Dorico 3.5 and VSL Expression map - playing techniqus questions...

Hello all!

I have started creating my first expression maps in Dorico 3.5 for VSL - and I have found hell on earth for sure…
Three questions so far:

  1. Is there a good way to trigger repetitions? (Speed variations handled by VI2Pro…)
  2. mordents - haven’t found these… (playing techniques combinations, there is a “Trill” but it’s not triggered by a mordent)
  3. crescendo is there, but no decrescendo (only diminuendo)
    Still learning - a looong way to go…

Many thanks and best regards!

decrescendo = diminuendo

  1. What exactly do you mean by “repetitions”? Dorico can play back tremolos…

  2. Dorico does not yet play back mordents and similar ornaments. You can define a new playback technique that plays a mordent if your sample library can do that, and then define a playing technique that looks like a mordent sign in the score. (How you deal with mordents played with a whole tone or a semitone is another question…)

  3. You can display gradual dynamics in the score in different ways, for example text (cresc/dim and several other options) or hairpins. There is an Engraving Option to select whether to display a decrease in dynamics as diminuendo or decrescendo.

So far as playback is concerned, there is only one semantic action (an gradual decrease), so in the expression maps it only has one name.


Repetition: same note (pitch) multiple times in a row - to avoid machine gun effect…

  1. So I can assign a playing technique to an existing score symbol? Eg. “Trill” to a mordent? That would be helpful… Will check it out.

Best regards!

You cannot assign symbols to a playing technique, at least I never found out how to do it. You need to create your own symbols and often your own playing technique. For exemple, to trigger repetition samples I have “text symbol”that I’ve called “bis” triggering a “bis” playing technique. I then hide it in the score.
The shitty part comes with symbols like tremolos and harmonics that you cannot exclude from playback without excluding the note. In that case, you need to go through the same procedure (creating a symbol and a playing technique), write a passage let’s say in tremolo, disable the entire passage, add an extra staff to rewrite the same music using your own symbols, hide the extra staff and try to fix the mess it creates in the score presentation…
Welcome to hell!

I just checked this. It is possible to assign a symbol to a playing technique.
Open “Playing Techniques…”, choose the Playing Technique you want change, then choose as Type “Glyph”.
Click on the white window and a new window opens. Here you can delete with the bin the orange text and choose the symbol at the right side of the window you want. Click on OK and again on OK. The sign appears in your score, when you select the particular Playing Technique.
When the sign is an ornament, take care to set the articulation type as “Attribute”.
To do this, choose: Playing Techniques… > choose the right playing technique in the list > Click on “Edit…” (you see it behind “Playback technique” > choose as Articulation type “Attribute”. Now click OK twice.
The place above the note you can adapt in Engrave mode if necessary.
When there is a problem, that the Playing Techniques keeps on after that one note, it can be a solution to add that Playing Techniques in a Mutual exclusion group. I don’t see a consistency in this point always.

N.B.: Check which articulation you get the note after the playing techniques.
In my case I put the playing techniques on the second note of a legato passage (slur) with 8 notes. The note after the note with the playing techniques I didn’t get the legato sample but the nat. I had to retrigger the legato sample with playing technique “legato” (shift +P > type legato).

I just checked this. It is possible to assign a symbol to a playing technique.

Indeed you can, but not for build-in symbols. For exemple, you cannot assign the Dorico trill or tremolo glyphs to a trill or tremolo sample. Actually, you can but since they are associated to an automatic playback, you’ll have Dorico generating a trill or tremolo on top of your sample. For the trill, it’s not a big problem since you can deactivate playback. So you can use the Dorico trill glyph for visual, add your own made glyph and hide it (for a reason I don’t understand, I had to create a “trill 2” playing technique for my own glyph trill). But tremolos cannot be eliminated from playback, only the notes the tremolos are attached to. If you deactivate playback to avoid Dorico’s tremolo simulation and add your own tremolo glyphs, you have no notes left to trigger it. With one note tremolos, you can either write the notes without the tremolos and add your glyph, but that implies that you’ll have to manually position them, or use the procedure I described earlier with an added staff. At least, it’s the solution I found.

By the way articulation are different from glyphs. You should not have any problem associating the relevant playing techniques (legato, staccato, tenuto…) with your samples, but you might have to change the default note lengths Dorico associates with theses articulations. The biggest problem is when you cumulated more than one technique… For exemple, a tenuto might be written in different ways : tenuto, staccato+legato, staccato+tenuto… So if you have a sound associated with legato and one with staccato and write a passage in staccato-legato, Dorico will do something like using the legato sound for the first note and then the staccato. Anyway, you’ll never get a tenuto sound unless your maps have an entry “staccato+legato = tenuto sample”. There’s also a huge problem with the fact that some symbols can have different meaning. The most obvious is the legato slur. Of course it can mean legato, but also bowing, respiration, phrasing… which might or not be legato. What’s absolutely sure is that once you’ll have gone through all the possible combinations and found ways to compensate for VSL incoherences in their instruments, you’ll be ready for the madhouse. See you there!

Playing techniques are the way to trigger special techniques. You will later hide them from the score to be printed. Create a new playing technique for “repet.”, assign it a new playback technique (“repetition”), then go to the expression map and program the “repetition” playback technique to the repetition patch in the VSL library.

I’ve an endless list of these techniques for the libraries I use, often based on uncommon techniques or sampled fragments of music (be it a dynamic arc or a ricochet).

It would be great if this type of playing technique could be assigned a type, category or group, so that they could be hidden with a single command when preparing the printed score. A bit like the groups in a mixer, collectively muted with a single button.


In another thread I wrote something I discovered today, what might be a little help. It isn’t a solution with one click, but as far as I can see for now the fastest way. But who knows somebody comes with a quicker solution. We will see. You find it here

Thanx, mmka!