Expression & Percussion Map Playback Issues

I’ve been setting up/creating EM & PM for VSL SYZd percussion instruments. I’m specifically developing the Woodblocks.
As of yesterday evening, both EM & PM worked fine.
The EM has the 4 types of mallets that can be used.
Today, for some unknown reason, the mallets are not responding with the playback & playing techniques I assigned to indicate the change.
In the EM window, I tested each mallet option and they are triggering the right key switches, but in the score they are not.
Any ideas as to why Dorico has chosen to not work like it did yesterday?
Here’s a diagnostic report:
Dorico Diagnostics.zip (1.1 MB)
Here are what I think are the PM & EM I created, if of any help.
Ooopssss… forum doesn’t take doricolib files. How can I get them to you, if need be?
In any case, thank you for any help you can provide.

Try to compress the file in a Zip format, and you should be able to post it.

I went through a similar exercise for VSL SY Percussion. I have all mallets in the EM as add on and also have a mutual exclusion list with the different mallets in the EM. Maybe not having that is the reason it does not work anymore.

Did you use existing playing techniques and playback techniques for the mallets (which would probably result in not exactly the same name as in the library) or did you add your own techniques? I decided to create additional ones for these mallets having exactly the same name that works well but you do have to highlight the star to make the techniques available globally and not just in the project you defined them in.

I created mallet playing technique icons and attached the playback technique already existing in Dorico.
Strangely enough, after posting yesterday, I continued working on it and found that when I add another woodblock to the same player (had 2 before post; added 3 more after the post) only one of the woodblocks responded to the mallet switches. The others stopped doing so. I created a Perc. Kit with all 5 W.B.'s and only the last block in the score plays back all the the different techniques this instruments has.
here’s the player score where you can see them all, one after another and only starting at bar 113, does everything work:

SYzd Percussion Woodblock Kit Sample.pdf (83.6 KB)

You mention having the mallets as add-ons. I have mine as base; don’t know if that could make a difference. The other thing I was thinking is that the PM is set for multiple instruments; maybe I need to make it for single?
Thank you both for your replies.

I discovered that when using the wood block instrument by it self, assigned to a player, it responds well to all the articulations, etc. I’ve set up.
When in a kit with other woodblocks, only one responds. So far in this scenario the low wood block works.
Any other ideas/suggestions?

it is difficult to point at the problem you have as you have many issues.

As mentioned I have the Synchron Perc. so maybe the keyboard layout is not the same,. In SY Perc. all 5 blocks have their own octave with key switches for techniques on the keyboard. There are 12 per wood block. Some are double to allow two hand playing. You in principle only need one for Dorico, I also defined only one roll, the VelXF one and only two of the 4 upbeats.

In the setup I use the option woodblocks as instrument which automatically creates a kit with the 5 blocks. In the instrument definition you can create all techniques with their specific noteheads and markers. You need to do it only for one block than the others also have the same techniques.

The 3 mallets are defined in the Expression Map as add on but I don’t think that if you have them as base that is an issue as long as you have an mutual exclusion group. You also have to enter a line for natural in the EM with the controllers. I use velocity and cc1, so I load the VelXF samples in the Sychron Player.

If SyZd percussion has all woodblocks individual with the same key switches, you have to use 5 instances of the Synchron player each with a different woodblock loaded but the same PM and EM

Mine look like this:


By your description, they sound similar. Or not?

SYzd W.B. set comes with 4 mallet types. each with it’s own ks. You can see them in the screenshot above.

If I understand you correctly, all 5 w.bs. are one set, each in a different octave, as seen in the screenshot above, so I wouldn’t need 5 instances of Synchron Player active.

Trying the set in an empty project, the mallet changes, one at a time for one player, seems to work. They don’t work when I add more than one to the player. not even when there are rests in-between mallet changes.

Yes the way it is setup is the same. SY Perc have less mallet and a rasping stick but that is not the issue. the SY version does not have the to yellow stack switches however.

With this keyboard layout you should be able to load all 5 blocks in the setup choosing « woodblocks » as instrument with one full PM and EM on kit level and one instance of the SY Player with the woodblock samples loaded.

Do have a look what happens in the SY player when you play the notes of each block manually. So create a score, best using the single line format, for the test, starting with the natural, then press R and change that note to the next technique by adding tremolo lines or markers you have defined and/or pressing shift+option+arrow up (Mac). Repeat that till you have at least one note for each technique then go to the next staff line and do the same. finally enter a mallet with shift+P for each block at the first note position and best an ff dynamic mark for each line. If that works start the play back test.

To do this you can display the player keyboard which you show above in play mode and then switch to write mode in Dorico. Maybe you have to reduce the window size of Dorico and shift the SY keyboard a bit to keep it visible. Next tap each note with the mouse and see what the SY keyboard activates (and what you hear of course) and also check the value of CC1 assuming you use it in your EM combined with velocity.

I hope this gets you further,

One last thing. At least for a first test use simple text for the mallet in the technique definition not a glyph. I do not have consistent good experience with user added glyphs. Text would work but the glyph did not.

It all sounds like what I’ve done. You describe the same steps I’ve done when creating any EM &/or PM. I do use cc1 in the EM’s combined with velocity.
I’ll switch the glyphs to text and see how that works, though when creating, everything worked well until it didn’t. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:
I’ll keep trying. Thank you very much for your replies. I just hope gets around to improve these very much needed areas of this awesome program.

Do Expression Maps need to have a “Natural” playback technique, even if you don’t use it?
If so, what’s the purpose of having it in the EM?
Changing the glyphs to text didn’t improve anything.
I created a score with wood blocks only, each with a player, since the kit was not working as expected.
The result here is that only one wood block responds completely to the EM & PM set up, using the playing techniques I set them up with, as well.
Here’s the sample. The greyed out notes are those that don’t respond to anything. The black notes do work well.
Any other ideas as to what I may be missing?
SYzd Percussion Study Sample Woodblocks.dorico (2.7 MB)
Here are the EM & PM I created
Archive.zip (7.5 KB)
This is the chart with EM/PM settings


These are the icons I created
VSL SYzd Percussion Orchestral Instr.-Wood Blocks playing tech. Icons.pdf (142.8 KB)

I think it is good practice. “Natural” is what Dorico will use if it comes across a combination of techniques/note conditions that do not map onto anything explicit in the map and cannot be reconciled by the mutual exclusion groups.

It is not only good practice: it is essential for consistent and predictable playback.

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So if I don’t assign anything to a “natural”, I still should include it?

Could you elaborate a bit more on this? What’s the consistency it provides and how does it make playback predictable?

Dorico relies on the existence of the Natural switch because it’s effectively the starting point for all other playing technique handling, and it’s required so that you can use ord./nat. to reset back to that starting point.

If the instrument does not have a basic natural technique you can define a Natural line in the EM without any keyswitch but just with definition of the velocity and if available a secondary controller [CC 1 or CC 2 for most libraries] dynamics control.

I don’t know if needed but I in general also rename one technique of my percussion instrument to Natural.

I played some more with the woodblocks in SY Perc and also found that for some reason if you have them in a drum kit one point in time (probably not random but I do not know when or why) only one responds to the EM and PM. The only workaround I found is to take them out of the kit as separate instruments and allocate each with a EM and PM. You can use the same EM and PM for each of them.

Thanks for your feedback. It’s really weird how they behave. I’ve tried them as a kit, as individual instruments & with individual players. The inconsistency is still there.
I’ll keep trying.

@algae592009 For what it’s worth … I just went through a process to get three wood blocks to sound as expected (no key switches, just basic hits). Here’s what I found:

The percussion map needs to be for multiple instruments, since Dorico treats each wood block as a different instrument. When it was initially set for single (since I think of wood blocks as a single instrument compositionally) only the lowest wood block sound would play back. After I set the PM for multiple instruments, the wood blocks played different pitches, but in reverse pitch order (the lowest on the staff played the highest pitch, etc.) despite the fact that the staff lines in the kit were assigned correctly. I had to switch each wood block to a different instrument in the kit and then back to the correct one to get the sounds to play back in expected top to bottom staff line and pitch order.

I need to have 3 wood block instruments in the Kontakt instance so each can receive midi on a separate midi channel because when you create the endpoint for the kit, each instrument has to be on a different midi channel or there won’t be a place for it in the endpoint.

The same rules applied when I wanted two floor toms in the kit.

Hope this may help. Setting up complex percussion in kits is definitely a tricky business!

Thanks Mark,
unfortunately I already had the PM set for multiple instruments.
My set has 5 different woodblocks. I’ve also set them up as individual instruments, just like Dorico has their W.B. set up, and then I created a kit of 5. There are still quirky behaviors; the beaters sometimes work, others they don’t. There doesn’t seem to be any logical reason as to why they don’t behave as expected, even though they all did in the beginning.

Dear all, sorry to jump in this discussion (no intention to add entropy to the conversation). I am also trying to use different type of mallets (hard, soft, medium, …) in my score, but I am not able to find the icons for each type (I was expecting to find them in playing techniques…). Do these icons exist in Dorico (even if they are available in the library) or do I need to create my own? → I was going to post a new item, but I thought that leveraging this conversation would be more efficient…

I am sorry I am not able to provide any hint/guidance to your request, and thanks for any feedback you may provide to mine.
Thanks. Francisco