While Dorico is excellent for writing microtonal notation with playback, for making electronic music using MIDI software and hardware instruments, it’s far from ideal. Many microtonal musicians would like to write the music in notation software first, and then export it to software and hardware instruments, and a DAW for processing and mastering. Dorico uses VST2 or VST3 parameters for microtonal playback. These are not exported with a midi file. And even if they were, the only DAW that has an editor for them, Cubase, cannot handle the same precision as Dorico, so a lot of tuning information would be lost. It is not possible to edit micro-tuned pitch in Cubase with the same precision as in Dorico, even with identical VST instruments that support such precision! (Cubase deals with 1 cent increments, Dorico with less than 0.1 cents).
To use these instruments for microtonal electronic music, one would have to stay in Dorico for all MIDI edits and only export audio tracks for audio processing and editing in a DAW.
Moreover, only a handful of high-quality VST instruments (by Steinberg) implement these parameters, very few third-party instruments (such as Modart Pianoteq), and no hardware instruments. The fact is that for making microtonal electronic music, instruments that use either MIDI notes tuned with multi-channel pitch bend, or MPE, or 128 notes per channel pre-tuned with .tun, MTS., propriety methods, .scl etc., are widely used and continue to be so for a long time.
The highest-quality microtonal synths use these methods, not VST parameters (yet?).
What is the future of the VST tuning method in Dorico?
- Will it become possible to export micro-tuned MIDI files from Dorico to Cubase with the tuning intact?
- Will it become possible to extract the VST tuning parameter values from Dorico-exported MIDI files and translate it to other tuning protocols, like it’s now easy to translate .tun files to .scl or pitch-bend-tuned MIDI to .scl etc.?
- Will Dorico implement other tuning methods? In the MIDI editor there’s a lane for pitch bend but its editing precision seems limited, and it’s awkward in use.