Expression Maps


So the six are Natural, Accent, Pizzicato, Tremolo, Staccato and ? (I ask because I can’t get Trill to work…)

Trills are not currently implemented. They are a bit more involved than the other playing techniques as Dorico has to know whether to use a half or full tone switch.

Apologies, I see now that I had not tested the actual output response for the trill technique.

I did make another very basic xmap, for NI Symphony Series String Ensemble and attached it.

In addition to the more common articulations and Dorico associations, there is a “Harmonics” patch and a "Sordino Sus. Vibrato. Using what technique nomenclature is available for now, I equated the “Harmonics” with the Dorico “Half-harmonic”, and the “Sordino Sus. Vibrato” with Dorico “Muted”.

Note that I did not equate a technique for the “Octave Runs up” articulation. Same case for the Cinematic Strings 2, there is a “Run mode” articulation that I did not use in my initial version of the xmap. (1.31 KB)

I bought the Cubase version of the Expression maps from BabylonWaves. Although I can import them into Dorico and they look normally in the EM editor, they don’t trigger anything and don’t even play back the music. Not sure why this is. I can still use them in Cubase though.

Hi Andre. It’s because they’re not mapped properly. At the moment only some of Dorico’s articulations are triggering events and those have to be mapped back correctly to the appropriate articulation for each sound library. If I understand the BabylonWaves package correctly, they’ve gone one stage further and introduced a standard for all articulations which works across all libraries that they’ve mapped. However, that’s still program dependent which is why they have different files for Logic and Cubase. As Dorico takes yet another different approach to Expression maps, that would mean Babylonwaves adopting a different approach as well.

Yes, I noticed that they for example use articulation names that aren’t part of the original choice within Dorico but specific for the library although the midi key numbers are correct. Isn’t that the most important part to trigger an articulation? Still, I do have all the correct midi key numbers for every articulation now so it should be easy to make new maps from scratch. Or will there still be a reason that it doesn’t work?

Unfortunately yes. There are two issues. Dorico articulations that can be mapped but don’t play back or trigger (Trills , Vibrato etc.) and Sound Library articulations that can’t be mapped because there isn’t a corresponding articulation within Dorico. In other words, there are issues on both sides of the map.

I’ve spent the last couple of days looking at this issue of Dorico Expression maps in some depth using a number of libraries. All of them can be made to map to some extent, but none of them perfectly (i.e. fully). But, for the moment, that may be enough for many users. As I said in an earlier post, if the goal is to start mapping now to satisfy those users then we really need a list of current articulations that trigger AND play back. That’s an essential starting point - without it you’re either guessing or it’s a slow process of trial and error.

By the way, I think the Babylon Waves package is a very useful tool. User Mapping is time-consuming - mapping to a consistent layout and standard requires a great deal of thought and planning. I know from experience of mapping in Cubase that I would constantly be revising maps to try and achieve a consistent standard. I’d happily buy in a Babylonwaves for Dorico package when Dorico is fully setup for Expression Maps.

A request for the development team: Can we enable user folders in the Expression maps list? The way that it’s set up at the moment if we were to map all libraries, there could a long, long list of items there. It would be good to open folders by library, or by instrument.

I spent this afternoon trying to get the Kirk Hunter’s CS2 working and got very good results. These are the technique text in the Expression Maps that are working and not working. The information between brackets are the names and key switches for the KH string library:

Kirk hunter Concert Strings 2:
Every EM must contain a Natural technique for default playback (no Actions needed)

Natural (CS2 - smooth, 25)
Legato symbol (CS2 - smooth, 25)
Staccato symbol (CS2 - short 30)
Accent symbol (CS2 - accentmf 27)
Pizzicato text (CS2 - pizzicato, 34/35)
Tremolo symbol (2 and 3 slashed) (CS2 - tremolo, 31 )
Sf text (CS2 - accentmf 27)
Muted symbol (CS2 - mutes, 127)

Not Working:
Trill: (CS2 - trill, 32/33)
Harmonic: Natural harmonic 1 (CS2 - harm, 36)
Bartoksnapp pizz: (CS2 - B’tok Pizz, 35)

I was surprised to see that the mute command works, although i don’t see a way to turn it off again.

Now a new challenge: how can I control what is triggered when articulations are combined in the score? For example an accented staccato note seems to cancel out both articulations with the results that none of them are being played and it defaults to Natural. The same with tremolo and accent. This combination defaults back to an accent key switch trigger.

Hi John and others on this thread,

I am looking for a Dorico Expression Map for one or other of the solo strings libraries that are available for a demo I want to do of a long, complex, and technically challenging string quartet I have just written. I have been researching the virtues and limitations of what is there and feel that the Chris Hein, Embertone, and possibly the Cinestrings have both the full range of the instruments and the proper range of useful articulations and sounds. I was rather sad to discover that the Sacconi Strings library from Spitfire does not have professional player ranges for the instruments as that body of work seems particularly lovely. (Spitfire says that they did not have time to make the full recordings and that feels to me like a great opportunity missed.)

What I would like to know is if anyone has a Dorico Expression Map for the Chris Hein Solo strings or the Embertone solo instruments or another library of this sort? I think that it is likely that another Chris Hein orchestral string library Expression Map could be adapted for the Solo Strings.

If no one has a map of this sort, I would be interested in your opinion if it is worth making the purchase one of these libraries and risking whether a successful Expression Map could be made right now (as one would expect it could). Reading this thread system does not seem like its working 100% yet although that may be due to the difficulty or complexity of programming an EM. Some assistance from Steinberg would be welcome if that is possible. It seems there should be a big push in this area given the nature of the 2.0 update that seems to be coming soon.

I also think we need to have a page set up at Sternberg just for Dorico Expression Maps similar to the page for Cubase Maps. I feel that would show some commitment to this aspect of Dorico (if you have it up already that’s great!). In fact, I think this is one of the key areas of the program and Sibelius did not follow through enough with their version of the expression map. Also the mixer has potential but it would be great if some effective MIDI automation could be added at some point. Your ability to adjust note lengths without changing the notion was a very important step.

I am very grateful that it is likely that Noteperformer will be coming to Dorico. However, Noteperformer is wonderful for writing with and is surprisingly musical at times, especially on certain instruments. Unfortunately, for strings (although very good) it does not match the sound quality of the libraries that have been designed for film composers, some of whom would love to be using Dorico for all its current amazing features.

Cheers, Paul N

Another problem I noticed is that already after using only 5 string sections in an orchestral score, Dorico can’t keep up anymore, and starts skipping notes. I can play this score without any problem with the full library loaded in Sibelius. Does this mean that Dorico uses much more processor power for the same task than Sibelius? That would be a problem and if so, there isn’t any point to try getting the libraries mapped. That would be a waste of time.

I dont have anything meaningful to add to this topic, as I never got it going with Sibelius. But I am keenly interested in this subject, as an owner of many Spirtfire products. Expression mapping for their chamber strings, woodwinds, and brass would be like the greatest christmas ever. Looking forward to seeing how this develops.

FYI, the Vienna Symphonic Library (VSL) Special Edition Expression Maps v.1.31 work, at least in the small amount that I have used them so far. This is mostly basic string articulations and some woodwinds. These are from the VSL site (…MyVSL/Notation related) and not the Steinberg page which lists an earlier version number.

I’ve been looking at the impact of Dorico Pro 2 on Expression Maps. We now have the ability to create our own Playing Techniques - which feed into Expression Maps. Unless I’m missing something, I don’t see anything preventing users from setting up expression maps that can cover all articulations from any library. I’ve just tried it out on a Flute sample from EWQLSO and managed to get trills playing back. The score will look a bit weird with user techniques but these can be hidden (opacity zero) and still play back.

Playing techniques can now be hidden by way of a dedicated property in the Properties panel, rather than requiring them to have their colour changed.

Well, even better.

I have the Soniccouture Grand Marimba, which have a Tremolo effect triggered by CC64 (supposedly the sustain pedal).

When you want tremolos, you trigger it with CC64; when you don’t wat them, you retriever CC64.

With the Dorico 2 functionality of creating custom Playing Techniques, I promptly created a tremolo playing technique.

I know how to configure the tremolo to start, but how can I configure the Expression maps to return back to normal?

For some reasons, while I can tweak every parameter with no difficulty (so far), the “length %” parameter just snaps back to 100% no matter what I input or what I do. Am I missing anything or is this a bug?


You’re not missing anything, Michael: this aspect of expression maps is not yet implemented. The data is imported from the Cubase format map, but then not actually used by Dorico as yet.

I guess John Barron is doing this xmap on his own. Prior to your contribution I sent him the documentation of the entire NISS orchestra products (incl. all default keyswitch information) and maybe he is working on the playback template for it.

This may explain why certain expression maps (made-for-Cubase prior to the foundation of Steinberg London) downloaded from Steinberg website doesn’t work well in Dorico.