If, on the other hand, you were not using Expression Maps, then, yes, you’d have to insert the symbols manually (which would be purely graphical).

I played around with the Latch mode and felt like I would have to keep in mind that only some articulations benefit from it being active while others lead to unnatural trumpet action. I just felt like it was too much to think about when I’m playing, so I left it off.

That was the conclusion I came to also :wink:.