Expression map for the new Spitfire Audio Abbey Road Orchestra Cellos module

I’m attempting to build an expression map in Dorico 5 for the new Spitfire Audio Abbey Road Orchestra Cellos module but confess that the range of legato types, legato playback lengths and playing velocity variations to select them has left me thoroughly confused. At present my primary selection parameter is the keyswitch and within that playing velocity for the length variations, but perhaps this is making it unnecessarily complicated. To use the module in Dorico perhaps the answer is to keep it very simple rather than try to accommodate every playing velocity variation. and legato type. Translating all the variations into notation instructions is probably an impossible task. Does any other Dorico Forum member have suggestions on the best approach?

I’m afraid I don’t have any recent Spitfire libraries. What options does this library have? Is there documentation anywhere? I might have some ideas if I am able to get a clear sense of what you are dealing with.

There seem to be many options which is great for composing but perhaps too detailed for notation. Here is the manual for ARO Cellos
ARO_Cellos_User Manual.pdf (4.0 MB)

Looks to me from that like as far as Legato goes, it probably only makes sense to map the Performance Legato and completely ignore the Lyrical Legato. You’ll need to limit the velocity to between 30 and 109 to properly trigger the “slurred only” option. And for the Natural technique for unslurred notes, you could use the Performance Legato as well but limit the velocity to 120-127 so that it always triggers detache bowing.

If you really wanted to map the lyrical legato, for instance if it is much better at certain materials, I would probably do so with a custom playing technique and playback technique.

That’s very helpful, thank you. I agree the lyrical legato is probably best ignored and the performance legato combined with the velocity limits you suggest may usefully serve several articulation types. I’ll move forward on that basis and share a draft of what I create here for comment.

For the moment I’ve decided to include all the articulation types in order to explore their practical use so here’s a first draft. The destination note velocity is a critical aspect of AROC which it may not be possible to replicate in Dorico but for now I’ve included all the legato variations. I suspect that at the end I will untick enable for many of them and use a much simplified version of the expression map. Tomorrow I will explore the playing techniques and run some test on what I’ve created so far. This is very much a work in progress and any observations you want to make will be well received.

There are quite a few duplications, natural and longs for instance, but I believe natural must always be included in the expression maps. No doubt eventually I will be able to eliminate many if not all the duplications.

Abbey Road Orchestra (3.0 KB)

I’ve got most of the new Abbey Road collections but haven’t picked up this one yet. FWIW I do keep Abbey Road expression maps simple, and I’ve never so far included velocity, tightness, etc. values.

I feel like they are designed around “season to taste” as Paul seems to favor flying those in with a controller. I’ve come to like just fooling around with it - two hands on knobs to see what I can do. It seems overall faster, not stiff or mechanical and better fitting than too many fixed rules. .

I don’t ignore the lyrical legato. When I want it, it’s often over part of a passage that would otherwise be natural and I tend to cheat by putting in one of Dorico Midi trigger regions in the score, on say the second note so I know it’s after where the expression map does it’s thing. More season to taste IMO.

Thanks for sharing your own experience with the Abbey Road collection. Keeping the expression map as simple as possible, at least to begin with, does seem the best advice.