Expression Maps

As I’ve been approached by a few people about expression maps, either wanting to create them or wanting to just use one, let’s use this thread as a central place to gather information about where people are at so far.

If you are looking for an expression map for a sound library, please post in this thread.
If you have an expression map that you have created, or if you want one, please post in this thread.
If you have started an expression map, and would be willing to share what you have so far so that others can help finish it, please post in this thread.

Downloadable expression map(s):


  • Spitfire Symphonic Strings (John investigating using UACC)
  • VSL (requested by various people)
  • EastWest
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Thanks, John. Great idea!

Definitely interested in:

  1. (helping with) a comprehensive FAQ which covers the integration of Dorico with VIs in its widest senses… what, why, how, how to etc
  2. Vienna Symphonic Library… maybe adapting VSL’s Cubase Expression Maps would be a good place to start
  3. Synthogy’s Ivory II - especially when the long-awaited VST 3 version is released
  4. ways to help additionally showcase what Dorico can do with superior sounds when actual performance isn’t an option.


Is there supposed to be an actual download link for GPO5? Or is that just an example.


This Steinberg page has a comprehensive set of links - including GPO.

Thanks Mark.

I’ve got such a severe lack of knowledge when it comes to DAW work and how to use all of this stuff that I continuously find myself frustrated at the lack of really good quality I can get out of GPO5.

I’ve tried learning repeatedly but so much of it just goes above my head. Can we have an FAQ or, even better, a “comprehensive stupid person’s guide” for how to use this stuff and get the most out of Dorico’s playback?

ANITIX87 - sorry I forgot the GPO5 link - I’ve now updated the post above and the zip file includes technically how to use it. How to get the best out of it is probably at least partly down to GPO?

The VSL Cubase Xmaps are here under Notation Related:

In the Dorico Play>Expression Maps… dialog, the list of Techniques has the Pencil icon for editing but editing is not possible. Creating new techniques is not possible either.

The Xmap files seem to be XML but I really don’t want to be hacking XML files in a text editor.

In Write mode how can I access Xmap Playing Techniques if they are not displayed in the Shift-P popover or in the Playing Techniques panel?


Short answer: you can’t. In a future version of Dorico you will be able to edit playing techniques yourself.

Partly, yes. But this whole business of expression maps etc. is brand new to some of us who are otherwise pretty knowledgeable about other notation software. All help with it is welcome.

My aim with this thread is to find other people who might have started an expression map already so we can combine efforts and then provide a link to the finished file with some instructions on how to use it.

Hi John,

I’m keen to see Dorico’s Play mode developing so I’m more than happy to help create expression maps. I have multiple EW libraries and the first two releases of Spitfire’s Symphonic Strings plus quite a bit more which may/may not prove to be useful. The issue I have is that it’s not entirely clear

  1. Which Articulations trigger which Expression Map Techniques (e.g. what triggers vibrato?)
  2. If those Articulations exist in Dorico and where they’re found (rips?)
  3. Which Articulations are working or not (e.g. Trills aren’t working).

Example: I’ve just put together a quick EM for EWQLSO’s Piccolo and I can get 4 out of 18 articulations working details (attached). I appreciate that many of those articulations are quirky (falls, runs etc.) and some are duplicates (3 different kinds of legato) but I put it forward as an example of some of the potential problems. Because it adopts a different approach, Cubase can enable any articulations you specify, but obviously Cubase is nowhere near as concerned with documenting those articulations as Dorico is.

I don’t want to leave out any articulations on the basis that they would work but I didn’t manage to find out how, so any any answers you can provide to the above questions would be very helpful.
EWQLSO (63.3 KB)

IIRC Daniel said that user-defined techniques are one goal for the next update.

I asked this in another post, but because this post is specially about expression maps I think it’s good to discuss it here as well.

I use Art Conductor for Logic by the Babylonwaves company. This company has created a large library of Articulation Maps for the most used instrument libraries. They also made created expression maps for all the libraries that can be used in Cubase. Is it possible to use these expression maps in Dorico? That would save a lot of work.

This is their website:

I think you’ll need to ask Babylonwaves. It is possible to import a Cubase expression map, however it doesn’t contain the same semantic data as a Dorico expression map, so there may be things that don’t quite map onto Dorico’s concepts accurately.

I asked Marc from BabylonWaves. He doesn’t have Dorico he said, but he assumes the maps should be compatible. So maybe there is a possibility here to get the maps much faster into Dorico? I am thinking of buying the Cubase version as well so I can give it a try. I have Cubase so in case it doesn’t work out, I can still use them, so no money wasted. But I can of course not upload them here.

I would be cautious in assuming that the maps would work without testing, but we’ll be interested to hear how you get on with them.

To illustrate that point, yesterday I tried the Cinematic Strings 2 xmap found on the Steinberg xmap page here, but it would not work.

After adding it to the project with the Import Cubase Expression Map… button in the Expression Maps editor available in Play tab, and selecting it in the channel expression map window from the Kontakt VST, it would disappear from the Playing Techniques lane in the Play view (mouse over the techniques in the grid to see which xmap is loaded) once play was started.

The fix was simple - I needed to change the CS2 technique terms into Dorico’s own terms before getting desired behavior -
the default CS2 xmap used terms such as unis., div., run, and except for unis. and div., all techniques had multiple terms in the field - (Pizzicato + unis. , Tremolo + div., etc). Attached file is working for me at a basic level. (1.27 KB)

Just out of interest, how many articulations did you get to work?

The default CS2 xmap came w/ 10:
unis.; Tremolo + unis.; pt.trill.half + unis.; pt.trill.whole + unis.; unis. + run; Staccato + unis.; Accent + unis.; Pizzicato + unis.; div.; Tremolo + div.

Six are working for me, I used the unis. switch for all. It would be possible to make a second version w/ the div. switch instead.

In Dorico, unis. became Natural; Accent became Marcato (although there is an accent expression in Dorico, CS2 calls it Marcato over in Kontakt); Pizzicato; Tremolo; Staccato; Trill (I used the whole step expression for my first version).

I have only extremely limited experience with this, so I am at a basic concepts phase currently.