Dorico and Eastwest Word Builder - problem?

Hi, Having just looked at the EastWest website, I notice that Dorico, like Sibelius, cannot work with Word Builder.

Does anyone know why, and can it be overcome ?

this is nonsense – Wordbuilder works about as well as it can work with both Dorico and Sibelius. The problem is we don’t all agree exactly where the limitations lie :confused:. Perhaps you could reread the other thread you started where this is still being discussed – @Brian_Roland has been trying to do new tests in this area which are interesting if not perhaps for the faint-hearted! There have been a lot of discussions on this recently.

The most established fact is that it is much easier to get Symphonic Choirs Wordbuilder to work with Play 5 than the current v. 6. I’ll let others expand on this as I think I’ve stated my own position (which is not necessarily fixed in stone) often enough. I’m perfectly happy to explain how I work with it in a PM if you like but perhaps others will again let you have the benefit of their wisdom in the meantime.

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Hello, Thank you for your reply - here is a copy of the details of system requirements from the eastwest website
" Sibelius / Finale / Dorico notation programs work with Opus, but do not support the full feature set of some Opus/Play Libraries, such as those that use WordBuilder. Please contact support for details."

I wonder if the Dorico team can deal with this ?

Thanks again - would you mind if I kept all the useful points you have made to me ?


For me after more testing with Dorico 3.5 on Windows 10,
Ryzen9 3900XT,
X570 motherboard,
AMD R9-270 GFX,
NVMe.M2 SSD storage,
M-Audio Delta 1010 interface.

EW Symphonic Choirs with word builder
EW Hollywood Choirs with word builder

Play 5: VST2, works directly in Dorico, and/or when I bridged it via Bidule.

Play 6: VST3 nor VST2: Neither of these work directly in Dorico for me. Word-builder does not advance, and notes stick. Both VST2 and VST3 variants of Play 6 DO work for me if bridged via Bidule.

Play 5 & 6 keep user files such as phrases (*.phr files) in different directories. I had no problem moving phrases I made in Play 5 over to Play 6/Opus using the native Windows File Explorer, and they worked as expected. It should work the other way too, but I haven’t rolled back to 5 yet to double check that possibility. It does appear that Opus uses the same phrase set as Play 6…so whatever I made and saved in 6 shows up in Opus, and vice verse.

Opus: VST3, nor VST2 work directly in Dorico for me. Again, word-builder does not advance and notes get stuck.

Opus VST3 did NOT work for me in Bidule. I tried it with Bidule in stand alone, and hosted inside Dorico. For whatever reason(s), the interpretation of the VST3 implementation between this host and plugin don’t quite jive, or perhaps Opus is using portions of the protocol that Bidule doesn’t support yet?

Opus: VST2 DOES work for me when bridged via Bidule. At first I thought word builder was missing in Opus, but discovered that it lives under the Perform Tab instead of having a button in the Play tab.

Edit: I have issues with this setup when trying to export to audio through Dorcio’s quick export feature. My workaround is to host an audio recorder in an instance of bidule through an insert on the main Dorico Output and do a real time record. Thus a quick and dirty take to demonstrate that Opus and word builder at least ‘play back’ in Dorico if bridged through Bidule. Note, I spent very little time entering this score and even less poking some votox into the Symphonic Choirs. It uses the ‘Default’ expression map. There are no tweaks to dynamics, note lengths/velocities, or votox timing for the ‘words’ (my first entry ever into Symphonic Choirs). The grainy rendering is my fault…I made it quickly, loud, 16bit (dithered), and lossy compressed the heck out of it so it would fit here.

The main noticeable differences between Play 5 and 6 that I detected from an end user perspective are:

  1. Play 5 works directly in Dorico, where Play 6 and Opus currently require some sort of bridge. So far I have only tried Bidule, but other bridge options might work as well. I.E. jBridge, VEP, VIP, etc.

  2. Play 5.0.1 (the version of 5 I downloaded and tested) doesn’t come in a VST3 variant. It’s VST2 (probably also in aax for Pro Tools and au for Logic) , and needs to be whitelisted in Dorico; meanwhile, Play 6 and Opus comes in both VST3 and VST2 (and some others for Pro Tools and Mac).

  3. Slight cosmetic changes.

  4. Browser in Play 6 has utilities built in for cloud members to download instruments one-by-one, directly from the internet, while with Play 5 you’d need to get the full library in one go through the EastWest Installer Utility…or possibly through Opus (in stand alone mode, or while using in another DAW). Play 6 and Opus also seem to have more tagging and organizational features built into the sound browser.

  5. In play 6 and Opus, word-builder is more forgiving in votox mode entires. I.E. If one mistakenly enters lower case k, t, p, or x, it still accepts them and makes the same sounds as upper case K, T, P, X, etc. In play 5, if these particular consonants are mistakenly entered in lower case, they do nothing.

  6. Possibly some of the newer EW instruments that work in Play 6 and/or Opus might not show for use in Play 5, or might not work properly if they do.

There are MANY differences from Play to Opus. Opus is far more advanced. My favorite part is that Opus is ready to play the big multi-choir instruments in a few seconds. With Play I have to wait a few minutes for them to load. In contrast, Opus seems to take a little longer per instance to ‘save its state’ when closing a Dorico project, where Play saves and closes almost instantly. There are some new instruments specifically for Opus. It also adds optional orchestrator abilities (arp engines, chord builders, etc.). It adds all sorts of abilities for grouping/layering/zoning instruments. It can browse and download individual instruments for Cloud members. I think it has a more advanced mixing matrix supporting effect plugins, and more.

Opus and your choice of Play can be installed on the same system, and integrated into the same project.

Swapping between Play 5 and 6…so far I’ve just been using the installers to remove and change. It’s easy to do. The two versions seem to keep their user files in different locations on the system, and uninstalling doesn’t ‘remove’ that stuff. I have not tried forcing an installation of both on the same system, as the plugin wrappers have the same names, and for me it was more convenient to just use the windows control panel and installers when rolling versions.

I do intend to check some other bridging options, namely jbridge and VIP since I have access to those.

I tried Dorico > jbridge > Play 6 VST2. Word Builder does not advance and notes get stuck.

I tried Dorico > jbridge > Opus VST2. Plugin loads but got crashes and display issues. Tried various jbridge settings but Never got it stable enough to attempt playing a score.

I tried Dorico > Akai VIP > Opus VST2, and Play 6 VST2. Word Builder does not advance. Notes stick. Cannot enter text in WordBuilder with the keyboard.


Hi Bill – this statement is referring to the new Eastwest player Opus and not to the previous one called Play, version 5 of which is what the majority of us who successfully use the Wordbuilder features in Symphonic Choirs are using. For a newcomer to these libraries, it has all become even more confusing than it was before. There’s not much the Dorico team can do at the moment and it’s probably easiest to wait until the dust has settled on Opus which will presumably eventually take over.

this is wrong, Brian and quite important. vst3 support was added for the final version (perhaps a bit earlier, I don’t remember exactly which ) of 5.0.6 which is what I use. Everyone using Play 5 should be running this version and not, for instance, 5.0.1 which is only vst2.

In general, this is a very interesting and helpful post, particularly your observations on Opus which I am in no position to test myself, not being a EWQL subscriber.

Thanks for the info. Being so new to EW instruments I had no idea. I found the 5.0.1 release it would seem, from a link someone provided here in the Dorico forums as ‘known to work well in Dorico’.

I am definitely having issues attempting to instant render a flow to audio in Dorico with that bidule > Opus set up described above.

I have other ways to get it rendered to audio (just throw a live recorder plugin in the main set of inserts) but it has to be done in real time.

Hello David, I am reeling at the mass of technical detail that Brian Roland has recently set out - I really am a beginner, and it makes me realise how much more I need to know .

What is Play 5, or Play 6 ? where can I find them ?

What is a bridge in this context ? Is it something physical, like a box to connect between the different parts (EW, for example) and the computer with Dorico ?

The technical details etc are something I have no Knowledge of at all, perhaps it could be because I have not progressed far enough in playing back music and using any expression map - is there any info on this on the Dorico website/forum/videos ?

I will print off all of this, as it is easier to read from paper than a screen.

Many thanks for your patience - no doubt I will find other details to ask about, but I did find the Phonetic Pronunciation Guide in the East West Hollywood choirs, when they were giving details about Wordbuilder, and I noticed that some of the sounds they tabulate are not at all the same, even in American English !
For example , the a in black is also in the same sound group as the a in after - and there are a few others. I am sure it is possible to distinguish the sounds in other ways, but I found it interesting.

What is a PM ?


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Depending on context PM could mean “Private Message” allowing one to contact an individual user privately. The Discourse forum software has that feature.


as Derrek says, a PM is a private message. I’ll write you one shortly with a few thoughts on this area – it is not straightforward for a novice so you have my sympathy. On the other hand, it’s not necessary to understand all the esoterics either (I don’t!) so Ill try and keep things as simple as possible. You’ve already picked up some things about the Wordbuilder pronunciation which is not always what you might expect but it’s not too hard to reprogramme the English.

The latest versions of Opus and Play typically come from a link or setup process you get for the EastWest “Installation Center” while purchasing an instrument or joining Composer cloud, or they can subsequently come from here:

Here are some links to Play 5:
Play 5.0.1 Link is:
Play 5.0.6 Link is:

Play 5.0.1 Link is:
Play 5.0.6 Link is:

Play and Opus are the hosting User Interface apps, or ‘sound engines’ for East West instruments. They either run as a stand alone program on their own, or as a ‘plugin’ inside a DAW. All plugin libraries are based on some UI and sound-engine. I.E. Garritan uses something called “ARIA Player”, Native Instruments uses something called “Kontakt”. Steinberg uses “HALion”, etc.

In the context of this thread we are trying to run them inside Dorico as a ‘plugin’.

Play has been around for a long time, and the majority of the East West instruments were designed specifically for this sound engine.

Opus is a very new engine that is meant to be backwards compatible with most of the older East West series of instruments, while adding a lot of enhancements to the newer libraries. Some of the newest instruments are designed specifically for it and take advantage of its many new features. Some of the newest East West instruments are NOT backwards compatible with the older Play sound engine. Since it is ‘brand new’, there may well be some older East West instruments that do not fully work with it yet (either the instruments need updates, or Opus has to have backwards compatibility coded in).

When you purchase an EW Library, or join their subscription cloud, you download an installer and unless you go out of your way to find something older, it will most likely provide the latest versions of Play 6 and Opus.

Play 6 and Opus doesn’t seem to be working well directly in Dorico for reasons unknown to me. At least not instruments that use the wordbuilder (I haven’t really tried others at this point).

VST is a protocol patented by Steinberg for building and implementing plugins for a host application to be ‘extended’ by running and communicating with new process threads. It defines how to update visual elements on a computer screen, and how to have a host communicate with a plugin.

VST2 is an older implementation of the protocol.
VST3 is the current standard.

Because many people are still using hosts that do not yet support VST3, most sound library producers try to continue providing a VST2 version of their plugins for solid legacy support.

VST3 is pretty bleeding edge. While most of the leading DAWs that support VST plugins are trying to keep up with this ‘bleeding edge’, it is much more difficult for ‘scoring apps’ like Dorico, Sibelius, and Finale to keep up. The overhead for developing the ‘scoring’ side of the software is so intense that updates to the ‘play engine’ aspect of such software can take a year or more to ‘catch up’ to what ‘tracking DAWs’ provide in terms of ‘play engine development’. So…several scoring apps don’t do VST3 at all yet, and Dorico is a bit behind the Cubase flagship product on supporting it.

In this context, by ‘bridge’ I mean using some other dll or vst3 plugin (software) to serve as an intermediary between Dorico and other plugins. Think of it as a host inside a host.

I.E. Dorico hosts an instance of Bidule. Inside bidule, I launch Play and/or Opus.

The hosts, or ‘bridges’ I mention here are third party software.

Bidule is a host and sound design tool. It’s popular for music software diagnostics, expanding MIDI controller features, complicated effect arrays, sound design, plugin chaining (expand insert capabilities when one runs out of inserts in a DAW’s native mixer), and serving instruments to multiple apps or computers at the same time. It’s more or less a miniture DAW that can be run in stand alone for serving or live performing, as a plugin inside other hosts, or connected to a Master or Slave host via ReWire. It can also be used as a remote sound server kind of like VEP with extra software for the networking side of things.

VEP (Vienna Pro Ensemble) also provides a ‘host inside a host’ sort of plugin bridge. It goes a step further in that plugins can be set up in a ‘server’ configuration that can actually run on a different computer and send the sound back to the host via networking protocols. This software is popular for offloading resource demands to secondary systems, serving instruments to multi-workstation studios, and for the convenience of being able to easily port a similar or identical sound stage across multiple DAWs on the local system.

VIP is software that ships with a number of AKAI MIDI controllers, and can also be purchased independently of owning an Akai controller. The concept behind this software is simply to make it easy to manage and use instruments directly from a single MIDI Controller using the buttons/dials/wheels and displays on the controller. Like Bidule and VEP, it can be loaded into a Host like Dorico, and then other plugins can be loaded into VIP from there. In short, in a single plugin space of something like Dorico, one can load multiple plugins and effects into a sub-mix, of which the controls can be driven remotely via MIDI and/or VST controller lanes.

In the case of jBridge: It was primarily designed to run 32 bit plugins in 64bit hosts, or vice verse. It’s also kind of like a ‘host inside a host’. It provides a number of flag options for how memory is managed, and for forcing different behaviors and/or interpretations over the years on how the VST protocol should be implemented. I think it can also ‘bridge’ plugins with the same memory bit width. It sets up unique memory space for the plugin it’s hosting.

There are several threads here on the forums discussing the use of East West instruments with Dorico. You might even find where people are sharing expression maps and such. Forum searches are the best way to hunt them down.

As for the bridges, I share that information mainly for people who might have this software or similar at hand and would like to try it as an ‘option’ against rolling back East West Play to version 5.

It would seem the ‘easiest’ solution at this time for Dorico is to install Play 5 (can be downloaded from the East West Support Area on the web). If you have other DAWs that might better support Opus, such as Cubase, or would like to use it in stand alone mode, go ahead and install Opus as well.

Bridging isn’t necessary unless you also want to try out some newer instruments that were built exclusively for Opus.

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Thank you so much for descibing all the technicalities that I really had no idea about - it is good to see them explained to a newbie (?) like me, and I can now begin to see just what is involved in the extraordinary developments in music software - I started by trying to see how I could write choral music, with the words (as far as is possible) being understood, and this has led me to Eastwest.

If it is OK by you, I would like to download and print out your explanations - I find a sheet of paper much easier to read than using a laptop screen.



Yes, it is perfectly fine to print it, or pdf it for your eReader, what ever you like.

I suggest waiting a bit (say an hour past this post) and refresh your browser before printing, as I’ll proof read it and make some edits.

If you share it with others (printed, or in an eFormat), please include a link back here to these Steinberg forums as the source.

post deleted


After asking so many questions I feel that, with so much help from so many - thank you - I feel that AT PRESENT I should accept that I cannot use EWSC yet - my computer is simply not enough for it - but also the Play/Opus problem is something I could not fully work with - yet.

So I will take up the kind suggestion to get to know Noteperformer, and by using this I will be able to take many steps in learning such things as assigning sounds and making some progress in music: I shall also use the suggestion to allocate different instruments for choral music - after all, when I am ready I can reassign choirs !

In the meantime I am sure I will still be asking questions - there is so much to learn - but I will be composing, and building up the spec for a more appropriate computer for EWSC.


I think you are making a wise decision. Delving heavily into VSTs (particularly in the area of speech synthesis) is an enormous undertaking, and if making music is what you really want to do, concentrating on that (and learning to use Dorico) first is a worthy priority. Once comfortable with that, delving further into various VSTs will be much easier if you are still interested.

I have nothing near the vast experience Brian has (although I read his posts with interest and learn as much as I can from them), but I find that in spite of decades experience with notation software (and choral music), I mostly start with HALion or NotePerformer sounds until I find I need something more specialized for a specific situation.

As some have already suggested, I often use separate wind instruments on choral parts so I can hear the various voices individually.

Even if you can’t always hear all the words of the text (often the case with human voices as well), the overall sound of it is important unless the composer is paying little or no attention to it – in which case why bother with a text at all? That’s why I’ve never found it satisfactory to use a choir with oohs and aahs or, even worse other instruments to get an idea of what I’m trying to express. Even folk who listen to my music who are not usually great fans of SC + Wordbuilder, the consensus is clearly than it’s better than not having the text at all. And that’s currently the choice before us.

But I do agree with @Derrek that it’s a tough place to get started and for @bill19 Bill, it could be offputting. NotePerformer won’t give you that much idea of what a choral work should sound like but it could do the job for checking harmony, polyphony etc which might be enough to produce a score for a real choir. For other music, it’s relatively easy to use choice and the quality for full orchestral music is often better than you might expect. For chamber ensembles, though, the instrumental detail is not really good enough I would say but opinions differ

Incidentally, Bill, Symphonic Choirs under Play doesn’t not need a superspec PC to run it. It was Ok on my previous one which dated back to 2009. It’s old software now. Probably the Opus version will be a bit more demanding.

Thank you for your kind help - it was a difficult decision, but when I think of it, I have much to learn, and Noteperfomer is not a bad place to learn. It is a irony that the most basic of musical activities, singing, is the hardest to replicate on music software, but by the time I have made enough progress on Noteperformer , the situation might be different.

I am intrigued by your last paragraph (I do not know how to copy it here) about a superspce computer. My present laptop is an I 3, processor with a tiny RAM of only 4 G. I know, and will soon work on , upgrading the RAM to 16G, but the processor ? Can that really deal with the Symphonic Choirs ?

I have looked again at the Eastwest website, and Play 5 is no longer being offered, so I will have to work out what to do - after Noteperformer.

As a target piece of music, how about the part of the Halleluiah Chorus "and He will live for ever and ever " with all that I would like to do - orchestra, choir singing in a fugal way (I have sung this in a choral society, and would love to get it into a Dorico file. )

You see, I haven’t lost my aspirations and dreams: by the time I am able to do this, maybe Dorico will have been able to deal with it, you never know !


my current PC is a 4 core i3 which is around the equivalent of a four year old modest i5. Many people writing on this forum seem to have far higher spec machines bur for most purposes they’re not really necessary unless you later get into the really high end stuff. I now have 32Gb RAM but my old PC had just 8Gb and ran SC under Sibelius OK. 4 is definitely too low, though -that’s hardly enough to run windows 10 plus a browser! 16Gb can certainly run Symphonic Choirs. If your laptop is fairly new, you may be OK – in my view it’s most important to get a good quality sound device as built-in soundchips in laptops are seldom the best. But of course I understand your decision about not going straight in with SC – Noteperformer is a good place to start in general terms.

I don’t know if you saw my PM – there is a link to a mockup of my own music which I posted. The writing is generally contrapuntal and melodic and should give you some idea of what SC can do even if more polishing is ideally required… I’m not interesting in doing mockups of other people’s music in general although, like all choral singers, I’ve sung the Hallelujah Chorus.

Hello again,
Your details about your computer was very interesting. I may well try to get an i5 at some time, but will still upgrade my present and use it until I find it cannot deal with my efforts.
The limitations of my present computer’s memory is a bit of an eye opener - It was OK when I ran W7, and luckily I was able to get the University computer service for students to update it to W10.
I think that going too soon to SC may not be a good idea, especially as it would entail some problems without Word builder. I think I will wait until I have worked for some time on NP, and perhaps there will be some easier way to use SC - not to mention Opus.

I will now look at your PM, especially the music you sent. Sorry I have not done so up to now - I needed some time to respond.