Expression Maps newbie

I recently produced this track in Presonus Studio One 4 Daw along with my Presonus Studiolive Series 3 console.

I produced a vocal score in Dorico first from the old manuscript, then arranged the rest on the fly in Studio One with an orchestral template I have setup.
I now want to try and create a similar thing in Dorico using expression maps.

I’ve watched Anthony Hughes’ excellent vids along with John Barron’s walkthroughs. Both have been invaluable.

I have begun to setup a template. I use a Nektar Panorama P6 keyboard with a few templates for orchestra sections to operate the key switches. The P6 has eight buttons and faders which can be programmed to correspond nicely with Native Instruments’ Symphony Series, which is the library I use. There are 8 articulation slots which is enough for what I want to achieve.

What I want to achieve you can see in this recording. This is me playing the keyboard through Dorico and adjusting the sounds on the fly.

Just working on a test flute piece, I can get Dorico to switch voices, but the dynamics seem to play no part in the playback? Have I got the settings wrong in the expression map? I have NI Symphony Series ‘dynamic’ knob (volume) set to CC40 (which corresponds to my Fader #1 on the P6). Looking again at my Midi CC lane I can see the lane has no data in it (I programmed the score in by hand).
Could I have attempted to play like I did in the video, and realtime record into Dorico and would it have interpreted the volume CC#40 data and put in crescendos and loudness markings?

If you listen to the part that Dorico has played back you’ll hear the problems. The change from ‘staccato’ sound to legato comes too late. I can see in the ‘playing techniques’ lane why this is…is there a way to move the data just before the note to give time for the sound to change or another workaround?

These are early attempts but I just wanted to know what was possible at the moment and if in the future whether something could have been realised in Dorico that would produce similar results as to the finished film version.

Thanks Al

Can I upload an MP3 or WAV here?

Here it is on Soundcloud:

I don’t know anything about the NI Symphony Series, but provided the different articulations etc. can be accessed by way of MIDI controllers or key switches, then you can certainly achieve this kind of articulation switching by defining an expression map. It’s impossible to say whether you might have the settings wrong in the expression map unless you actually show us the project that contains the expression map, and tell us a bit about how the library you’re trying to use works. We can take a look if you provide a bit more information.

Thanks Daniel. After playing with this I’m a little more au fait.
In the ‘Techniques and actions’ do the terms ‘staccato’, ‘forte’ etc, of themselves produce any midi data or control change data? Or is it just a ‘switch’ containing the info that is linked to the parameters 'transpose, length, velocity, min pitch etc in the panel to the right?

In my chosen eight sounds for flute I have:

  1. Sustain vibrato all (legato)
  2. Flutter-tongue
  3. Staccato p
  4. Staccato f
  5. Crescendo (long note as it is re-triggered on note on)
  6. Diminuendo (as 5.)
  7. Sforzando
  8. Sustain whole trill

Would these correspond to terms in the ‘Techniques and Actions’ of

  1. Natural
  2. Flutter tongue
  3. Staccato (the actual dot on the note)
  4. Staccatissimo (is there a marking for this - or something played loud and short?)
  5. The hairpin itself?
  6. As 5.
  7. The sfz marking
  8. The ‘tr’ marking

If I wanted to switch between the ‘staccato p’ sound and the ‘staccato f’ sound, would this be done automatically if the part had music that was ‘p’ with a staccato dot above it, irrespective of what the min/max velocity of each note was set to?
What I don’t understand is what info is actually kicked out by the score in relation to dynamic markings, actual played velocities and any controller info regarding volume cc and expression cc.

Al’s Orchestral Template TEST DYNAMICS for (363 KB)
Here’s the project

Articulations like staccato, tenuto, accent etc. do produce MIDI approximations of those effects by default, per the values specified in the Playback Options dialog, but they won’t produce anything else, such as changes of MIDI controller or key switches, unless you set them up in the expression map yourself. Dynamic markings either affect note-on velocity or a specific MIDI controller, as defined in the VST expression map. Dorico doesn’t currently emit playback playing techniques for immediate dynamics like p or f, though, so you’ll need to define additional playback playing techniques in Engrave > Playing Techniques, which can then be added to the score at the appropriate point and hidden via properties if need be. These can then be defined in combination in your expression map, so you could have “staccato + Al’s P” (or whatever) and map that on to the staccato P sound in your library.

Thanks Daniel. I need to play around with what you said for it to make any sense to me.
Is there a way to hide notes out of an instrument’s range which have been used to enter key-switch info for ‘play’, in the score (write /engrave /print) when recording in realtime. I’ve searched high and low and can’t find it, but there must be a setting for this.

There is a way to enter Key Switches into an Expression Map.

Hi Derrek,
Thanks for that. I’m just experimenting with what Dorico comes with out of the box and how this relates to my library. I now understand that the dynamics you enter in a score (ppp, pp, p, mp, mf, f, ff, fff, ffff) can all make the ‘Dynamics’ knob in Symphony Series (usually the overall volume of a sound) react to 11%, 21%,26%, 41%, 63%, 68%, 85%, 89%, 96% , thus giving 9 different levels of volume. When coupled with the different timbres of the 8 sounds and the ‘round robins’ this gives a pretty impressive sound. The key to this is selecting the ‘Use Secondary dynamic’ and ‘Control Change’ set to whatever number the ‘Dynamics’ is set to, which in my case it has been mapped to the Nektar P6 first fader using CC#40.

Before I go hunting for this Daniel, say I have my default ‘natural’ sound (in my case it’s called ‘Sustain vibrato all’). In the score say I have a semi-breve with a crescendo hairpin. The marking at the beginning of the hairpin is ‘pp’ and at the end ‘f’. Now I’ve found that the ‘pp’ marking I can control the ‘Dynamics’ knob (master vol) to start at 21%. The f marking results in 68%. The hairpin results in a crescendo between these two values, but how do I map a ‘hairpin’ to select the sample I want, rather than just increasing the volume of the ‘natural sound’?

As I explained in my earlier reply, dynamics do not themselves emit playback playing technique changes: they only change either note on velocity or a MIDI controller value. If you want a particular keyswitch or other articulation to be used in response to a hairpin, you will additionally need to add a hidden playing technique that maps the desired playback playing technique.

And these ‘hidden playing techniques’ are in Engrave\ Playing techniques? Which then correspond to the ‘Playing Techniques Combinations’ in Play\ Techniques and Actions\Playing Technique Combinations?
I think I’ve got it now.
There is no way then that I’ve found to change the name of the ‘playing techniques’ in ‘Play\Techniques and Actions’ to reflect the name of the ‘preset’ (sample) in my sound library?
Is there also a way to hide the ‘playing techniques’ in the score /part all at once say after finishing a part, because you could still see in the ‘PLAY’ window that the correct playing techniques (in the block window) was triggering the right preset in your library?

You can indeed hide the playing techniques in the score by selecting them and activating the ‘Hide’ property in the Properties panel.

Thanks Daniel …it’s becoming clearer what’s possible at the moment.

SOLVED - See next post
I’m struggling at the moment making an expression map to switch my ‘Dominus’ Choir library. Although the ‘octaves’ needing adjusting to map correctly on the keyboard, I don’t think this is my problem (I used a Kontakt KSP called Cine Map to map the octaves where I wanted them to make Dorico play the correct octave). I can make the library select the correct keyswitch if I insert a note in ‘WRITE’ or ‘PLAY’ or play the note on the Panorama P6, but I can’t get it to act on a playing technique I have created and then the expression map. To confirm I am not selecting the wrong octave, I have created four playing techniques (called 'ks C0, ks C#0, ks D0, ks D#0). I have placed these at certain bars in the score (the popovers for them are 'ks C0, ks C#0, ks D0 and ks D#0). These are mapped in an expression map I’ve called ‘Dominus Choir Key Switch’, to which these are then mapped in the ‘Techniques and Actions’ to output keyswitch changes on C-1, C0, C1 and C2 respectively (just to check I haven’t got a weird octave transposition thing going on). I can see the keyswitches in the playing techniques lane but they all say ‘Key Switch C0’? Shouldn’t the lane say Key Switch C0, Key Switch C#0, Key Switch D0 and Key Switch D#0? If I look at my timpani lane, it does indeed name the correct playing techniques (but these are all standard ones supplied with Dorico, not ones I’ve made).
When playback is initiated, nothing is switched. I’ve checked the correct expression map is selected in the Endpoint setup so I can’t figure out what’s going wrong, although it seems to point to the ‘playing techniques lane’. Is there any way to interrogate what midi is being sent from Dorico to Kontakt to see if the keyswitch is actually being sent? On a different note, while I’ve been testing this, it seems when you switch between ‘WRITE’ and ‘PLAY’ the score position defaults back to the beginning (or is it the last place the page was opened?). Either way, would it not make more sense to keep you at the place you were in other pages?

It is something to do with octave transpositions as I have just got the library to respond.
I need to investigate further.

It sounds as if you have created the switches in your expression map, but then not actually specified any playing techniques in the music itself that would trigger any of those keyswitches. You need to also define appropriate playing techniques in Engrave > Playing Techniques that reference the newly-created playback playing techniques that you’ve added to your expression map, and then use them in the score to cause the sounds to change. Make sure also that you have added your four keyswitch techniques to a mutual exclusion group in your expression map so that Dorico doesn’t try to add them all together when it encounters a change from one techinque to the next.

I don’t know why, but the ‘Playing Techniques Lane’ in PLAY, is now suddenly displaying the correct techniques…scrub that I think I do. I went and watched John Barron’s films again and noticed him referring to the playing techniques and showing them in the right hand panel when in ‘WRITE.’ I looked at the techniques I created and they were there in the panel. I then deleted the ones I’d written in the score initially (initially created by selecting SHIFT + P and then typing ‘ks’ then using the mouse to select the correct one from the four options of ‘ks C0, ksC#0’ etc). I then replaced these with ones from the panel, and this is why I think they’re now showing up in the ‘playing techniques lane’ in PLAY. Is this a bug?

Just read your reply Daniel, I have added the appropriate PT in Engraving. I’ll have to look at the ‘mutual exclusion group’ setting as I don’t think I’ve used that yet. Thanks Al

I don’t know what’s happening with this score, as it has now reverted back to saying ‘Key Switch C0’ in the playing technique lane of ‘PLAY’ . I seem to remember seeing one of either the John Baron or Anthony Hughes videos and something being said about PLAY only updates when you actually press play, but I can’t find it now.
What should the PT lane in ‘PLAY’ actually reflect and when is it updated?
If I’ve created 10 new playing techniques in Engraving, defined as Key Switch C0, Key Switch C#0 …Key Switch A0.
Should my Mutual Exclusion Groups contain 10 entries, typed as ‘name of playing technique’ as in the Engraving entry?
In the ‘has techniques’ column should each entry in the ‘mutual exclusion group’ contain the entry that is in ‘techniques and action’ above it in the Expression Map Data panel (namely MEG (mutual exclusion group ‘Key Switch C0’ has entry in ‘has techniques’ of ‘Key Switch C0’).

As you can see, this is all a bit Double Dutch to someone who is not a programmer.
Thanks Al