Expression Map Conflicts / Invisible Built in Maps

Hi, I’ve been using expression maps for a while and sill keep discovering some things I thought I understood but don’t fully.

So a recent example: A clever user suggested creating combined playback techniques to adjust note length for natural, legato, and marcato phrases. So for legato, they created a legato + 90, which set the length at 90%, and a legato + 100, that set length at 100%, and use it for things like shortening/adjusting the length of the last midi note in a legato phrase without using the piano roll.

I tried recreating that setup but discovered if I apply legato + 90 attribute to a note in legato phrase, it reduces the length of all the notes in the legato phrase except the last note. So those are two odd behaviors. Why is an attribute effecting a whole phrase (except the last note), and why is the attribute on the last note being ignored? The other user did not have this issue so clearly there are some settings working on this that aren’t obvious.

I also tried creating the combined technique for natural. Natural + 50, Natural+90, etc. but found that when I added the attribute to a Natural note it did not recognize the combination.

My guess is there are conflicts with some kind of playback settings that need to be turned off, but I’m not sure where to start; or it could have something to do with exclusion groups settings, but I’ve never been able to find good documentation on the full logic behind exclusion groups.

Another behavior I’ve had a little bit of issue with is how, if I attach a CC to staccato, it only triggers the CC if the staccato note is an eighth note or shorter. If I add the marking to a quarter note, it uses natural, even though I did not specify any length rules. It seems like Dorico has a lot of preset rules for markings that aren’t visible in expression maps - I’d love to learn what all these are so I can anticipate issues - is this ‘hidden’ expression map available as documentation? That would be a huge help in anticipating these situations. Also, if I apply my own rule about note length, will it override this preset behavior? (in that case I at least know how to test it).

The theme is I keep thinking I understand how this all works and then keep being surprised by exceptions. Each is a learning opportunity but often I have no clue how to begin to solve it. In the case of the Natural technique - how do I learn what rules govern it, what overrides those rules vs just creates conflicts? I think it’s interesting that applying a new expression map to it doesn’t automatically override any preset behavior, same with staccato - if I didn’t define length rules, it’s interesting that it enforces some not included in my expression map; this creates unexpected outcomes.

All that said, Dorico is really, really great, I just want to get to a place where my internal model of how it works matches what actually happens when I setup playback. I keep thinking I’ve got it and then something odd happens - is there a fuller manual that unpacks these interactions?

The staccato issue is probably due to the Maximum duration for staccato playback technique setting on the Timing page of Playback Options.

For the last note under a slur, I think I’m right in saying that Dorico will treat it as an unslurred note, so the legato playing technique effectively ends after the transition between the penultimate and ultimate notes under the slur.

Thanks Daniel, and apologies for the long, ranty post, appreciate all the hard work your team puts on this software, and for you taking the time to help me.