Expression Map Issues Spitfire

I’m trying to build expression maps for SF Appasionata Strings. I’m just trying to get a basic keyswitch map to work, but I must be doing something wrong. None of my switches will trigger the articulations. There’s a short articulation for “Glancing Attack.” If I have previously selected that by clicking on it in the interface, it does not switch if I try to play, say, the legato patch. Nothing switches, it just plays whatever I may have last clicked on. I had this issue with SSO and eventually gave up. Appasionata doesn’t have UACC switching, so I can’t try that (though a gentleman on the forum is working on this for SSO). Anyone else have similar issues with Spitfire stuff?

Thanks.

One thing I always check in cases like this is the key editor - playing techniques lane. This can at least tell you whether or not it’s being correctly triggered by Dorico in the first place as a way to diagnose your maps. If there are no changes there (i.e. it all says ‘natural’) then most likely the map isn’t set up correctly.

Also you’ll want to double-check the map is correctly connected to the instrument in the play tab.

Also important to set up something for ‘init’ and ‘natural’ in the map; and worth checking out the mutual exclusion groups at the bottom, sometimes issues with instruments not switching are simply that you need to create manual exclusions to ensure the VST switches.

Appasionata Strings can be set up to work as UACC, though it’s unfortunately not very automatic - under trigger select ‘CC Range’ and it defaults to CC32 which is basically what they use as UACC. However then you have to set up the midi range yourself (helpful to look up the UACC mapping chart from Spitfire if you wish to be consistent), and then save this as a custom patch for later.

All that said I own Appasionata so if you attach your expression map here I’d be happy to test and diagnosis it on my end.

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Thanks for your suggestions. Everything seems to check out on my end. Thanks for offering to take a look but I can’t seem to attach the EM.

Since I can’t upload the map here, would you mind if I uploaded to VI Control? You helped me with another issue not long ago over there and I can post it to the same thread (or start a new one).

Thanks.

You can upload anything, if you put it in a zip file.

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Thanks, I’ll try that.

Here’s the first violins EM. Thanks for looking.
SF App Violin I test.zip (1.6 KB)

There are essentially three things that need to be connected:

  1. You need to choose/define a Playing Technique that will be written on the score to trigger your patch.
  2. That Playing Technique must reference the correct Playback Technique.
  3. The Expression Map must include a switch for that Playback Technique to send the correct keyswitch/cc to the VST in order to trigger the patch.

You can check when Dorico triggers different Playing Techniques by watching the Playing Techniques track in the Key Editor.

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I opened it up and had a look. The very first thing I noticed were the keyswitches were all incorrect - off by a couple octaves.

You had them assigned as C1, D1 etc. In the SF App plugin, by default, they are are labelled as C-1, D-1 etc.

However one thing to be aware, Spitfire uses a different midi standard than Dorico regarding middle C - meaning you actually have to set your expression maps an octave even lower than what the plugin says: so I was able to get them to work using C-2, D-2, etc.

After adjusting this the techniques were correctly switching. However, a couple suggestions I would make, since Spitfire and many library developers come up with their own unnecessarily unique patch names for techniques which already exist with simpler names.

For example, “glancing attack,” that’s something they made up, but to most string players that doesn’t mean anything, so it’s not really a technique. With Spitfire I like that their icons show musical note equivalents, so for that one they show an 8th note with a dot – in which case, rather than creating a custom playing technique called “glancing attack,” I would simply call this articulation using staccato. Even if it’s not literally staccato, it’s the easiest and closest thing to what they mean.

Finally with such libraries I typically avoid pre-recorded hairpin patches. That’s up to you, but I don’t see much utility in using custom playing techniques called “hairpin medium” when you would never write that in a real score, you would just write your music with an actual hairpin. In which case I think it sounds just as good to hairpin across a normal legato or sustain patch, and will require fewer headaches on your part, plus you won’t be stuck with the length at which they recorded those patches (what they call hairpin medium & short being relative!).

Attaching the expression map with my adjustments, as well as my Dorico project file (using the latest release). I left your glancing attack and hairpin in there as well, but added staccato - take your pick.

Map:
SF App Violin I (edited).doricolib.zip (1.8 KB)

Dorico Project:
SF Appassionata Vn1.dorico (433.6 KB)

In case you cannot open the project file, I tested the articulations as such:

Also with libraries such as these I usually default natural and init to a monophonic “legato” patch, such as the combo non-slurred one in the plugin. If you wish to use these for divisi, you’ll probably want to edit those to refer to their sustain patch, or create a custom hidden playing+playback technique called sustain or something. Hope that helps.

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Wow, thanks for the deep dive and all the suggestions. This is a great help.

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