Expression Maps with 2 Simultaneous Articulations Not Working as Expected

Dear Cubase Community

Have you ever used two articulations at the same time? (e.g. one direction, one attribute)

I can’t get it to work, and it might be me of course :wink:

My simplest example (bass guitar)

  • Group 1 to switch between “finger alternate” and “slap” picking
  • Group 2 to force a particular string (e.g. “force low B string” on a 5 string bass)

Here’s the expresson map:

Here’s the example MIDI part:


The problem: the “B String” attribute set on the second note is never sent out to the instrument (as checked using the MIDI Monitor). The direction change from alternate to slap picking works fine.

Am I doing something obviously wrong? (@Martin.Jirsak I’ve seen your post explaining how to use two articulations, but I can’t seem to get it to work. Do you spot what I’m doing wrong?)

Thanks for any hints pointing me in the right direction!

All the best

No, you can’t use EM like that. You can only have one at a time.
However, you can setup one EM to send two notes at once, try that instead. (Output Mapping section)

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You are just missing the sound slots combinations of b string articulation with alternate and slap.
So click on + in sound slot, set alternate on art1 and b string on art 2 (the name will be alternate+b string), then in output mapping set all the note-on messages that give you an alternate b string articulation.
Rinse and repeat for slap+b string.
Now you can combine b string with either alternate or slap.
The ones you can’t combine are those articulations that belong to the same group (1,2,3,4).
For example in your case you can’t combine alternate with slap cause they are both on group 1.
But you can absolutely combine articulations from different groups, you just need to create sound slots for each of those combinations, not only the single articulations sound slots (which is what you have now).
So you are basically half way there :slight_smile:

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What @ravez wrote above is spot on and also why I decided to give up on using expression maps the way it works today.
The fact that you can’t combine 2 articulations in an intuitive manner was the deal breaker.
An example would be Native Instrument’s MM-Bass (or any of their Bass instruments) where there are keyswitches for fret position, string, index/middle finger, normal/tight release, etc… Trying to create sound slots for every unique combination is not realistic. In this example you would need hundreds.
It seems to me the expression maps in Cubase were designed for writing musical scores and not to be used with VSTi keyswitches. I hope someday this will change.

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You can use a script from Dewdman42 that creates all possible combinations in a fraction of a second, so you just need to create the main articulations:
ExpressionMap Helper Tool


Sure, but how is having 150+ individual articulations in your MIDI editor of any real help?

it’s not, you only have the single articulations, not the combinations, in the articulation lanes.
Also if you use only attributes instead of direction then you don’t need to have the articulation lanes at all, you just use them from the menu up top, just like articulation sets in logic.

Dear @beerbong, @ravez, @mlindeb

Thanks for your feedback and insights on EM. That was exactly the info/confirmation I was looking for.

It’s a bit unfortunate to have to produce the cross-product of all combinations in order to mix and match articulations from group 1, group 2, etc., but at least that can be generated automatically from the xml. The number of sound slots easily ends up in the hundreds.

@Matthias_Quellmann Dear Matthias, I’m sure Steinberg is aware of this :slight_smile: Is the EM something that Steinberg plans to “improve” (evolve) in the future, such that multiple simultaneous articulations can be applied, without having to resort to 100s of sound slots (and external scripts to generate the combinations)? Thanks for your feedback/thoughts in any case!

All the best