How does mapping work?

This is a great post. However, when I select Latin Percussion for my drum kit in Play, then go back to setup mode and try to add instruments from that Halion selection, the Latin instruments are not there. Guiro short and long, for example. Any more posts with this sort of thing?

I can’t understand if my case falls among the ones described above. I’m thinking it’s a different one. Please let me explain.

I want to write Gongs into a 5-line percussion grid.

With VSL’s VI collection Gongs are supplied as separate patches of pitched instruments:

  • a patch contains hits with a soft mallet;
  • another one the rolls with a soft mallet;
  • another patch contains the hits with a wooden mallet…

and so on. The patches are not percussion kits, where each instrument and each technique has its own note on the keyboard. They are ordinary pitched instruments. Each technique has its own separate patch. Each patch includes multiple pitches.

Therefore, selecting a particular technique can be done with an expression map.


However, Gongs are also behaving as unpitched/fixed-pitch instruments. You have to choose which pitches you will use. You’ll then have to play them by sending from Dorico the Note messages corresponding to those pitches. Each pitch is a particular Gong. A Small Gong will be C4, a Large Gong an F3.

How to do it? It doesn’t seem that I can send a Note message with a particular pitch from the Percussion Kit.

What would be an ideal solution, for me, would be the reversing of the current Percussion Map editing. Now, you have a Note as the starting point. I would prefer a technique to be the starting point (like in the Expression Map), and the Note being part of the output. Edit the RH Hit, output C0 (the RH Hit in the actual percussion kit).

This would allow multiple MIDI messages in the output bundle. Not only the Note corresponding to a pitch/instrument/technique, but also a patch, if you can also send a bundle of Keyswitch/PC/CC selecting a patch.


Every pitch has an associated MIDI number. You need to find (from VSL documentation or by sussing out the MIDI number of the pitches given) which MIDI number goes with which gong. The question is whether you can find five Gong instruments in Dorico or will have to fake it by choosing other instruments,renaming the instrument in Setup, and assigning the appropriate MIDI number before putting them all in a Kit.

Wrangling the different techniques will take place via a custom Expression Map you will likely have to create yourself.

First, though, on the off chance that VSL has actually already created a setup you can use, try checking their documentation and forums.

This is very easy: the gongs are exactly tuned to the piano keyboard. A C4 will play a gong tuned to C4.

So, I can, for example, select a Tam Tam by choosing a percussion kit corresponding to a particular instrument of a particular size (say, a 100mm Tam Tam). But I can’t select a separate patch for a particular Gong: they are all set along the keyboard in a single patch.

They are pitched instruments, that I want to use as unpitched components of a percussion kit. But how to select one of the pitches?


You associate MIDI numbers with your sound names in a Percussion Map. I am guessing the gongs are all in one sound patch, since you didn’t say they were separate files.

Thank you for the hint, Derrek, but I fear the problem lies in a conflict between techniques selected by the expression map, and the one selected by the percussion map.

  • Different articulations are contained in different patches. There are separate patches for hits, rolls, rolls+dynamics. These are to be selected with an expression map.

  • Different pitches (therefore different gongs) are to be selected with a percussion map. For example, I will have to create a separate percussion map for a large gong, with only a “Natural” on the F3 note.

  • When a “Rolls” technique is found in the score, the expression map will send the messages to select the Rolls patch. At the same time, the percussion map will send a “Natural” technique (the only one allowed, since I can only have an F3 in the percussion map). This will reset the technique from “Rolls” to “Natural”.

Expression map (technique) and percussion map (pitch, but also technique) will clash.


Just wondering: maybe I can bypass the percussion map, and only consider the expression map? It would work this way:

  • The six gongs will be instruments in the percussion kit in Dorico.

  • The expression map will take care of selecting the patch corresponding to the technique.

  • The percussion map will remain empty, and do nothing.

  • The pitch will be selected by way of transposition in the virtual instrument.

Maybe this can work?


IIRC, Expression maps and Percussion maps are not supposed to work together, though, in 3.5, they do… I would have tried it the other way round, only with percussion maps, but honestly, I don’t own that library and I don’t think we can know how it will behave unless by trial and error… Good luck and keep us posted!

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I wonder if it was possible to join everything into the expression map. The current percussion map starts from the idea of percussion kit, but I feel this is very much inherited from the rock world, and is not very suitable for orchestral music. A bit like the drum tracks in the Play mode, with the rhombus inherited from Cubase.

I feel in Dorico everything should start from the articulation. This is what appears in the score. From there, you can link the output note and messages. Even the idea of Key Switch alternative would probably be clearer if starting from the techniques (for example: RH and LH Hits, both ending into the same note).


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I used perc maps only for unpitched instrument, when the sounds are randomly spread across the keyboard. All vsl pitched perc work perfectly with x-maps.

Are Gongs working to you? They aren’t, here. My guess is that they are a particular case, when trying to use this pitched percussion instruments as an unpitched one, part of a percussion map.

  • The gongs are not on an ordinary staff, but on a percussion grid.

  • If I only add an expression map, no patch-change message is sent to VSL Vienna Instruments Pro. A B4 pitch is performed with each note and any technique.

  • If I add a percussion map, trying to use the kit notes as technique triggers, nothing plays.

I guess I need a hidden Gongs staff for playback, until a solution is found in Dorico.


I’ve just read your ideas about articulations… I think this is indeed how it’s implemented. It’s the percussion setting editor step. That is where you decide which articulation triggers which playback technique.
The next step is the percussion map, where you link the playback technique to your virtual instrument. These are the steps that decorrelate the notation from the playback, allowing much more power. I have the feeling though that you’ve already undersood that…

Marc, I think this is a different level of detail compared to what I was suggesting could be a nicer way of editing percussion maps.

The “Percussion Instrument Playing Techniques” is a great way to freely match notation with techniques. At the same time, I’m still not convinced that the next step (editing the percussion map in the “Percussion Maps” dialog) is the best way.

As it is now, you start from the percussion kit, and then match each key in the percussion kit to a playing technique. It makes no difference whether you had matched it with a particular notation symbol or not.

I would find more convenient, dealing with orchestral percussion and not with traditional rock kits, to start from the technique, and then match a degree in a percussion kit. The need of alternate key switches shows how you need workarounds to fill all the needs of an orchestral set. The expression map would be already a good match, provided it could add a note to play in addition to the control messages needed to select a playback technique.


I think that, if you are waiting for Dorico to redesign its percussion system to match your expectations (no matter how sensible), that change is not imminent.

A percussion sound file is no different from a flute file, except that the MIDI numbers match different instruments (drum, wood block, triangle) instead of different pitches of the flute–or different instances of a gong. You need to assign the five gongs before you can apply articulations or expressions to each instrument.

Not in this case: VSL VI Gongs are like a flute, in being different pitches of the same instrument laid out over the piano keyboard. The only difference with a flute is that here each pitch is also a different physical instrument, capable of only playing a single pitch.

However, when having to use them in Dorico, you have to treat one or more pitch as a separate instrument in a percussion kit. But you can’t, since a percussion grid seems not to be able to use expression maps, and this particular sound can’t be controlled with a percussion map.

The same applies to any percussive instrument that is not laid out over a percussion kit. I’m thinking to, for example, a whistle, or a prepared piano, or a tubular bell, used as a subset with a single pitch or just a few, shown on a single line or a percussion grid.

A generalized way of dealing with these case would allow for going over the limits of the percussion kit. Unless there is already a way to do it, and I simply can’t find a way.


Hi Paolo,
It really depends how you use the gongs. If you have a set of them and use them as pitch percussion, then they should be notated on a normal 5 line staves or even a grand staff. For this use, a normal x-map works perfectly, with program changes or KS to select the mallets.

If you use only one or two gongs in a percussion setup, then calling them up on a one line staff or a grid and indicating which pitches are required at the beginning of the score is perfectly all right and most important of all, clear for the player. I would then use a percussion map and transpose and limit the range of the patch to locate the sound I need on the midi pitch best suited for the map. If I needed more then one sound or even the same sound with different mallets, I would stack the same patch in the slots and once again transpose and limit the range of each patch so all the sounds needed are on different notes, thus making them reachable by a percussion map. At that point, it really doesn’t matter if, let’s say, C4 triggers a F2, since they are notated on a single line staff or a grid.
I’m writing this without being able to double check since I’m not in my studio, but this is how I remember setting them up.
Hope it helps,



You summarized it very well!

And yes, the idea of simulating a percussion kit with an ordinary preset in Vienna Instrument Pro is what I was planning. I have a maximum of 12 notes in the fake kit, but they should be enough. And different (locally edited) instances of the kits will give me the different pitches. Let’s try.

EDIT: Alas, it doesn’t work. Notes used as Keyswitches, in Vienna Ensemble Pro, can’t play. They are selected when a note is sent, but don’t play. The hidden ordinary staff seems to be the only solution.


Have you try using both expression map to trigger ks or pc and perc map to trigger the pitch?

Yes, but as far as I can see with a percussion kit only one of them is considered. Still, maybe there is something I’m not considering in making they work together.

I must add: this thing is becoming too complicate. It’s a very difficult time, and I would prefer to make music and notation, instead of configuring. I’ll therefore definitely opt for the fake-track workaround.


I really don’t have time now to run some test. But if doesn’t work with KS or PC, you should be able to stack the sounds you need in the slots. Using range limitation and transposition, you’ll end up with a single, non layered, instrument and its sounds should all be available with a Percussion map.