Is it possible to set a piano sound for default sound? (Newbie)

Is it possible to set a piano sound for default sound? At present when I have tried to create my own lead sheet, on playback, Dorico is giving me a Halion choir sound. I would much prefer my default sound to be a piano of my own choosing (TruePiano). Is this possible please?


Sure, there are a few ways to do it. In Preferences/Play/Playback Template you can specify the Playback Template that will automatically be applied to your files. For example, I have a custom one that has all the sounds I typically use already configured. Using New/Lead Sheet assumes it’s a voice, which isn’t a very useful assumption IMO. I virtually never start from a New file, and always start from one of my own defaults, which already have the sounds configured too. My basic default is just a treble clef sketch staff that has my piano sound loaded. If that’s something you use a lot, you might want to try that too.

Not really grasping the Dorico term “voice” yet. When I created my lead sheet it gave me a “Full score” and a “Voice”.
I think this is setting me up as default for more than one instrument, which is not what I need at the mo. I think I can delete one or the other and just work with say “Voice” . Is this correct?

In a multi instrument composition I assume the score is all instruments vertically displayed, perhaps with custom modifications for conductor’s benefit, then the “voice” (s) would be individual instruments (piano, flute etc) and editing those would in some cases alter both the score and the voice (e.g. piano) , or in other cases print only to the player’s part (e.g. some instruction specific to the trumpet, but not required to be seen in the composer’s score).

Is this how it works?

thank you


If you’re starting from New from Template / Solo / Lead Sheet then yes, Dorico will give you both a layout for Full Score and a Layout for Voice. It may be unnecessary for you to have both of these layouts, but as Dorico can’t know if you’re planning on adding more instruments later, it goes ahead and sets up a score which will contain all instruments, and a part for just the Vocal staff. If you really only need one, as is common for a lead sheet, solo piano, etc., then yes you can delete one of these layouts.

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Thanks for the input Fred (et al). Looking at your previous answer, I have found the possible default playback templates. One is called HSSE + HSO (Halion Sonic + Halion Symphonic) the others are varients of this or silence.
Don’t yet know how to create a new template. Will research. What I seek is a way to have ALL my pianos in all projects to be the one I specify globally.

At present I am a novice, so am experimenting by recreating a jazz standard for solo piano. I am confident that I will never, ever, want to use the default piano, in any setting.

In the future: I have hundreds of VSTs.

I have several orchestras and classical instrument VSTs plus for example all of Spectrasonics, various synths (about twenty) and lots of other sounds. I have them all folderised in a custom template in Cubase 12. There is well over a thousand tracks. I load this template, then cull what is unecessary for a piece - this way I can audition all from my library then select the articulation or sound I need for each instrument.
Strings for example, I might have about a hundred different violin sounds - divided into solo and section folders, then subfolders according to need.

Not too sure if this will all be of any use in Dorico. I just played back the notation from the First Steps tutorial, although the notation is correct, pleasing and detailed, the actual performance is horrible - computer muzak facimile -UGHH! . Not too sure how I will get around this. It’s always an issue for me as I am not composing for live insturments at the moment. it also hurts my ears and stifles creative juices.
In Cubase notation there is a concept called Display Notation, which allows you to perform in a piece with latitude and then simplify it for the page. This was quite (not totally) effective to my ears.
All this is a bit advanced for me at the present, I am not even sure how I shall be inputting. I can play the piano keys fluently, so live performance is probably better than inserting notation stepwise. Would appreciate your views on this, so I can tailor my learning goals.


Me too!

You may want to consider hosting them outside of Dorico. This can speed things up when switching files, and can allow you to have your most used sounds set up and ready to go, provided you have the RAM and CPU to leave them loaded and residing in the background. Many people around here, myself included, use Vienna Ensemble Pro for this. Just something to maybe consider if you have a lot of libraries that you use.

NotePerformer. There is a free demo available.

It’s not perfect, but it is remarkable. for its low cost and its capabilities.

Just visited the site but could not find out what Note Performer actually does? weird. I have a few terrabytes of samples.

So Fred - you host them outside Dorico - in my case in Cubase? But then what, How? I kept asking Daniel Spreadbury about integration with Cubase early on. hwe said “not yet”, but I have not heard major news. So far I simply do not get how one would go about external hosting


I expect that’s why they have a demo.

No, you wouldn’t host them in Cubase but in VEPro. Dorico (or Cubase) would then connect to VEP. This might not be a useful workflow for you (and you’d obviously have to purchase VEP), but I just leave VEP running in the background pretty much all the time with all my usual VSTs loaded, that way I don’t have to waste time with Dorico loading them when I open or switch files. I have 128gb of RAM, so leaving them in VEP isn’t an issue for me from that standpoint.

As Derrek recommended, Noteperformer is a very cost effective way to get pretty decent orchestral sounds out of Dorico. It isn’t very well suited for jazz or commercial stuff IMO.

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I already own VEP, I removed it from my master template as it was redundant after Cubase could disable tracks. My Master template has all my sounds, categorised and with all exp-ression maps written - all color coded - a lot of work. It’s over1800 tracks. It has a small footprint as all tracks are disabled. My current PC has 64 gig of RAM.
Still not seeing the gist of how to use multiple sample banks with Dorico, but it’s early in my learnnig curve. I suppose you just load everything into Dorico’s “sequencer” on the Play tab?


Have you seen this? It’s for 3.5 but identical to Dorico 4 AFAIK

[Playback templates]

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Yes - AND as @ebrooks says, tell Dorico how to trigger the sounds you want. This is why you need to understand Playing Techniques, Playback Techniques, Expression Maps and Endpoints. (Though Pianos usually work as-is)

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Thank you for these replies. I think I shall leave this a while until I master the basic interface - entering notes and symbols etc… Nearly finished my first lead sheet. I must say Dorico is astoundingly good. Very impressive useability, coding and architecture.

If you want to try lots of different VSTs, I also suggest hosting outside of Dorico - and any DAW is fine. Use MIDI out from Dorico tracks, and some computer-based internal MIDI (Mac calls it IAC in the audio/midi preferences). Then you can mute / unmute tracks in your DAW to quickly audition different sounds. Essentially you’re using Dorico as the MIDI sequencer and the DAW as an outboard instrument rack.