Expression Maps

Hi there, I like to see if there is a place in here or a blog, website, etc. that all the available Dorico expression maps are listed together.
I bought Note Performer last year but I like to browse through them and see if there is any single library purchase that encompasses detail composition of all orchestral instruments and with maximum number of articulations for each instrument and allows Dorico expression map (preferably already created) to take advantage of those articulations. I guess it is too much to ask. I know that Spitfire BBC Symphonic Orchestra Pro is a hot item but I like to see if there is any other sample library that is in par with that, and also other more affordable alternatives with sort of similar wide array of instrumentations and articulations. I just want to see if it is worth it to get something on top of what Note Performer offers for more sound realism especially for articulations. And the last if there is any jazz band oriented sample library with more playback realism for articulations that are more common to be used in jazz and either already is mapped out for Dorico or allows to do so.
Sorry if I sound lazy (haven’t done my homework) or not informed enough for this subject but I really appreciate your feedback. Thanks a lot.

Well, I decided to get the CSS Solo strings and have managed to get all the articulations to work without too much problem using CC58 (with the trills which require two notes, you simply set the trilled to note as transparent so you can’t see it). My main initial source of confusion is actually something that should be rather simple but the CSS control method makes it rather less so. Both velocity and CC1 are used for specific programming so I assumed that the main dynamic controller should be set to CC11 which is main volume. That works OK except for the fact that Kontakt’s main volume slider keeps moving around. I changed CC11 to CC12 and tried disabling the “accept standard controllers for volume” but nothing helps. What should the primary and secondary, if appropriate, dynamic controllers in the Dorico EM be set to? I had little joy with CC1 as the dynamic range is far too high. Using Kontakt 5.8.1

Once I’ve got this sort of thing sorted, it’s looking like the software will be perfectly usable – will no doubt need a little legato training-- in Dorico.

UPDATE disabling the “accept standard controllers for volume” does now work after I deleted and reloaded the instrument. Question about what others have done about assigning dynamic controllers remains, though, as I’m not convinced I have the best method.

as there is a separate post specifically on Solo String libraries here I’ve make any further posting on CSS there

Where can I find expression maps for EW Violin Solo, please?

All of the expression maps that users recommend can be found in this thread. If an expression map isn’t there, then it probably doesn’t exist and you will need to consider making it for yourself.

1 Like

Daniel, from the “old days” of Dorico 1 (or 2?), I remember, that importing Cubase Expression Maps is not very helpful, even if there is an extra import button inside the Expression-Maps editor. Are they more helpful in Dorico 3.5 than in 1 or 2?
There are at least some Expression maps for EW Symphonoy Orchestra, which could be perhaps helpful for @Chikitin:

Dorico will import a few more techniques than before from Cubase expression maps, but because there is such a difference in the things that they can do and the way they can do them, my own feeling is that you will have more luck starting from scratch with the manufacturer’s documentation for the sample library.

1 Like

@dspreadbury @HeiPet eiPet Thank you. I was aware of the webpage and the thread.

I will give a shot importing .expressionmap files and try update them.

@dspreadbury Should we assume the Cubase Expression map import button take care of conversion of C3 to C4 difference form Cubase to Dorico?

Dorico has the option of C being C3, 4 or 5 and can be set in the Expression map - check once you’ve imported is probably the best advice!

Cubase and Dorico expression maps store the pitches as MIDI note numbers, so these should be correct. If you change the C3/C4 setting then this only affects what you see in the editor. If it’s set to C4 and you type in ‘C4’ then it stores the value of 60. If it’s set to C3 and you type ‘C3’ then it also stores the value of 60.


Thank you, Daniel!
Some years ago - during my Sibelius life - I wanted to dive into sample libraries and bought some libraries, but never really got into it and didn’t succeed getting results which are worth the (or better: my) effort.
Now I am at the same point in Dorico. At the moment I am not sure, if I should try to bring these libraires back to life and try to get some decent results from them. I don’t need perfect mock-ups and I don’t want to bring my music over to a DAW to fine tune them. I just want to have some different sound examples to choose from. In my experience, there is no library, which is suitable for every kind of music and instrumentation. (I also have Noteperformer, which is very good, but there are also some pieces, which sound awful.)
@benwiggy wrote a lot about Garritan libraries during the last weeks, so I was stimulated, to give it a try. Would be interested to hear from other former Sibelius users, if they get more out of their sound libraries in Dorico than in Sibelius?

I am interested in using expressionMap conditions, but the only condition that I appear to be able to specify is by Note Duration. Are there any other parameters that can be used for conditionally choosing the set of keyswitches to use?

No, at the present time, only note duration conditions are currently implemented, but we certainly plan to expand this in future versions.

1 Like

It would be great if you could share with me the expression map you have created for Berlin Woodwinds… Do you have any expression maps for the Cinematic Studio Series? I’m a newcomer to Dorico and notation software in general. After two weeks experimenting with SE I have now upgraded to Elements as it impressed me so much.

I was wondering if I could get some information on the way that the Dorico BBC SO Expression Map has been programmed. I attempted to use BBCSO with the Dorico Expression Map on one of my compositions for String Orchestra and Timpani in order to make a good quality demo of the work. I found the BBC SO Expression Map to be a complete disaster on this quite rhythmically dynamic, rapidly moving composition (please note: I feel that many of the string library programers such as Spitfire seem to forget that strings are the rhythmic core of the orchestra rather than just a mushy mood machine). The problem I encountered was the complete inability of the string legatos to meet the demands of legato 8th notes and 16th notes at 130 beats per minute or more. I understand that it is possible to program the Expression Maps to compensate for differences in tempo. What I need to know is if the problems I encountered were due to an inherent fault in Spitfire’s BBCSO or if the needed programming of the Expression Map for rapid tempo playing had not been done yet in the current version of the Expression Map. Noteperformer has no problem rending this composition and does some quite musical things in the work if the dynamics for the musical lines are properly marked up. BBCSO in its current state is a complete non-starter. Unfortunately, the string sound in Noteperformer has an overall harsh sound that is very hard to tame. I would like the sound of BBCSO combined with the legato tempo management and musicality of Noteperformer. Cheers, Paul

1 Like

As would we all. A forlorn hope at present.

1 Like

Indeed, it seems like the AI of Noteperformer is a much needed component of its somewhat more musical playback. It really is a very impressive product. I would pay a lot of for a “broadcast quality sound” version of it. Despite what many say, I still feel many composers are “composing to the sample” when using sample libraries rather than freely writing what they might want to express. I also think that the sample libraries are distorted by a certain lack of understanding of strings, as well as a certain musical laziness, on the part of many over worked and underpaid film composers. I can’t stand hearing endless staccato/spiccato lines when real string players use a lot of variety in their bowing. All of this is set up by using these sound libraries across a myriad of tracks. This is where the flexibility of Dorico Expression Maps should shine as opposed to composing somewhat crudely in DAWs, and it’s sad when they don’t, perhaps due to the limitations of the libraries themselves. My question is still whether the BBCSO itself is the fundamental problem for me or if the BBCSO Expression map is not fully developed enough to deal with the musical challenges of my not really all that untypical Dorico file.


Sorry, I’m not skilled enough to answer. But I share your frustration (especially about string articulations). My current conclusion (perhaps erroneous) is that only NP approaches the problem from the notation - which it does with its own clever algorithms, so its expression map is nigh on impossible to tweak. All other libraries are strictly for the DAWs!

I would seriously welcome some contributions from experts here on how to set up expression maps to tweak the capabilities of various sound libraries that don’t immediately descend into the esoteric… For example, I have yet to see a simple explanation of how and why secondary dynamic is manipulated (which just exemplifies my ignorance).