Integration of Third-Party orchestral VST Articulations


I use MuseScore to compose orchestral pieces and I’m looking to integrate another orchestral library, notably Spitfire’s BBCSO. My goal is to assign the correct articulations to a track containing various types of notes (legato, staccato, pizzicato, accented, tremolo, etc.).

I’m aware that it’s possible to export my scores as MIDI or XML to Cubase, but this poses problems, including data loss and the complexity of articulation assignment.

More specifically, here are my questions:

How can compositions created in MuseScore be exported to Cubase while preserving as much data as possible, including articulations and nuances (besides audio export)?

Are there features or tricks to simplify the process of assigning articulations from third-party libraries like BBCSO?

Is there a plugin similar to NotePerformer (or what MuseScore offers with its own MuseSounds), that allows for easy integration of other orchestral libraries?

Thank you in advance for your help, advice, and suggestions!


This is what I want from Cubase x Dorico integration.


A lot depends on what you actually aim to accomplish within Cubase when taking data from MuseScore or Dorico. This is something that I do all the time - I love to work with symphonic scores and study them.

If you don’t intend to play much with the score view within Cubase, you could simply export as MIDI from MuseScore and bring that into Cubase. It will have all your articulation key switches already embedded in the MIDI. However, the score view will see the key switches as notes, a bit of an annoyance, but it will play correctly.

I don’t find myself often needing automation when working with the symphonic stuff that I get from the MuseScore website - most times I will export as Musicxml and import into Dorico for minor edit/correction to get the performance I want. I’ll then export a stereo master from Dorico and send that straight to Wave Lab for final mastering.

If I do feel the need to do some mixing/automation for some special need, then I’ll export all the instruments or sections individually as audio and bring all that into Cubase for mixing before sending it off to WaveLab for finals.

If you import into Cubase via Musicxml, you’ll have a lot of cleanup work to do - Cubase does not recognize textual dynamics and such - you have to fix those up. You’ll also need to setup articulation/expression maps as well. For these reasons, I avoid bringing in scores directly to Cubase. I stick to audio, or MIDI if I must.

I once imported Holtz’s ‘The Planets’ via MusicXML into Cubase - this is before I purchased Dorico. It was a herculean effort just to correct everything the import missed. It took several weeks to finish the thing.

I found later on it is a whole lot easier to just work with a dedicated Score editing program, but at the time, MuseScore had horrible audio.

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Thank you very much for your help! Let me give you a bit more detail about my situation.

Currently, I compose on MuseScore using MuseSounds, which allows me to achieve a good portion of the desired final result. However, I’m looking to gain even more precise control, hence my interest in BBCSO. The idea isn’t so much to modify the score itself, but rather to transpose my compositions onto the BBCSO sounds, which offer superior sound quality and a greater variety of articulations.

Unfortunately, BBCSO doesn’t integrate smoothly with MuseScore, so I need to use Cubase to achieve my goals. I’ve tried exporting to XML and MIDI from MuseScore to Cubase, but I encountered data loss issues in both cases. I’ve taken note of your recommendation not to use the XML format in this situation.

I’ve also just tested converting audio to MIDI with Variaudio in hopes of preserving the rhythm and reducing data loss, but the results were disappointing in terms of precision.

I was hoping to avoid having to play or manually create and assign each articulation to already-written notes, but it seems inevitable :frowning:

I’m extremely grateful for your help and advice. If you have any further suggestions on how to optimize this process, I’m all ears!

I understand your situation.

The one part of MuseScore that I don’t understand is how it handles articulations to VST’s when rendering audio, including using MuseSounds. I haven’t found any obvious place of documentation on it, anywhere. Of course, if you stick to just using MuseSounds, you’ll get (mostly) correct output.

In Dorico, it’s quite clear how it handles articulations during playback. There’s an entire page of configuration option that you can override for things like staccato, legato and such that apply to any library. Then there’s expression mapping where you can specify whether dynamics input is via a CC or velocity, key switches to select articulations, i.e. sustain, vibrato, con sordino, marcato, pizzicato, col legno, etc. - whatever your library supports. Most importantly - Dorico will allow you to define a new articulation, very handy when coming acrost an obscure one that it doesn’t already know about.

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Thank you for your insightful message and recommendation to try Dorico. I’ve installed it and will now attempt to manage articulations with its features. Your guidance is greatly appreciated!