Expression mapping for Spitfire Symphony Orchestra timpani rolls?

I thought that I’d gotten pretty darned spiffy at creating effective and efficient Dorico expression maps, but ever since Spitfire came out with their revamp of their entire Symphony Complete / Orchestra library, it’s been something of a struggle.

I’ve just about got most of the orchestra nailed down, but timpani tremolos have me stumped. Has anyone gotten them working with Dorico?

As you can see in the video, the roll is inaudible in Dorico. Actually, it plays a single pianissimo regular hit, indicating that the proper keyswitch is not happening. The keyswitch for the tremolo expression is D-2 (as demonstrated in the Kontakt 7 VST portion of the video), which is how I’ve assigned it in the timpani expression map.

As a counterexample, bass drum roll/tremolo playback is perfectly well behaved.

I thought that the transpose value of the timpani expression map might be affecting the keyswitching, but setting it to zero has no effect; the roll remains untriggered in Kontakt 7.

I played around with this just now. I had the same result at first, but after looking at the keyboard in Kontakt to see what was being played, It seems that for whatever reason Spitfire has mapped the actual notes an octave higher than written, which is rather annoying since that’s not standard and would require you use an 8va symbol. Rather than doing that, it would make more sense to transpose the instrument down which fortunately SF does offer on the UI (Transpose - set to 12). Now it should work. After this I was able to get the tremolo to playback a roll. Attaching my project here to compare and see if that works for you (using Dorico 5). Also attaching my expression map and instance of my adjusted patch. Hope this that helps!

SSO Perc Timp.dorico (667.1 KB)

SSO Perc Timp (1.5 KB)

SSO Perc - Tuned - Timpani - Correct (228.8 KB)

If it is playing the wrong keyswitch (an octave off) most likely the issue is wrong middle C setting in the expression map entry. Kontakt uses C3 as middle C and not C4.

For the notes themselves in the wrong octave, the Dorico transpose setting in the expression map should handle it.

I don’t have this library myself, but I don’t think it should be necessary to change this setting in the library GUI. Doing so just makes it harder to use for yourself and others, as you would always have to remember to make that change if you need to manually load another copy of the instrument.

As you can see in my video, I have middle C set to C3.

As you can see in the video (and as I mentioned in the text), I am already transposing the notes in the expression map.

I’m getting loads of errors regarding legacy samples when I load your .nki file. Are you using the new Symphonic Orchestra library, or the old one?

Unfortunately the video didn’t play at all for me, so I didn’t see anything in the video aside from the thumbnail first frame. It still doesn’t play, and I’m not sure why. I have youtube videos open in other tabs and they play without issue.

I tried it a few times before responding initially as I didn’t want to waste anybody’s time with a response in case the answer was in the video.

For me the keyswitches were all correct as is (D-2 for rolls), so that should work. It was the note mapping itself which was off.

Yep, the 2024 Kontakt7 version.

The changes I made were minimal, here is a screenshot -

As you can see the difference, the default comes loaded like so:

So all those blue notes in the first half are an octave off and would not play from the low F etc. Checking tranpose and setting it to 12 seemed to fix it for me.

And a screenshot of my expression map if that helps, it was rather simple -

Thanks @wing, but it’s simply not working for me. The only difference between your setup and mine is that you’re transposing in Kontakt 7 instead of the Dorico expression map. I moved transposition into Kontakt as you have done, but I’m still not seeing D-2 pressed in Kontakt. It’s like Dorico simply isn’t sending the proper key.

Exactly which version of Dorico are you running?

The video will not play for me either. MacOS 12.6, Safari 16. I downloaded it and found the problem: “This file contains some media which isn’t compatible with QuickTime Player.” I can play the audio only.

I’m running Dorico (Apr 18 2024).
If it helps, maybe isolate just that one bar of timpanis from your project and save as a new project to upload here? I could assess whether or not it works on my end which might at least help by process of elimination, and I can let you know if I spot anything which might be causing the issue too.

As expected, when I removed all the other staves from the score and all the bars surrounding the ones played in the video, the roll played back just fine. :neutral_face:

Something of no obvious relation to the timpani is screwing up my playback, and I’m going to have to painstakingly figure out WTH it is. I’ve seen this many times in Dorico; it usually happens after an upgrade. Thanks for all your attempts at helping me though, @wing.

(EDIT: Yeah, on a hunch, I deleted all my string staves, and presto, perfect timpani roll playback. Whatever.)

Weird, I hate when that happens – sounds like a ghost in the machine lol.

As we speak I’ve been pulling my hair out with this VSL trumpet where any notes longer than half are refusing to sustain fully, even though when I play from my keyboard and hold it down, it will sustain indefinitely, and notes in other octaves will also sustain. Total ghost in the machine. I hope you figure yours out!

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Here’s mine. I see I’ve set everything to transpose an octave.
Spitfire (1.6 KB)

Sometimes I see these “ghosts in a machine” when it turns out one of my unused tracks is accidentally incorrectly set to use the same VSTi and channel/port as something else. The two tracks then interfere with each other.

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Yeah, that has happened to me before, @mducharme, and it was apparently the case here as well. Dorico had wiped out my channel and expression map assignments as I replaced most of my existing VSTs and added new ones, and that in turn made the internal playback logic incoherent. Once I finished reassigning all my strings VSTs, channels, and expression maps, everything was OK. I’ve still got a lot of work to do getting my microphones and output levels straightened out, but so far I’m thrilled with the revamped SSO library. :+1:

Thanks to everyone who tried to assist me!


LOL yeah, Spitfire is idiosyncratic like that – as are all libraries, I suppose. I was hoping the new SSO library would fix a few things, like the annoying delay on the tambourine roll (fortunately, the new delay feature of Dorico’s expression maps obviates compensating for this in the VST or the key editor) and the curiously anemic cor anglais samples (which may have been addressed, actually). I’m not sure how I feel about the more powerful Zimmered-up horns, but if they’re too brash then I think mike adjustment will suffice to solve that problem.

The fluttertonguing on zero vibrato performance flutes is definitely annoying, though. Ugh. Not a big deal (easy to work around), but still.

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