I'm *this* close to calling it quits just because the hell that is percussion playback

Here’s a goal: Take a fresh Dorico Pro 3.5 with the bundled Halion Sonic 3 SEs VSTs. Start with playback template HSSE+HSO.

Add tambourine. Let’s say we use Tambourine Combi Key program/instrument, which clearly has a shake sound in B3. Now give me step-by-step instruction on how to get that to playback in normal write mode playing. HSO Tambourine percussion map does not seem to do anything except play the default natural sound.

I was hoping to get some composing done and I’m on verge of a breakdown because of how much time this has taken. All the back and forth and clicking Setup, instrument, caret, edit noteheads, choose techniques in several different ways, see duplicate ones and don’t know which one is which, then try to write it out, then Play and try to figure out how exactly does the program know to call that B3, since I have nowhere seen the link between the note and that midi note, try to remember what you set in the setup dialogue, so close everything and go back there…

The add percussion → call a sound in vst pathway is lateral, it doesn’t obey the otherwise understandable tabs in Dorico. You’re forced to go back and forth in multiple menus with hundreds of clicks and can’t have this flow information in one place. I’ve been up all night anxious for one effing tambourine shake. And this is with the years of experience on Dorico pretty much since it launched. This night was not the first night being stuck in playback. I can certainly start counting those hours very concretely in money and therapy hours.

A story in pictures before I end up making a video where I can’t help myself just getting angry any longer:

Why are there two indistinguishable Shake techniques? Are they hard-coded?

Guitar shake is a thing, but what’s the other one, then? Why can’t the lists differentiate that from other shakes? There is no shake in the unpitched percussion technique tab:

The default, I’d-expect-it-to-work HSO Tambourine percussion map has wrong notes that clash with what are available when you look at the VST:

Okay lemme then just copy the HSO Tambourine map and fix the notes. But choosing that wrong shake roll (is it the Shake, a shake, just a label, what is it?) and pressing Clear does nothing. The line selection just jumps one item up in the list.

Okay, I guess the extra Shake at C5 (which doesn’t exist in the vst) can just be a dummy. C4/normal doesn’t exist either. I’ll just make new entries then for natural and shake. Wait, why do I have to keep telling Dorico that it’s Tambourine for every single line, when I have already chosen above that this is about a single instrument.

Finally, I ca– OH GOD NO

I’ve been searching for answers, googled so much, and best stuff are random forum posts from 2019 (How does mapping work?), and the unintuitiveness people were complaining back then is still here. Read so many manual/documentation pages, which are often out-of-date and I don’t have some of the options they mention (e.g. Edit Playing Techniques dialog). Where’s the border between technique and expression? Which of these are hardcoded? What is that list you need to pick stuff from. Is some hard-coded master list or does it include user-added ones? I have no clue, and then in every dialogue where I have to pick something, I don’t know what I’m looking at. (I remember there being two Open techs for hi-hat and then something else and these were indistinguishable as well, but at least one of them was visible with a glyph and the tooltips told you which one it was. Not here. And is that fixed yet?)

I often feel like Dorico is the worst best program ever. It’s amazing, I praise it to everyone, brings notation and modern DAW working together… but then it just fails at normal-sounding stuff. I really want to love this, but can’t. I just want to play some percussions. I’ve done professional QA especially on UI/UX side before, but I’m losing it with this. The expected workflow is all over the place… I feel bad for being this emotional over it and not able to file proper bug reports and plan proper testing scenarios, but I need this to just please work.

Hi JoonasD6 !
I’d say you’ve waited too long before you wrote this post. Don’t let anger take you before you ask here, just ask when you need (and after you’ve done some searching but are not satisfied).
And sleep at night while you can (if you still don’t have children. And even more so if you have!)
You’re right that something is wrong with the Tambourine Combi key instrument : the rolls start are G3-C4, and normal are C3-F3. There’s another tambourine instrument, Tambourine combi KS, with a C0 key-switch for roll, and F#0 for natural.
You are also right that the percussion map for tambourine makes no sense in that regard. What I would do is correct the perc map so that it works with the Combi key (change C5 to G4 or G3, depending the standard used, those vary from brand to brand). This is something that should be corrected by someone at Steinberg’s, when they have the time.

Use ctrl-click to copy the line and paste it like in the picture.
Then, in setup mode, edit the perc settings : I simply add an entry with three strokes but of course you can do otherwise (change the notehead or use another articulation) that triggers the shake playback technique. Note that I do not have two of those in my list, so I have no clue as to why you do have two.

I hope it helps. I has taken me less than 10 min to figure this out, so ask earlier in the process :wink:

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Sorry to hear you’ve found yourself looking at old documentation. The /v2/ in that URL tells you that this page is from the Dorico Pro 2 manual.

The overall link to the latest English manual (for Dorico 3.5, as it is today on 21st June 2021) is here. You can use the search bar at the top to search only the manual you’re looking at. If you prefer to search online using an external search engine, both the look of dialogs in screenshots and the version number in the URL can both suggest that you’ve found yourself on an older version. The manuals team is also looking into ways of making it more obvious when this happens and link you directly to the latest version.

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