Expression Maps: creating a temporary note length condition

In my ExMap I have a Natural Base item with a short Note Length condition (“Natural (short)”)- which is set to play back a short note articulation (in Spitfire Symphonic Strings).

I’d like to create a temporary exception to this rule with a Custom Playback Technique - which could be applied and play the Long articulation ("[01} Long") for that note only.

I have created my own Custom Playback as well as Playing Technique for the task, but it doesn’t seem to be able to over-ride the original “Natural (short)” Base Item.

What’s the best way to accomplish this?

I have a feeling there is a basic step I am missing. Here is a detailed version of my process:

I created a custom Playing Technique with a unique glyph (which in the end will be hidden).


Then I gave it a unique Playback Technique:

Then I created a ExMap Base item for it with the appropriate CC command:

I also tried it as a “Combo” with the Natural Technique, which also did not work.

None of these over-ruled the original “Natural (short)” Base item.


Have you made sure this long playing technique and the natural (short) are in the same exclusion group?

I hadn’t thought of that. Unfortunately I tried creating a Mutual Exclusion Group for “Natural” and “[01]Long” and it still didn’t work. Is that the right combination for Exclusion?

You mean ‘natural + [01]Long’…?

Btw, do you have a conditionless Natural in the Xmap as well?

No I don’t have a condition-less Natural Technique. Here is a screen recording of what my ExMap looks like:
Dorico ExpMaps Master settings3 (1.8 MB)

Yes, I did try having a Base item with two techniques: Natural + [01] Long
Screen Shot 2021-03-09 at 4.02.13 PM

Ok. I just recreated this scenario without any problems… could you attach a minimal version of your project here?

I’m assuming that the point of this is to override the automation at certain points when it chooses the wrong articulation? In my maps, I use the same principles, ensuing that in every case there is backup of the automation for manual selection. Fratveno and MarcLarcher have already identified the two most important things to check and, looking through what you’ve done, I also find nothing obviously amiss (though I don’t know why you want to create a new glyph – a unique p.t name is enough). Which VST are you using?

Here is a reduced Dorico project as per fratveno’s request.

cabExpMapTestv1.dorico (786.9 KB)

When I checked the Playing technique [01] Long it referenced the Playback Technique Natural, rather than [01[ Long. I had to delete and reapply the PT and then it worked. AND, it was correctly reported in the PT lane in Play mode. Hope this solves the mystery, if not keep posting…


Correct. My EM is set so Natural (w/short condition) fires CC32=40. That’s working fine. I just want to create a PT to say “except this note” which I want to be CC32=1. Maybe there is a better way to approach that task?

I’m using Spitfire Symphonic Strings with the UACC method of articulation switching.


Oh yes. I guess I had changed the playing technique to reference Natural at some point in my testing. (That’s different that what I posted above, sorry). I changed the reference back to [01] Long, but still go the same behavior. Thanks for your work on this. Here is my changed file:
cabExpMapTestv1.dorico (782.1 KB)

Next I’ll start a new Dorico file, EM, and Playback sound from scratch for further testing.

In your most recent file, the PT lane in PLAY is correct, indicating that it should work. if it does not, it may be due to other factors, like your voice/port/channel approach …

SOLVED! The problem definitely arose sometime as I was moving music between voices. Even though I made sure the [01 Long] PT and the notes were in the same voice, the PT lane still showed the “Natural (short)” for some reason. (That part is still a mystery). However, when I moved ALL of the music (including the PT) on that staff to Voice 1 it worked. I had to then go back and reassign some later music to different voices. I think the lesson is that I need to make sure that when I’m moving music between voices that the PT’s go with it!

glad it’s sorted. Sounds to me like something of a one off in this case. As a general principle, though, if you’re using a library with sufficient NoteLength automation choices that it doesn’t always pick the right one, it’s wise to assign duplicates in the way you were doing with (01) long to ensure you can always override to the specific articulation you need.