Expression maps and multiple MIDI channels

Hi Everyone,

I’m using the project SAM Orchestral Brass set; like a lot of these libraries, all the long notes are gathered in one Kontakt 5 preset, all the short notes on another, and I need to be able to alternate rapidly between them.

Because I want each instrument to occupy just one track, I’ve cooked up some expressionmaps which specify the MIDI channel as (say) ch1 for long notes, ch 2 for shorts, together with the keyswitch to specify the exact sound I want. This works but it’s clumsy: for 4 independent solo french horns I need 4 expression maps specifying channels 1+2, 3+4, 5+6, 7+8 and of course I have to set these channels in stone as French Horns for ever.

Is there a better way of doing this? Is there an expressionmap option that just increments the current midi channel? Or a totally different way of having choosing between 2 Kontakt presets on a single track?

Thanks for any advice,

… and I imagine that, also, you’d need these four instruments to play simultaneously?
If you prefer to use “Attribute-type” articulations (which are attached to each individual note), then you could create an Expression Map containing all eight articulations, and load up four instances of your French Horn into four slots of a Kontakt Multi, which could then be played from just the one MIDI track.
If, on the other hand, you prefer “Direction-type” articulations, the above solution then runs the risk of imposing an articulation (and therefore, MIDI channel, in this case) for all notes that play during the length of that articulation, and in that case, I would recommend separate MIDI tracks for each instance of the French Horn.
Unless I am missing something, the only real reason to have all four french horns on the same MIDI track would be for the Score Editor (if you wanted them all to appear on the same staff)?

That’s not quite the problem, Vic; I’m happy to have each of my 4 horns on their own track/channel, what I don’t want is to have the short notes on different tracks to the long ones. Therefore I’ve loaded 4 instances of the long and 4 of the short Kontakt presets into 8 slots on successive MIDI channels, and toggle between each pair with an expressionmap.

The problem is I can’t say “if it’s a staccato note, bump up the MIDI channel by one” in an expression map, the channel numbers are absolute, so I have to have 4 expression maps whose only difference is the MIDI channels they specify.

Actually, it’s working fine, just wondered if I’d missed some obvious way of doing it better. I could even make do with just one pair of MIDI channels, but with horns I do sometimes have each doing different things, I don’t seem to feel the need so much with trumpets or trombones.


I don’t think I get what you’re trying to do, since I don’t own that library, but I’ll give it a shot. If what you want to achieve is to have one track per French Horn, each with their own set of articulations (long notes and short notes in your case) in order for them to display correctly in a score, then I would use Instrument Tracks instead of MIDI Channel Tracks (assuming that’s what you’re using).

Each Instrument Track would have its own Kontak instance loaded up with the corresponding articulations. They would also include the same Expression Map, you only really need to create one since they all use the same articulations (long and short). Long notes would be triggered by ch1 and short notes by ch2, or whatever order you want. The point is that using Instrument Tracks will allow you to re-use MIDI channels for each instance, so that in all of the Kontakt instances MIDI channel 1 always triggers long notes, etc. Actually, the same principle applies to MIDI Channel tracks as long as you use separate instances for each French Horn, but I find that a bit messy due to the way Cubase handles those types of tracks.

Anyway, I hope this answers your question, provided I understood what you are trying to do :slight_smile:

You absolutely don’t need to have the short notes on a different track from the long notes… If you have, for example, the long notes in slot #1 of Kontakt (on MIDI ch.#1), and the short notes in slot #2 (on ch.#2), then your expression map (on a single MIDI track) will direct the MIDI data to the correct slot (so long as your map is set up to send MIDI Channel messages, of course :wink: )
From there, you have two options…
a) Load up four separate instances of Kontakt, with the corresponding french horn instruments (long and short) in each, and use 4 different MIDI tracks, with the same expression map(for channels 1 & 2) loaded in each of them, or
b) Create an expression map, using MIDI channels 1 thru 8, but with a single instance of Kontakt (using 8 slots), which you can then pilot either from a single track, or from four separate ones.

Thanks for help everyone, I’m using option B as described above, and it’s working. It does mean an awful lot of expressionmaps though, if I do the same for all brass instruments. Strings and WW are from VSL where you can just toggle legato/short note presets on a single MIDI track with a keyswitch.

I probably ought to get to grips with instrument tracks, but I seem to remember several shortcomings as compared to using straightforward MIDI tracks, so have always ended up doing it the old-fashioned way.

Thanks again.