Hauptwerk – general piston changes from dorico

I’m trying to figure out how to trigger general piston changes in Hauptwerk from Dorico. I have Hauptwerk playing fine from Dorico and I understand the Hauptwerk end of the equation. I gather that this can be done by creating Playing Techniques in Dorico and maybe, expression maps. However, despite much searching, I’ve not found a simple explanation of how to set this up. This could be my own failure in research but I would be most grateful if anyone could point me at the basic principles involved and how to implement them.
I had this working well in Finale but I don’t want to use that! Any help greatly appreciated.

I’m sure he’d likely find this thread anyway, but tagging @Romanos401 as I know he’s a Hauptwerk expert.

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Many thanks for this. I’ll hope to hear in due course.

Finale is a bit more flexible MIDI-wise, but in Dorico there is no way around custom playing techniques (which you put in the score) and their corresponding custom playback techniques (which you reference in the Expression Map(s)). I’m not enough of a pedagogue to teach the creation of expression maps, but there are lots of experts on this forum! In the organ universe it’s often practical to put Playing techniques (registration changes, stepper commands) on rests, but that doesn’t work in Dorico. (at least it didn’t last time I worked on an organ project…) I do have a few simple HW/Dorico projects lying around, so could upload a demo down the road as necessary…

Many thanks for these thoughts. I had a feeling I might need to understand more about expression maps and how they apply to Hauptwerk. Something of a steep learning curve, I think. I appreciate your offer of a working project – very kind. It might be that I could work out the necessary process from there.

I’d say start by looking into individual playing and playback techniques to make individual, smaller changes in VST performance, since Expression Maps (if I understand correctly) are built out of a collection of such items. Start small and experiment.

You may also find this thread from a few months ago helpful.

Basically, an expression map is required to send anything MIDI out of Dorico. Once you get the principle, it’s really very simple. In the picture you can see an example of an Expression Map where I’ve set up couplers and steppers. Beforehand the HW organ is configured to respond to Program Change data for these. You can use internal/virtual midi cables (such as loopBe) or the HW VST LINK to communicate with HW itself.

In Dorico I’ve made up Playing Techniques (Engrave/Playting techniques…) for these (for use in the score). Each Playing technique references a corresponding Playback technique (Play/Playback techniques…), which are the ones you see in the NAME column. (I’m sure there are either videos or tutorials on how to create these in the manual)

The Natural technique is somewhat irrelevant in this context, but in my experience it is required. It has to be populated with something (e.g. CC0 = 0) and will then ensure that Midi Chasing works for the remaining techniques. This is important whenever you start playback somewhere mid-piece.

Controlling HW in more detail requires different approaches and can be rather complicated for large instruments. My approach has always been to prepare registrations in HW itself, since I use several different instruments, and just trigger those from HW using stepper approach…

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I think this is definitely the preferred approach, otherwise you need to create detailed expression maps for every single instrument. Besides, it’s better to let HW control the registrations—that’s what hauptwerk is designed to do—rather than trying to mess around in dorico triggering stops one by one.

I’d also suggest just using the VST link provided by hauptwerk rather than a third party virtual cable. Again, this is what it was designed to do. It exists specifically to allow this type of communication.

Many thanks for all the replies. My own approach has similarly always been to set all changes within Hauptwerk and send general/stepper changes from the notation programme. I think I’m failing to spot something obvious but I’ve not yet found how to map a playing technique to a midi message within the expression map. I’ll re-read all the above and keep looking. Thank you.

Be careful to distinguish playing technique (what you write in the score) from playback technique (the message sent to your VST via the expression map).

There’s a three step process to go through:

  1. Create a playback technique (Play->Playback Techniques…)
  2. Add the MIDI instructions for this technique in the Expression Map (Play-> Expression Maps)
  3. Create a new playing technique (Engrave-> Playing Techniques) that links what you write in the score to the playback technique you have defined.

If I’ve missed something the experts will set me right!

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Thank you all for your thoughts and support. I now have a clear sense of what’s going on and have general pistons/stepper working fine. Now I just need to fathom out getting a swell pedal to work from Dorico!