Ensemble patch expression map switching

I sent the good people at Dorico an email about this but wondered if anyone else would appreciate this functionality.

Using a 6 player horn section as an example:

I’d like to have passages written for individual instruments play as normal. But in passages where 2 players are playing in unison, Dorico would trigger an “a2” patch, and in passages where all 6 are playing in unison, Dorico would trigger an “a6” patch. NotePerformer seems to do this automatically, but I’d love to see the same kind of contextual switching when using other libraries.

The timbral difference between a properly recorded ensemble patch and layering two solo instruments together is very marked.

Any thoughts?

Yes, I would very much like to see this as well. At the moment the only way to accomplish this is by adding a hidden “a2” or “a6” playing technique in one part to trigger the a2 or a6 patch.

Check this thread:

Thanks for the link. I emailed back and forth with John. He seems very resistant to the idea for some reason. The work around would indeed seem to be a playing technique of a2 etc and surpassing playback of the duplicate parts. Shame that the program can’t do this intelligently however…

I looked at John’s comment in the other thread - I’m not sure that potential phasing issues is really the only difference between four solo horns playing the same note and four horns in unison. I could take four different solo horn patches in different libraries and play them simultaneously on the same pitch and I don’t think it would really sound exactly the same as a horns a4 patch. The problem with triggering such a patch is that the program or sampler has to be able to “look ahead” since just because if you have two horns that have simultaneous note-on’s for the same pitch, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the note off will fall in exactly the same spot. I’m not sure whether condensing would really help there either because the “a2” or “a4” would not appear if it were engraved with double stems on a single notehead, and therefore would not trigger the ensemble patch. So if Dorico were programmed with this ability, it couldn’t really rely on the condensing feature - instead, it would take some extra analysis, since it would have to “read ahead” in the music to determine whether the same note with same note-on time and note-off time was played in two players of the same instrument to trigger the patch. Also it would have to know what to do if there were 3 horns, or 5 horns in unison on the same pitch, and so given all of these complexities, I understand why he is resistant.

Ed - if I may suggest a library that could potentially be useful for this sort of situation, I find the Sample Modeling brass library can do this pretty well. I don’t use it in Dorico, but it is my go-to brass library in Cubase because it has all of the articulations with all mutes. It also has a special convolution that you load up when multiple brass instruments are in unison and does a reasonable job of simulating that as a result. The convolution can be triggered with a CC, so it might be relatively easy to use in Dorico - you could add a hidden playback technique that adds the CC to add the unison convolution into all four parts and remove it afterwards. The main downside to Sample Modeling is that it is extremely dry and so it can be hard to mix. I was not able to get it placed in the space properly with my Lexicon or other high end reverbs, and Altiverb gave this weird artifacting, so I had it for several years but it was underutilized. After a lot of research and testing I wound up buying EAReverb 2 because it allowed me to position the Sample Modeling brass properly in the space, and that wound up being an excellent solution - now it blends very well with my other libraries with very little work.