I have created expression maps for the Iconica library standard articulations set which you can download here. I have tested them and they all work correctly.
Originally, I was creating a map for every instrument, and then realized that almost all of the instruments use the same key switches. Low instruments such as Basses, Tuba and Contra Basson obviously need to use higher key switches so I created separate maps for those instruments.
Loading the “Violins, Violas & Celli” map allows correct playback of markings for staccato, pizzicato, marcato, legato and tremolo respectively. I set the “natural” playing technique to “sustain” which makes the most sense for me, although other users may prefer it to be set to staccato. In order for the tremolo to play back, it is important that your notes use the tremolo markings with three slashes rather than two or one.
Loading the “Iconica Woodwinds” map allows all of the woodwind instruments (except for contra bassoon) to play staccatissimo, staccato, marcato, legato and repetitions using standard articulation marks and text. In order for repetitions to play back correctly, you must use tremolo notes with three slashes.
Loading the “Iconica Brass” map allows all of the brass instruments (except for Tuba) to play staccatissimo, staccato, marcato, legato and repetitions using standard articulation markings and text.
Tuba, Contra Bassoon and Basses have their own separate maps.
For those who are not so familiar with expression maps, switch to play mode and then select “expression maps” from the “play menu”. Click “import library” at the bottom of the window to import this file. Next, you must click the little cog wheel next to the HALion Sonic SE VST instrument and assign these new maps to each of the instruments in your score which need them. You will have to manually load the samples from Iconica as this is not done automatically. You should then save your score if you want to use it as a template next time.
There are many more articulations included in Iconica, but at least this is a good start for an “out of the box” experience. I welcome all feedback and can make changes as people see fit. Iconica Standard Set.doricolib.zip (2.11 KB)
Great work, David. Thank you very much for taking the time to do this! We are looking at building some special Iconica presets and accompanying expression maps to build on the sets of techniques that are loaded into the current Iconica presets and to enable the use of a playback template that will load the sounds automatically, but this is a great interim solution for anybody who wants to try Iconica with Dorico in its current form. It’s also worth knowing that a 30-day trial of Iconica is now available here.
Thanks for the positive feedback Daniel! Iconica is an exceptionally good library which I encourage other users of Dorico to seriously consider. I know that whatever you come up with regarding its integration into Dorico in the future will be fantastic, and I look forward to it.
I have created my own expression maps and playing techniques for several of the EWSL Silk sound library instruments. I figured out how to “Export Library” for the expression maps (by selecting all of the maps and pressing the “Export Library” button). But I can’t figure out how to save/export the playing techniques I have created. Of course I need the notation that triggers the playing techniques to be exported and imported to any new scores. Please advise how to do this. I notice a “Save as Default” button at the bottom of any single playing technique that I edit, but I don’t know what that will do. Thanks. John O
At the moment there’s no way to export the playing techniques you have created, but if you select each of them in turn and do ‘Save as Default’, this will save them into your user library file, which means that every new project you start thereafter will automatically include those playing techniques.
Thanks Daniel! I tread very cautiously when learning new software, having tended in the past to start creating workarounds too early, and then later discovering that there was actually something already built-in that I had missed.
That is all very reasonable. I just want to say that I recently picked up NotePerformer and I’m blown away by it. I will be using that almost exclusively for my work with Dorico. If a certain project needs to get mocked up more elaborately with VSL or whatever, I will export it to my DAW and work on it there outside of the notational domain. I understand that Dorico has its own goals, as it should, but hopefully NotePerformer and Dorico will be able to synergistically come together to resolve the couple of issues the exist to make the experience seamless. Right now, Finale is even less seamless then Dorico, but Sibelius apparently has the best integration with it for whatever the reason. NotePerformer might be the perfect orchestral sound source for working with a notational product to hear the results as notated. For my own workflow, I will be using NotePerformer through most phases of composition. However, for final mockup to distribute, if needed, I will export project to DAW and use VSL or other libraries, with all the tools in the DAW to craft the best mockup I can.
The simple truth is that articulation handling is right now a very moving target. All of the DAW’s handle it differently, some don’t handle it at all. The various sample libraries all handle things differently, in some cases substantially so. There are some interesting challenges to deal with when you start digging into it, and it gets even more complicated once you start combining different sample libraries in one project. People need to be realistic about an expectation that they will be able to get NotePerformer-like automatic articulation handling with all the different sample libraries out there, at least not any time soon. NotePerformer is simple the best alternative at the moment for automatic score reproduction without having to fiddle around with articulation management.
I think it would be good if Dorico at least duplicated the functionality entirely of Cubase expression maps. Articulation handling will evolve in Cubase and Dorico along with it, but people need to realize, that there is a lot of fiddling often, even with expression maps. If you need a top quality mock up, then that is worth doing. If you just need quick and easy score playback that sounds something close to what you intend, then NotePerformer with Dorico is, IMHO, the way to go for the foreseeable future. Notion also has done a pretty decent job with this, but not as good as NotePerformer and Notion is not that greatest notational program either.
Thanks for your thoughts on this, Dewdman42. It is certainly our intention to beef up the handling of articulations, to complete the missing bits of support for the Cubase expression map format, and then to go beyond that to try to make it richer and more expressive. But it will take a bit of time! We also have ideas about how to expand the playback template mechanism to make it possible for vendors like Arne to selectively enable and disable some aspects of Dorico’s playback to better suit the specific needs of their instruments. NotePerformer is a remarkable bit of kit and we are committed to supporting it as fully as it is practical for us to do so.
The main problem for me right now, is the ‘temporary’ fix of having to put in a ‘Nat.’ playing technique before another custom playing technique, in order for it to key-switch properly. This is compounded by the fact that playing techniques seem to snap to notes, so you cannot place a ‘nat.’ playing technique in a random spot at the end of a bar (after the last note of that bar, for example) so as to switch an articulation quickly before the next note, and avoiding therefore, the triggering of the articulation associated with that ‘nat’ key-switch.
Is this something that can be fixed in the short term, without having to wait for the full expression map implementation, as hinted at by Daniel above, or is it a major development/programming hurdle that will only come as part of the full monty of sample library and expression map routing?
I think I can probably answer that myself. There has not been any major change to the expression map functionality in Dorico 2.1 from 2.0 and indeed I don’t think most of us were really expecting anything if you’ve kept up and read all of Daniel’s comments, even though we were maybe hoping… I have a question above about one element of the functionality, but I suspect the solution will not be forthcoming for a while…Or, maybe it will be solved shortly! One thing that has been fixed is that the playing techniques now show up in the controller lane of the Play window correctly. There may be some other changes that I have not become aware of…
Go to the Expression Map editor in the PLAY window. Select the Expression Map you are using and you can see a list of the techniques included. When you select each technique, you can choose how the Volume Dynamic should work - Either via note velocity or via a control change. If you select CC11 then it should work with the crossfade in VSL, assuming that you have CC11 assigned to the crossfade inside the VSL player - It does for me.
Thank you for a brilliant response, I really appreciate the detail and screen grabs. I changed the volume dynamic to CC11 on the expression map and enabled V.X fade in Vienna and that got it working brilliantly. I am really happy so thank you. (I have noticed that the only way to apply X fade across the board is to change the volume dynamic for every technique individually. Perhaps Dorico will have the feature to ‘Apply all’ in the future).
I have also been having a second issue with playback in that when importing the cubase expression map for VSL, I only hear audio when a performance technique is written (for example, a slur, or staccato).
It seems that when notes are just left unmarked that nothing gets played. I checked the settings for the ‘Sustain’ technique on the expression map (which is the one I am guessing is activated when nothing is written for the note), and all seems to be in order there.
If you have a staccato note followed by an unmarked note, the reverb tail of the staccato note remains in tact, which suggests to me it is not an audio playback cut-out. Furthermore, the unmarked notes can’t be seen being ‘played’ on the Vienna Instruments keyboard, which suggests they are not being sent to the instrument in the first place
Since some instruments use sticky key-switches (the last one tapped sticks until a different one is tapped), it’s a good idea to always have a ‘Natural’ technique included in the expression map. Notes with no technique(s) attached get a ‘natural’ node.
Here’s an example for a Garritan (GPO5) Sound I’ve been using. In this case I want to send all this stuff as the ‘default’ or ‘natural’ state (a plain arco bowing style).
It makes sure the Legato pedal (CC68) is off.
I make adjustments to the start time in the sample with CC119.
I’ve got more events to adjust a tonal filter, make sure the ‘mute’ is off, and adjust the ADSR settings.
I send the proper key-switch for a regular arco bowing sound.
For this particular instrument, I send this entire slate of events (with different values) for pretty much every different technique Dorico offers, as well as various combinations of techniques such as legato+tenuto, and so forth. I add them and tweak as needed to a score…things can be quite different from score to score depending on style/tempo/etc. I.E. A downbow can change CC119 to play the sample a little earlier (where the bow starts grabbing), and changes ADSR somewhat for a more downbow effect. Because so many parameters get moved about when playing different articulations/styles, I just send the entire slate every time something needs to change.
So, if the expressionmap that causes you trouble already has a “Natural” technique, make sure it sends the right key-switch (or program change, etc.), and double check that the range and velocity limits, or length/duration percentages haven’t perhaps been clamped off by accident. If the expressionmap does not have a Natural technique, make one that will at least send the default key-switch.
If your expressionmap/plugin combo makes a lot of live dynamic changes to an assortment of parameters, be sure to reset them ‘all’ exactly how you’d like them for the default/natural sound.
Next thing to check
Sometimes a note can have more than one technique associated with it. I.E. It might have a slur over it, as well as a dot over it, thus it could trigger a “legato+staccato” expressionmap technique. So, double check in the score, that it’s not trying to trigger some sort of multi-node technique that is missing, or isn’t set up properly.
To build such a ‘combo technique’, hold the ctrl key while selecting more than one node when assigning nodes to a new technique. I.E. legato+marcato
If one unfolds things in Play View, and the instruments/players are properly pointing to a valid expressionmap, one can see a status bar with the piano scroll roll that shows any valid playing techniques, which also happen to have matching techniques in the expressionmap. Notes with cominbations of techniques will show an astrix (*), and hovering over that with a mouse will show all the active nodes. This status bar can really come in handy when trying to troubleshoot an expressionmap!
Sometimes I get odd combinations of techniques on my score, and there’s nothing even remotely close to the way I want it to sound assigned in my expressionmap. Or maybe it is falling back to something close, but not really what I have in mind. So, I find it’s not unusual at all for me to make a lot of combo techniques in the expressionmap on an ‘as need’ basis for each project. Sometimes I even find myself borrowing techniques meant for other instruments an hiding them from view in order to produce a ‘combi’ that will trigger the specific sound I need. I.E. I could make some wild combo like “legato+accent+staccato+mute+snares on” to force a certian set of ‘one off’ instrument parameters for a given piece. I’d simply hide the snares off technique in the score by setting it to full transparent.