Expression Maps Improvement Request

Hello Dorico team,
I hope are all doing well there and everything is alright! :slight_smile:
I would like to ask you for some reasonable improvements of the Expression Maps:

  1. Conditions - Notes
    Would be better if your replace these “Medium”, “Long”, “Short”…etc with real note durations like “Quarter”, “Eight”, “Half”, “Whole”
    The current situation is pretty unclear… What is Medium?! What is Short?!.. In faster tempos quarter note could be considered Short and the dotted half - Medium. The Conditions need to be more clear and musically concrete. :slight_smile:

  2. Routing Conditions to KS, PC, CC within the very same Expression setting without the need of duplicating.
    Check the screenshot /the section enclosed in red/:


    The routing could happen in similar way with additional assignment section in Conditions area. :slight_smile:

I hope you would think about these two improvements because they are important! :slight_smile:

Best wishes,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

Read page 24 of the Version History: http://download.steinberg.net/downloads_software/Dorico_3.5/3.5.10/Dorico_3.5.10_Version_History.pdf

The whole point of conditions being based on fractions of seconds is that if you’re writing a piece at q=60 you’ll need a sample for (e.g.) legato quarter notes that’s four times longer than if you’re writing a piece at h=120. Conditions automate this, by calculating the length of the notes on the page (as fractions of seconds) and mapping them to appropriate samples.

You seem to be asking for a further layer of complexity. Please explain how this would be an improvement.

Hello Leo,
Thank you for the reply and link! :slight_smile: Well my asking actually removes a layer of complexity. :slight_smile:
As you can see in the documentation there are actual explanation what do “Very Short”, “Short”, “Medium”, “Long” and “Very Long” mean.
I prefer to have their meanings “Dotted 16th”, “Dotted 8th”, “Dotted Quarter”, “Dotted Half” and “Any Longer”. This makes the things more
musically clear to me and every musician… and I won’t need to periodically consult the manual to check again what “Short”, “Medium”, “Long”… etc. mean. These words have no musical and clear meaning until you check the documentation, which is terrible. If you have their note length representations then you even don’t need to read the manual. It is clear that everything is made according to the default tempo.
I hope now the position of mine is much more clear to you, and everyone else! :slight_smile:

Best wishes,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

Not really, no. You described the difficulty I have in your first post on this thread.

At some point, somebody or something has to decide what sample to use for what length of note. Sample libraries don’t care whether the note on the page is a half note at 120bpm or a quarter note at 60bpm - all that matters is that the note lasts a second and should thus be mapped to a sample that’s around a second long (or a shorter sample that’s appropriate to loop, or whatever).

In situations where the tempo changes within a flow, or where the tempo is particularly fast or slow, terms for conditions like “half” and “dotted quarter” just aren’t helpful. Dorico still has to calculate what a dotted quarter actually amounts to as a fraction of a second, in order to figure out which condition to trigger and why. If you’re trying to figure out why the mapping you have in front of you doesn’t quite work for your given tempo or sample library, or how to get the best out of your library, the mechanics are exposed to you. It’s not necessarily the nicest way for a playing musician to think about note lengths, but there’s not much that Steinberg can do about the physics of samples. The fact is that given samples suit specific note lengths in fractions of seconds, because they’re recorded as note lengths in fractions of seconds.

If you have conditions such as “Note Length => Quarter” and then you write something at half the “default tempo”, some users (not necessarily you) are still going to have to look at the manual to find out what the default tempo is, and why a “Quarter” condition actually means a “Half” at their given tempo, not to mention the fact that there’d be terminology in front of them (quarter, half etc.) that actually didn’t refer to those note-values in their use case. To the uninitiated user, that would look like a bug.

I’m struggling to see how this is better.

Leo, you are performing musician… The timing situation is exactly the same… If you have tempo marking “Dotted Quarter” = 60 (which is usual marking for odd meters), then this dotted quarter will last 1 second… if you have “Quarter” = 120, then the quarter note will sound 1/2 of the second.
The time fractions are always there. I’m also having long time experience with many instrument libraries, including creation of my own.
About the default tempo… some text could be added next to the “Conditions:” to indicate that everything is fixed to the default tempo of 120bpm.
Nothing very complicated or complex in the request of mine.
And if we have the second point mentioned in the first post, then we won’t need to create long lists of Expression settings, just because different conditions.

Best wishes. :slight_smile:

IIRC Daniel has said that the Team is investigating how tempo data might some day be incorporated into note playback. Until then, the current system keyed to duration length rather than note values makes a lot more sense.

Derrek hello,
Yep, my point is that the current situation could be improved to more clear status. No problem note lengths to be fixed to the default tempo.
Just two things needs to be done to make the things more understandable.

  1. Next to “Conditions:” should added text like “All durations are fixed to the default tempo of 120bpm
  2. “Very Short”, “Short”, “Medium”, “Long” and “Very Long” to be replaced by “Dotted 16th”, “Dotted 8th”, “Dotted Quarter”, “Dotted Half” and “Any Longer”
    Then everything will be much clear and one won’t need even to open the manual in order to understand how the Conditions work. :slight_smile:
    Currently “Very Short”, “Short”, “Medium”, “Long” and “Very Long” mean nothing to the user until he/she doesn’t consult the documentation, while
    the suggestion of mine will bring much more clearance and will eliminate the need to check the documentation. :slight_smile:
    In the Conditions section we need to do some calculations in order to make our playback to sound better, so, then we need terms which have exact definitions like “Dotted Quarter” and “…are fixed to the default tempo of 120bpm

Greetings,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

To me this is the decisive factor. It doesn’t matter what a musician thinks when you’re talking about playback. It matters what the sample player thinks.

Right, “1/8th note” means nothing in terms of the duration of a sample, the selection of which is the job of the expression map at this point. Calling a condition “< 1/4 note”, plus some text that says “at 120 BPM” just hands a pile of ratio calculation to the person working with 1/8th notes at 77 BPM.

The durations should be specified in seconds. 0.5 seconds etc. Furthermore they should be settable by the user. Perhaps there could be a UI-only projection of those times to musical values in the current, or specified, BPM.

Agreed that “very short” and “long” don’t mean anything either. Furthermore, for many articulations having the existing range of options makes no sense, e.g. you never have “long” or “very long” staccato samples, but may have several short ones.

Here is the real problem with VST’s though: You would be multiplying the number of expression maps you would need to create by the number of significantly different tempos, and you would need to switch expression maps somehow within the piece for rit., accel, tempo change, etc.

Sorry, what I mean by real is not to dismiss any other concern, but that VST samples don’t work like I sometimes blissfully hope they should. They ARE more time based than note based because the real player DID play that pitch for just a handful of durations. VST’s don’t contain samples of every note length at every tempo. IMO The time based model reflects what the VST actually has and does - and unfortunately that is your real goal with VST’s - to make the changes necessary to the VST that IT understands to get what you are looking for.

I hear what you are saying about the vagueness of “short” and “medium” - but yet that is exactly what I see in my sample libraries.

I will have better luck with fewer maps IMO if I do that by time; not note value - which I honestly think is closer to what a player does anyway. Technique has to adjust regardless of what the composer wrote if it gets faster or slower based on the physical characteristics of what a clarinet or French Horn can actually do as far as starting and stopping notes.