Getting quiet notes to start cleanly in the right place rather than "easing in"

Hi folks, here’s my problem of the day…

This is with

  • Dorico 4
  • Halion Sonic SE3
  • Violins I A Combi (sound)
  • HSO Violins Combi (expression map)

There’s this bit where the violins are marked piano. And something in the system (I think this would be the expression map, maybe?) has decided that it’s appropriate to shape the start of these piano notes with a tiny crescendo at the beginning of each one, sort of a niente in reverse.

However, this makes the timing sound wrong. I don’t want the sound to appear a smidgin late as the mini-crescendo gets around to happening! I want the notes to appear bang on time - but just quietly.

So far, I haven’t put an enormous amount of effort into learning how sounds and expression maps work. And to be honest I would rather not have to if I can avoid it, because the bit I enjoy is writing the music, whereas tinkering with sounds is more of an “oh no, do I have to wade through this” kind of a vibe :slight_smile:

However I do have the general idea that a piano instruction is mapped onto some “how to render a piano on a violin”, and that somewhere there will be a detail which prescribes the attack envelope.

I quite like the violin sounds overall - in every other place. So I don’t really want to doff out the whole sound and go and find another one, which I might like less in other ways. It seems more sensible to, if possible, just tell it “don’t do that shape of attack envelope, do the same shape of start as you’d do if it were marked mf, only quieter”.

I wonder is there a nice little step-by-step how-to somewhere, or would some kind person like to write one, which would tell me how to change that one thing, without me having to learn a lot more sound-rendering info as well?

Thanks in advance for any help!

There isn’t a global setting that will affect this directly, as it’s down to the samples you’re playing. If you need the attacks to come earlier, the usual way to do this is to slightly back up the note start times in the key editor.

But on the other hand, a slow attack on soft notes is idiomatic to a human string section. If you were to somehow get the VST to play the louder samples with softer volume, you’d find the result unmusical in a different way – unrealistic instead of ragged ensemble.

This is how it starts :slight_smile:

Note Performer is highly recommended by many over any such tweaking. $10 a month if you want to pay it out that way is a significant quality of life improvement for the next thing and the next thing that bugs you. :slight_smile:

It’s too late for me. I’m deep down the sample library rabbit hole myself.


Yes - the only reason I haven’t gone towards NotePerformer already is that I listened to the NotePerformer 3 samples and the sounds seemed noticeably more artificial than the ones which come with Dorico. I saw a thread somewhere and people were saying that NotePerformer 4 is going to have better sounds, so I’d definitely check it out again then. And yeah, I may yet resort to it for this piece if I can’t get the inbuilt Dorico sounds to do the right shapes.

Thanks, yes I have currently resorted to moving the notes back a smidge.

you’d find the result unmusical in a different way – unrealistic instead of ragged ensemble.

I disagree with you about this part though. I know exactly how I would play a real violin to do the quiet note with the clean start! It’s what I was imagining when I wrote for the violins to do that bit. You can have a basically-loud note which starts without a “crisp” edge as well: they’re separate variables.

I mean if I really wanted to get it perfect I could record the violin part separately with my real violin, but that would be a whole other can of bother :slight_smile:

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