Eastwest Choirs/Wordbuilder

Does version 3.5 of Dorico solve the midi issue that keeps WordBuilder in EastWest choirs from being properly triggered? This is the major reason I would want to upgrade. Interestingly, when selecting notes in Dorico 3.1 the choirs move from syllable to syllable properly, but when playing back they do not. Also, the exported midi file from Dorico DOES trigger WordBuilder properly when processed through a DAW. Very confusing behavior. The real question is does it work properly with 3.5?

Windows 10, Dorico 3.1, 16 Gb RAM, Ryzen 3700, PCI-4 Corsair SSD

I’m very, very interested in this as well. I haven’t yet ventured into word-building libraries, but I’m watching the development closely.

From what I’ve seen, it seems EW is the only one at present that offers a true English-language word builder. Is that the case?

I believe the problem is that Dorico doesn’t pass on any tempo information, which WordBuilder and certain other plugins need. There’s no change to this in 3.5, but this has been promised for a future version.

It does, but I have to say I was very disappointed with it. Don’t get your hopes up quite yet.


Thanks Richard. I had gotten the impression it could produce passable demos, but only with great labor.

The amount and complexity of the programming surely must be mind-boggling. I’ll wait.

Wordbuilder presents a true American language Wordbuilder :slight_smile: . But unlike any other I know of, you can use it’s phonetic alphabet to make a stab at other languages such as German, French, Russian or what have you. Latin is fairly good I would say.

Interesting to hear the above as I find Wordbuilder works clearly better with Dorico than Sibelius. The latter was all over the shop with tempo changes but Dorico seems unfazed and correctly follows the text to the end in both pieces I’ve composed which include voices (singing in German and Latin in this case). Unlike with my VSL stuff where I’ve programmed all the Expression Maps myself, I simply chose default settings for Symphonic Choirs.
There is much that I hate with WB but there’s still nothing else I know of that gives the all round flexibility.

Appears to work exactly the same in 3.5. I’m talking solely about works composed in Dorico and not about MIDI export/import or whatever. Could the OP be more specific about what doesn’t seem to work?

I’m not the OP so may not be the same… the last time I used it there were no playback issues if you started from the beginning, But if you started someplace in the middle, the plugin appears to start playing from the beginning of its phrase without an awareness of where you started in the score. Annoying, but its something you can work around. I worked in short phrases, and pasted them together when I was ready.

Not just English, but other languages as well (German, Latin). They’ve come a long way, over a decade ago the “Symphonic Choirs” were first released, with wordbuilder. A few years ago, a much improved “Hollywood Choirs” was released, with much better realism.

It’s terrific program, I encourage you to explore it (you can get a monthly cloud subscription for about $30 per month). Don’t expect the program to beat any real choir, it can sound weird, even if you try to tweak the syllables.

And you can even combine it with your favorite engraving program. I created this video using Sibelius a few years ago. I’m sure you should be able to do this and do it much better in Dorico.


Ditto. It was the best at the time, but it was still tedious, and the results were not worth it to me. It’s the kind of thing where, if you’re a genius at using it, you’ll probably do okay. I wasn’t, and I didn’t.

Unfortunately, the Wordbuilder text file is not directly linked to the music at all so you can only start from the beginning or create a new beginning by putting the text you currently want to hear at the top or commenting out the rest. CC20,127 restarts from the beginning. It’s a pain but it’s simply the way WB works and I have got used to putting up with it.

Hi dko22,
I’m very intrigued that you can get the Wordbuilder to play back in Dorico. I can set up an instance of PLAY on a stave and play my keyboard and it all works as expected…the words get sung back. As soon as I enter some notes on the stave and play them back, then there is nothing. I’m not sure whether it is the lack of tempo information that ghilton mentioned above, although that is certainly something that stops some patches in some sample libraries from working. The problem as I see it is that Wordbuilder splits up the syllables that make up the words onto different midi channels - You can see it happening in the PLAY UI on the RHSide. When Dorico plays back, it only sends on a single midi channel and therefore most of the constituent parts of the choir do not get triggered. How have you managed to get this working?? You mentioned using the default expression map, but how is your midi configuration setup?

In general, the EastWest Choirs are pretty good I think. Hollywood Choirs are not a great advance on the original Symphonic Choirs, but there are some improvements. You can do a decent mockup with them. The challenge of getting a choir to sing back the words you desire in a natural way is quite significant. I think that in most choral music it is quite hard to understand the words anyway, so you can get away with some approximations. I have recently got FluffyAudio’s Dominus Choir Pro and am experimenting with using this library in Dorico. The Legato patches do require the tempo information that is missing in Dorico, but the marcato and staccato patches work well. The wordbuilding capability and playback structure is slightly different to EastWest, but I am able to get SATB playback with independent words in each part, even if all possible syllables are not available in the software.

For SATB choir, I simply use 4 instances of Play (one per part), all set to Channel 1. I know WB uses 12 channels internally but there’s no need to try and replicate that in Dorico. Are you quite sure you’re not over-complicating things? I did exactly the same in Sibelius. If you’re still stuck, I’m happy to go through this with you but probably not at my PC again till tomorrow evening.

Funny you mention the Dominus Choir Pro. It’s an interesting concept and for certain kinds of music sounds good but I’m not sure whether, even in the Pro version, it can articulate anything other than smooth legato correctly. There is only a limited language phrase-book so to speak, rather than a (more or less) freely programmable dictionary. But it’s the only other thing I’ve come across which has some potential as a more or less general purpose choir and it must be easier to programme the text than WB. I agree that the Hollywood choirs are not necessarily an advance on the original, rather they serve different purposes.

Thanks! I have sent you a PM and will post a solution if we find one. I am basically experiencing exactly the same behavior as the OP, ghilton. When Dorico starts playing, it seems to knock out the sound from the VST even though the notes are registering in the PLAY GUI.

Dominus Choir Pro does take a different approach in that you don’t constantly have this issue of having to start playback at the beginning of a long phrase. In DCP the text is arranged in smaller, key switched phrases which are easier to manage I think. The somewhat limited syllables do create some issues, but it has been done in an ingenious way so that you can generally fake what is not there.

Would someone be willing to share a snippet of a recording they made using EW? I’m curious to hear some real-world results.

here is a Mass in classic/romantic style which gives a decent account of the strengths and weaknesses of the choir to my mind. There is little specific programming involved so anyone should be able to get similar results. You can listen to whichever snippets you want – try sampling different movements.



Specifically what’s happening for me is that I do exactly what you describe, i.e. for SATB I will have four instances of Play, one for each voice. I use channel one of each instance of Play. It connects with Dorico fine in that when I enter notes, or click on notes I hear the correct voice. If I click on notes successively it sounds the syllables correctly with no problem. However, if I press play to hear the entire piece there is no sound output. However, if you look at any of the Play instances the virtual keys are being pressed as they should be – just no sound.

I’m wondering if I need to do something with the playback template to achieve the success that you have had.

Any thoughts?


You are experiencing EXACTLY the same issue as I am. You are on Windows10 and I am on a Mac so that rules that possibility out. I have sent dko22 a PM and so between us all, hopefully we will be able to figure it out. Maybe dko22 will be able to post a project here that we can both download and try.
It is most odd that when Dorico enters playback mode, it just cuts out the audio connection to the PLAY vst, but seems to maintain the midi connection.
dko22 stated earlier in this thread that he was using the default Expression Map, so I don’t think that is the problem…I have tried a different EM but it makes no difference.

dko22 sent me a Dorico file that works at his end, but the same issue persists on my system. btw, I am using the original Symphonic Choirs Instrument and not the updated Hollywood Choirs Instrument, however I am on the latest version of PLAY, so I doubt whether that is the problem…but it could be. ghilton: Which library are you using?

Dear Paul Walmsley, are you able to test the EastWest Choirs playback at your end?

I’m also using the regular Symphonic Choirs and the latest version of Play. Strange stuff.