How to use key switches


I am new to Dorico and still evaluating Elements 3.
East West has recently published Voices of the Opera, which I am using. The key switch enabled soprano uses C0-E0.
A post I found suggested that I create an instrument on which I can input the key switch notes and assign the same VST.
Now, I have two staves, one with the soprano’s line and the other with a key switch on every note.
It didn’t work for me.

If this is not the right way to do what I need, and if not, how should this be approached?

Thank you,


Welcome to the forum, Alex. You shouldn’t need to create separate staves to include keyswitches: define an expression map to trigger the keyswitches instead in Play > Expression Maps based on the capabilities of the library.

Thank you for the quick, response, Daniel!

EastWest’s key switches for the instrument I use trigger the singing of syllables, not articulations.
The expression map editor, understandably, has only the latter.
Is there some way of being able to create a “user defined” articulation for a case such as mine? Or is there one already and I cannot see it?

Nonetheless, just to try things out, I mapped Zing, Zing(fast) and Zing(slow) to C0, C#0, and D0. Under VST instruments I changed the expression map to my newly created one, Voices of the opera.

I then went back to my score, selected a note, pressed shift-P and typed in Zing; pressed enter and there was not text. Indeed, the Playing Techniques in Play showed only Natural. What have I done wrong? Thank you!


See this tutorial:

From your description, I think you added some new Playback Playing Techniques to your EW expression map, but you didn’t create new Playing Techniques that you can put in your score to use those Playback Playing Techniques.

It might seem a bit pointless that you have to create a Playing Technique called Zing which is recognized when your type zing in the popover, and which displays the text “Zing” in the score and also calls up a Playback Playing Technique also called Zing, but in the general case the four things might have different names.

Also, note that if you are creating a completely new Expression Map, you always need to define the Natural playing technique (which probably resets things back to a default state) otherwise playback probably won’t work the way you want.

Thank you, Rob!
After watching the video, even though it is for Dorico 2, I began to suspect that the problem has to do with Elements versus Pro.
So I downloaded the trial Pro version, and indeed I was able to do what I needed to.
Indeed, the comparison chart at shows that Elements has only 220 preset techniques and only Pro has customizable ones.
Oh well …

You are right, Dorico 3 Elements doesn’t have the editing icons in the Playing Techniques panel.

Oh well. At least the question is now answered, even if it’s not the answer you wanted.

You can edit Expression Maps in Elements, and therefore hijack the predefined playing techniques to do something different, but of course that isn’t going to be very practical because the names of the techniques in your score won’t match what they do.