Dorico keeps re-assigning my vocal sound

Dorico assigns an “Ah” sound to vocal staves. The attack of this sound is way too slow for my needs so I’ve changed all these staves to play a piano sound. And even though I’ve painstakingly re-assigned these staves to a piano many times, Dorico has a nasty habit of changing them all back to this ‘ah’ sound whenever it gets a chance. This occurs sometimes when import another flow into my project, or when I add an additional part (an instrument change) to one of my singers. All vocal staves keep getting re-assigned to “Ah”. Is there a way to hardwire Dorico to always use a piano sound for vocals? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Manually editing a Halion instance in Play view each time this happens isn’t the best use of time. This is something I’d let to set and forget. I’m seeing a way to choose a ‘playback template’, but of the choices available, I don’t see a way to edit a template or create a new one.

Basically what I’d like to do is teach Dorico that if it ever encounters a vocalist ‘player’, it needs to assign “x” instrument to it, not the “y” instrument it is assigning by default. Likewise, the “Y” instrument would be fine if I could hard-line the attack envelope, save it, and overwrite the super slow “ah”.

After you have changed the instrument assignments manually, they should stay changed unless you use some of the options in the Play menu that make Dorico reload ALL the sounds again.

The downside of that is that if you add any new player or instrument to the score after you make some manual assignments, you have to assign that manually as well, but it should then “stick.”

From your first post I can’t guess exactly what you are doing that is making Dorico reset all the sounds.

Maybe you could add a bunch of instruments to the score in one batch - presumably you have a general idea what you are likely to want. AFAIK moving instruments between players or changing the order of staves in the score won’t reassign the sounds. If you don’t assign the players to any flows until you need them, they won’t clutter up the written score.

You might investigate NotePerformer as an alternative (it’s not free, but there is a free 30 day trial). The NotePerformer vocal samples there have a much sharper attack (and are better in tune) than those in Halion, which Daniel has admitted are pretty terrible.

Yep this is what’s happening. I have a giant musical theatre project with 40+ musical numbers as individual flows in various stages of completion. As I work, I’m cleaning up midi files in separate Dorico projects, and then importing those small, single flows into my larger project. I’ve found it’s safer to import in as a flow with all new instruments assigned to it, rather than asking Dorico to match up existing players in my project. After I cut and paste from these transfer flows I delete them and all their instruments along with them. I’m sure the constant loading and unloading of sounds into this Dorico project is causing the issue.

I have NotePerformer. But this is pop band/big band type thing (everything is already fully realized in my DAW) and, from a notation point of view I really don’t care about the timbre of sound at all. I just want to check the notes and rhythms aurally before distributing this music at rehearsal.

You can have two (or more) projects open at the same time in different windows, and copy/paste between them instead of importing new flows and new instruments into the main project and losing your overrides to the playback configuration. If you have enough display area you can keep both windows visible at once (e.g. on different monitors).

If you try that idea, it would be quicker to set the default playback template to Silence while you are assembling the project, because if you have two projects open at once, Dorico has to reload the playback configuration every time you switch focus from one to the other.

For what it’s worth, we agree that it’s important that you should be able to tell Dorico to play back an instrument as if it were another instrument, so that you don’t have to make those sound adjustments inside your virtual instrument directly. However, I’m afraid this isn’t something that you can expect us to fix in the small forthcoming update – it will be something for a future version.

Thanks Rob. I tried this once early on, but because the reloading of sounds when switching back and forth I ended up with my present solution. Setting one project or both to ‘silence’ beforehand is a smart workaround. Thanks for that suggestion. I’ll definitely try that.

Thanks for the response, Daniel. I just want to ensure my parts are sounding as expected. Unfortunately, the attack envelope on the default vocal patch is too slow to produce any sound in my score. The only way I can check the notes (and rhythms) in my many vocal parts is to sight-read them manually, or go under the hood and try to change the sounds assigned to them. In other words, my need is not fueled by sonic preference or taste. Changing the default sound, in this case, is a functional necessity to ensure accuracy.

Dorico assigns an “Ah” sound to vocal staves. The attack of this sound is way too slow for my needs so I’ve changed all these staves to play a piano sound. And even though I’ve painstakingly re-assigned these staves to a piano many times, Dorico has a nasty habit of changing them all back to this ‘ah’ sound whenever it gets a chance.

I have the same problems, as you have billscores. While arranging for choir I really need to hear those voices clearly and distinguishable. Noteperformer isn’t a big help there. Actually I don’t assign my choir to the piano sound, but each voice to a different sound (clarinet, sax, trumpet, …). I had the same reassigning problem, so I went for another solution. I reassigned to my midi piano and that’s working fine for me. Especially with large scores like yours, I would stay with your DAW sounds, at least this was my experience.

Yes, I agree, the attack of NotePerformer’s default vocal sound is also too slow to get any kind of accuracy in a proofread. I remember having the same issue with Sibelius, but over there it was relatively easy to tweak and save the default instrument library. Guess we’ll have to wait a while for that ability. Thanks for acknowledging this issue.

With Noteperformer setting a choir to cornet, tenor horn, euphonium and tuba gives a pretty ‘choral’ balance.

You’re right, that’s a better choice than mine for proofreading, but then again it’s this re-assigning issue.

Mine doesn’t reassign, but it does ‘lose’ note performer, asking me to choose it as playback option again. Restarting Dorico two or three times, it comes back.

I’m running Dorico with VSTAudio Engine2 I’m also trying to change the vocal “aah to ooh choir” sound for proofreading. As soon as I change a vocal line to a different instrument, it plays but at such a low volume. If I change it back to the Aah to Ooh sound it works again. Does anyone have a recommendation for further troubleshooting?

You need to also change the expression map in the Endpoint Setup dialog to something more appropriate for the vocal sound you’re using.

This aspect has always been challenging for notation programs. On one hand, there is a desire for power users to have complete control over their VST settings. But many users and most projects (I’d guess) really don’t need that highly granular control. I don’t think anybody has achieved an ideal balance yet.

I think your comment suggests the right direction. There should be a hierarchy of defaults (and there already is to a degree.) The system should have some built-in defaults that will produce adequate results for the first time user who simply adds a player with an instrument. That is already in place. There needs to be a user preference setting that prioritizes what VSTs to use for particular voices. For example, I may want to use a particular VST for a drum set or electric piano, and that should span projects – those will be my preferences most of the time.

We have the ability to set the voices at the detailed VST level, but something in-between would be nice. Your comment suggests that we might be able to override the defaults at the player-instrument level (i.e. within SETUP instead of within PLAY). And once that is set, we could ask Dorico to reorganize the VST settings at liberty without losing that association between that particular player-instrument and the voice/expression map needed for that one player-instrument.

Something like that would be very nice.