How does pitch bend work in 3.5?

I’ve sought documentation, no luck so far.

Previously, the Pitch Bend controller was ranged -100 to 100, intuitively as a directional percentage of the maximum count of semitones to which the VST was set. So, if I wanted bend, say, three semitones, I would calculate 3 ÷ [maximum VST semitone bends], then plot a point at that percentage. This worked perfectly.

Now, though, the Pitch Bend lane (as opposed to the new, additional “MIDI Pitch Bend” controller) has apparently been set to a two-octave semitone range, -12 to 12. (I’m not messing with the “MIDI Pitch Bend” at all, since it isn’t even possible to establish two consecutive linear transitions on that lane; any attempt to do so forces one of them into a step transition. I’m happily ignoring this controller until I’m informed that I cannot.)

What are Dorico’s designers’ intentions, here? Is it really a good idea to force the user into much coarser pitch bend control? What if I want to bend to a quarter tone, how am I supposed to do that, now? What, reduce my pitch bend range in the VST, which is potentially an unacceptable trade-off?

Also, how am I supposed to set up my VST to accommodate this new design? I can’t figure out the correlation between the maximum semitone range in my VSTs and the values on the Pitch Bend lane; the VST values apparently act as some kind of magnifier, but the correlation is inconsistent between VSTs. A pitch bend limit of one semitone seems to work for Kontakt samples, but not for EastWest samples, which yield a much smaller bend at that value.

Should I even be using Pitch Bend? Is “MIDI Pitch Bend” the real counterpart of the old “Pitch Bend” lane? Because if it is, then as I wrote above, I’m not able to lay down two consecutive (i.e. sharing a vertex) linear transitions.

This thread would seem to indicate that the new MIDI Pitch Bend directly replaces the old Pitch Bend lane, but doesn’t correctly migrate pitch bend data that was saved in Dorico 3.1 files.

The idea here is to have a distinction between an abstract notion of pitch bend, and then the concrete data actually output to the device, like the abstraction between the dynamics lane and (say) CC1. But there’s something not quite right about it, which Paul is going to have a look at as soon as possible. Sorry for the inconvenience in the meantime.

Right, I saw that thread. So, unless I’m mistaken about consecutive linear transitions being impossible, I won’t be able to achieve the pitch bend playback that my score requires. (At least, not in Dorico 3.5.) :unamused:

OK, sounds like I should indeed be modifying the MIDI Pitch Bend lane, which is broken. Thanks for the confirmation.

To expand on Daniel’s comment above: the Pitch Bend lane is calibrated in semitones, and was added for playback of guitar bends. The guitar events are translated to MIDI Pitch Bend events, which have the range of +/- 100%. This feature isn’t yet complete, as one of the missing parts is the setting of pitch bend range so that you can play back bends of greater than a whole tone. The ultimate intention for this is that you’ll be able to control pitch effects in a similar way to dynamics, ie using musical units that are a higher level of abstraction over the actual MIDI events. As Daniel notes though, there’s something about data in older projects that isn’t migrated correctly which is on my list to look at.

MIDI Pitch Bend +100% reaches one octave higher, and -100% one octave lower.
That means a semiton pitch bend is 8.3333…% and it can not correctly be controlled, but it is also hardly to recognisable.

So we can use the following values:

+12: 100.0%
+11: 92.0%
+10: 83.0%
+9: 75.0%
+8: 67.0%
+7: 58.0%
+6: 50.0%
+5: 42.0%
+4: 33.0%
+3: 25.0%
+2: 17.0%
+1: 8.0%
0: 0.0%
-1: -8.0%
-2: -17.0%
-3: -25.0%
-4: -33.0%
-5: -42.0%
-6: -50.0%
-7: -58.0%
-8: -67.0%
-9: -75.0%
-10: -83.0%
-11: -92.0%
-12: -100.0%

I hope the range would not be changed in any future version of Dorico.

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