Drum Maps

Are there any plans to allow the copying over of Cubase Drum Maps to Dorico. Seems to me they are closely related and it would save a lot of typing. I accept the need to create appropriate new Drum Kits.

I don‘t think Cubase‘ drum maps contain the information needed by Dorico. Instruments and playing techniques are unique to and required by Dorico.

Welcome to the forum, Rusperhermit. I’m not an expert on Cubase’s drum maps (far from it!) but they might be able to be used to save a bit of typing in the Play > Percussion Maps dialog, because they only map a specific drum sound to a particular MIDI note, you’d still be missing quite a bit of the information that Dorico depends upon to create meaningful unpitched percussion playback.

I think I did not express my question carefully enough. It seems to me that the Cubase map has info on note assignment, input note number, channel output and notehead type. If the relevant kit element was added then it seems to me that it is close to a percussion map. Obviously I do not know how stuff works below this upper level, but the question was, are there any plans in the future to look at bring the two together. Apart from the strange Steinberg obsession with an alternative MIDI note numbering they seem to have the same structures.

It is close to “denormalised” dorico percusion map, yes, and to be honest, personally I would prefer if Dorico provided such one-stop-shop UI for “drum maps”, which is entierly doable.

However, cubase has no distinction between instrument and playing technique. Instead, they are all plain text sound names, like “Snare - sidestick”, “Snare - rimshot” etc, with ni real structure. Name could be whatever giberish.

It would be possible to even do heuristic / ml supported mappings of sound names to instruments and playing techniques, but i doubt Steinberg is going to implement it.

Why Dorico has more complex mapping? Because it supports more complex (engraving focused) use cases. In Cubase you can’t define a custom icon and assign it to a note to produce a different sound. In Dorico, you can.

What’s butging me more is that dorico does not apply correct playing techniques when importing midi, even with a map present, but that is another story.

I understand your frustration but it is why I think common ground is possible. If you have a combination of Kit element, articulation, notehead, output channel and MIDI note, you have the items needed to define the response. If Cubase drum maps added kit element there could be a linkage of notehead to articulation in Dorico. Hence a path forward. Obviously this will have limited scope for pre-existing Cubase drum maps - hence my comment about the future. But if note number could be interpreted into articulation, then it may solve the above issue.

Attached is an example Cubase drum map.

How it could map to Dorico (PK - percussion kit, PT - playback/playing technique, PM - percussion map):

PK instrument - (missing 1)
PK instrument position in 5 line staff - display note
PK instrument PT - (missing 2)
PK instrument PT notehead - head style
PM instrument - (missing 1)
PM instrument PT - (missing 2)
PM midi note - O-note

In Dorico, “instrument” and “playback technique” are entities (objects). In Cubase, instrument field is a string with no underlying object, it’s just a moniker. That’s why these two fields are flagged as “missing” in the above map.

What Dorico could do is to provide a UI to import cubase drum map, and let user choose instrument and PT from a dropdown (and, for the love of god, make it possible to add PT right there). From there it’s possible to generate the separate underlying configurations.

As there are many cubase drum maps out there, yeah, this would be pretty awesome.


This sounds a good way forward to me as it would open up a lot of historical drum maps without yet further tedious typing. I also wonder if there could be a greater understanding of the kit/articulation to note relationship for a given drum setup, would this open up scope for the import of the vast volume of MIDI files that are out there to help a non-drummer like me to build tracks. I presume that the only reason we can transfer a GM drum file is that it has in effect a fixed set of note/kit/articulation relationships. If 'theoretical’s above mapping can build this up , could it open the door to using the likes of EZdrummer and Groove Agent files directly. I know that Dorico is supposed to be a composer 's tool, but some of us need help with unfamiliar instruments!

Rusoerhermit, you can create custom drum maps for EZdrummer etc, you just need to start from scratch and go through 4 or 5 different UIs to make it work.

Theoretical - understand and have made EZdrummer work if I build it from scratch and use note numbers not Steinberg’s MIDI note assignments (Octave difference). However it is frustrating that I cannot use the Drum track build up capability in EZdrummer (or Groove Agent) to build and import a drum MIDI track. Also. if I copy a midi file across using GM version and a Halion drum track, then it displaces the Up-stem voice by a note when I copy to the EZ track? Weird.

I have written a drum map for EZDrummer - see: https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=246&t=168746&p=908837&hilit=ezdrummer#p903026 . In general if you are creating a drum map for an instrument that is ‘almost GM’ then use the existing GM drum map as a starting point and add/remove things you don’t need. If you assign the EZDrummer drum map to your instrument then you can drag and drop parts from the EZDrummer plugin window.

Paul - Afraid this is not working for me. Can happily copy across (or import) a GM file and manipulate it to whatever Drum Map I wish to use. I cannot however import a Groove Agent or EZdrummer file without it converting to a non drum file which does not allow conversion using the change instrument option - Unpitched percussion not available. If I try to use drag and drop then a whole song instance is presented. I don’t know if there is some setting I am missing but frustration levels are high. For now it looks like I need to get a basic drum track based on GM used during the Dorico stage and then refine it late r when in Cubase. I find it particularly frustrating that the two Steinberg products do not yet operate with each other.

Unfortunately we don’t yet have any mechanism for importing Cubase drum maps, and even if we did, as Daniel mentioned, we still wouldn’t have enough semantic information to import correctly into Dorico. The problem with MIDI files is that they have virtually no useful information in them for knowing anything at all about what the contents represent – there isn’t even anything that indicates that they are a drum track. So when you import a MIDI file containing a track from EZDrummer into Dorico then the best that Dorico can do is guess, based on the input options what the contents of each track are.

I think there may be a way of making this work, if you have the file open in Cubase:

  • Rename the percussion track to ‘Drum Set’ or ‘Drum Kit’
  • Export the MIDI file and import into Dorico, selecting the option to use track names to identify instruments
  • If that doesn’t identify the drum track or import enough of the notes then add a new Drum Set instrument in Dorico and switch to Play Mode
  • Load EZDrummer to the VST Rack and route the Drum Set track to it
  • Import the EZDrummer percussion map I mentioned above
  • In the Endpoint Setup dialog, set the percussion map to EZDrummer
  • Switch back to Cubase and drag the drum track into bar 1 of the Drum Set in Dorico

I have been able to drag parts from EZDrummer’s window into Dorico using this method.

We do hope to add more control over the MIDI import process in the future, as we know that there are cases like this that can be difficult to work with.

Paul - Just tried your import method and it worked - so this looks good. In fact, due to my oversight, it imported both the drum and bass track I had built up in EZDrummer so after a bit of fiddling I got a complete Rhythm section . It imported them into a new flow so I just removed the initial flow to get the song up and running. So I don’t know if I would get a repeat of the previous issue of notes moving when copying. However I now have a method for establishing a Rhythm track from a Cubase perspective so thank you very much for this help.

I look forward to future developments and would still like some thought to be given to the greater integration of Cubase and Dorico. I still like 'Theoretical’s idea about Cubase drum map import but I now realise that voicing is an issue that also needs resolution., so maybe we need both notehead and voice discriminators (stem direction ??). For now very many thanks for your interest and knowledge, it will save me substantial time.