Expression maps - some expressions work, others don't


I’m brand new to Dorico - been waiting for issues to be resolved, and it looks like they have been. Have been doing the crash course these past few days and I really like what I see - I’m a 25-year Finale user, and seriously considering moving over full-time.

I am having a few early issues. I like the very clear setup for expression maps. I’ve set up a simple one to work with a very simple VSL clarinet matrix I’ve constructed (I will mostly be working with 3rd party samples, and Dorico’s functionality here is a big draw for me).

I’ve set up an expression map to correspond with 8 different key switches on my clarinet matrix, including legato, natural, staccato, trill (half and whole), flutter tongue, sfz, and fp.

When I test it out, I see that the playback moves easily between legato, natural and staccato. It also will do flutter tongue. But it will not play the trills, the sfz, or the fp, even though I am certain that the parameters I’ve entered into the expression map are correct, and the expression map is definitely assigned to the instrument.

I’ve read that an earlier version of Dorico didn’t implement trill play back, but I assume this should work now if it’s just an issue of a key switch to a sampled trill?

Thanks for any input - I’ve looked over the forum to find this answer, but haven’t seen it yet, and I know 2.0 is very young!

That’s normal for the time being. Some of them, despite being listed in the available expressions, still aren’t “hooked up” and won’t trigger, most noticeably dynamics (as techniques) and ornaments, as you’ve come across.

I’m only guessing, but I think the developers are aiming for native ornament support, rather than relying on key switches. If that’s all you need, it’s fairly easy to do it with a custom playing technique. There’s a recent thread by Mats Hålling in the FB group, where you can find a few guidelines on this subject.

More or less; the team wants to be comprehensive to ensure flexibility. Some libraries work with tremolo or trill interval patches, and need to be driven by the MIDI stream — as do users who simply use the GM sounds for quick auditioning. I figured that, since there is groundwork to be done with the ornaments anyway, it’s better to have one go and do it right the first time, as they did with most other features.

Wow - I am really hoping that’s not the case. The thing that has me considering switching to Dorico after 25 years of Finale, is that Finale is hellbent on only supporting Garritan libraries, whereas I’m done with those. The playback system looks so promising in Dorico, and so flexible. I wish the options that didn’t work were at least grayed out. If the emphasis is going to be on Halcyon libraries only, though, I will stick with the enemy I know (finale). (I’ve already purchased Dorico, but I’m in the process of considering whether I’m really gonna convert!)

Dorico uses Expression Maps to allow it to work with a variety of libraries, and these allow you to define the keyswitches or controllers that are used to access the articulations in each library.
We don’t currently have support for trills, because unlike the other articulations, they have to take context into account to work out whether a half-tone or whole-tone trill is implied. This is certainly something that is on our list to fix as soon as practicable, though the usual caveat applies (ie we’re a small team and there are many other features, bugs and tasks that have to compete for our limited time).

We will also need to provide fallback implementations of trills in the case that you don’t have a keyswitch for it. In the fullness of time it’s quite likely we’d want to support other ornaments, but then we have to prepare ourselves for the inevitable 20 page thread on how we’re not playing mordents back correctly… (which means we’d have to spend a substantial amount of time thinking about how to address the varied expectations from such a feature)

I totally appreciate the issues, and I’m grateful for the work you’ve done. Trill playback is a toughie, because it’s such a common technique (less specified than mordents and other baroque-specific ornaments).

I guess the thing I feel frustrated by is that there’s no indication in the expression map setup about which keyswitches will work, and which won’t. For instance, I work with VSL libraries mainly, and almost all of them have sfz and fp as specific, sampled articulations. So I was thrilled to see that in the list of available options in the expression maps, and I set them up and mapped them to the appropriate key switch without success, and then spent a bunch of time trying to figure out what I had done wrong. If, in a future update, all of the articulations and techniques that have not yet been implemented could at least be grayed out, so that we didn’t waste our time trying to set them up, I think that would be a huge help.

For me, the absence of trill implementation, and the absence of swing feel playback, are probably going to keep in Finale for my real projects, though I continue to have high hopes for Dorico and I don’t regret having purchased it, especially with the competitive crossgrade/edu combo.

I appreciate the frustration you are experiencing. This is one of those things that if we were devote the time to adding in the custom UI to grey out some items then that would reduce the time available to actually implement the key switches. The reason that these items do currently exist in the expression map editor is because they can be imported from the Cubase expression maps and we wanted to show the items that had been imported. If we didn’t import them then users may continue to develop their expression maps and later discover that these other items weren’t imported, so they would have to manually add it or re-import.

If the trills are already programmed sounds within your KS-patch and not two different notes repeated by Dorico, it works fine.

I’m using GPO5, where the Strings KS-patches includes 1/2 & whole note trills and they work fine.

First you need to create a Playing technique for each trill (e.g. TrWhole & TrHalf) and add them to your Expression map.
When adding a trill you need to decide whether it is a half-/whole tone trill, since Dorico can’t make that decision for you.
Add the appropriate Playing technique (TrWhole or TrHalf) and hide it in the properties. (The trill line itself doesn’t do anything)
Now Dorico will switch to your KS-trill.

I’m writing this on my phone so I might miss some details, but if you can’t make it work I can take a look in my computer later and give you a more detailed description.

Good luck! :+1: