Latin Percussion

Wishing for more capable, and more expansive, Latin percussion. I hope this is part of the plan for the near future.

Can you give some more details about the kind of things you’re after?

I’m sure one can purchase a sound set that has lots of Latin percussion in it. I doubt any expansion to the HALion sounds will be forthcoming, although Dorico may allow more access via Grove Agent SE

I do a lot of Latin Jazz work, and have quite a few libraries that work well with Dorico:

  1. If you have the full version of Kontakt, SA! Bongos & Congas is super cheap right now ($15), has a good selection of sounds and grooves. Since Dorico can easily trigger a sample now (tempo changes are an issue though), you can easily trigger one of their sample grooves straight from D5 too. Obviously the full version of Kontakt is not cheap if you don’t already own it.

  2. VSL’s Synchron Orchestral Percussion III collection has a pretty full collection of Latin Percussion for Afro-Cuban stuff (and some Brazilian) and is reasonably priced at €75 if you don’t need all the additional mic placements. (Full version €135) VSL’s stuff works well with Dorico although you’ll likely need to make percussion maps for many of the instruments. I can’t remember which ones I’ve already done.

  3. If you own EZDrummer already, the Latin Cuban Drums and Latin Cuban Percussion expansion sets are both good too and are played by Robby Ameen and Richie Flores. Unless you need them immediately, you can wait until they have a sale as they are discounted often enough.

  4. Handy Drums Latin Percussion & Drums library is pretty cheap ($49), sounds good, and doesn’t require additional sampler software. It’s not as full featured as some others, as you can’t play grooves directly in its software, but it’s pretty straightforward to map with Dorico. It’s a pretty good sounding complete set of instruments for Afro-Cuban stuff, but not for Brazilian. Hand drum techniques are somewhat limited though, as Quinto, Conga, and Tumba just have Open and Mute techniques.

Obviously there are lots of others too, but those are libraries I have experience with so could answer any questions if you have any. Most of my percussion maps are in a half-done state though LOL, as I’ve usually done whatever I needed for a job and never got around to completing them.


Thanks man. I do own the full Kontakt along with sone other libraries. How do you get the Latin percussion to annotate properly on the staff, (staves). I’ve had to use finale when I need Latin percussion. I would rather use Dorico.
Thanks again.

The Percussion Map is the Dorico feature that connects the VST library to the percussion instruments that you’ve set up in your project. There are a bunch of videos, like this one, that explain how all that works. It is one of the more complicated features of Dorico so it is worth it to invest some time and effort to figure out how to create a custom Percussion Map the first time you do it.

As an example, here’s part of a page from SA! Bongos that shows how it is set up:

If you wanted to program a RH thumb hit on the Macho, you would need to configure that in both your Percussion Kit and your Percussion Map. In the Percussion Kit with the Bongo (High) selected, hit Edit Percussion Playing Techniques, then add a Technique for RH Thumb. (If it doesn’t appear as an option, you can create it in Library / Playing Techniques.) Pick a Notehead Set for it if you want a specific note shape for that sound.

Now you need to connect that notehead to the sound in the VST. You’ll do that with the Percussion Map. That sound is on F2, so in your new Percussion map, you’ll map F2 to be that RH Thumb sound using the Playing Technique you assigned to that instrument in your Percussion Kit. Assign SA! Bongos to that instrument in Play and make sure to use your new Percussion Map. Now whenever you have the RH Thumb technique in your score, Dorico knows to point it to that sound using the Percussion Map.

Creating comprehensive maps can be a bit time consuming, but it’s easy to Export and Import them once you have them set up, so you only really need to do it once. In all honesty, most of the time I’m writing for very experienced pros, who aren’t going to want to read that anyway, so I usually have a part where everything is visually correct the way the player wants to see it, and the another hidden one for playback. The hidden part is often more for myself to make sure I don’t write anything cross, LOL! As I don’t care what the hidden part looks like, if I don’t want to bother with the map, I’ll just input the notes in a bass clef and not worry about it. That’s why my own maps are a mess and in various stages of completion!

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