Marcato expression maps for HSO brass?

There are no expression maps for MARCATO accents with the HSO brass instruments. I tried to add this. I thought I was having some success. I added a marcato technique and this technique shows up on the PLAY display, so I know it is hooked in. Just to be certain, I chenged the transpose setting to 2 and the playback did raise the pitch a step.

The problem is that the interpretation if marcato in a jazz setting is normally a hard accent when a shortened note. I thought I could simply change the technique to length% 60 and velocity% 125. But when I enter those values, they are never saved and never used.

Actually, the note velocity will save as 125, but I don’t hear any difference in the playback. But it won’t save anything into the duration field, and always goes back to 100%

In the screen shot below, I tried playing the two keyswitches for staccato and accent, but that didn’t work either.

I know I can manually adjust the played length of notes in the PLAY window, but is there no way to define a proper marcato technique?

We provided some options for marcato playback in Play > Playback Options, on the Dynamics and Timing pages. I’d suggest you try adjusting those settings in the first instance.

The ‘Length’ and ‘Velocity’ options in the Expression Maps dialog are not yet wired up: these values are imported from Cubase expression maps but not yet used by Dorico. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Yes, that does help a bit. Thank you.

It does seem this will be confusing in the future if there are two different methods for doing the same thing (shaping the articulations). I assume the expression maps will be the more powerful option and more likely to be compatible with Cubase, so perhaps the other options should be deprecated at some point. I do believe this is the sort of thing that ultimately causes older software to become cumbersome. The user base loves to preserve the old options, but eventually this can make a real confusing mess.

The general concept for Dorico’s playback behaviours is that there is an automatic behaviour which can be configured via some simple global options, some automatic behaviour that will depend on the plugin you’re using (via Expression Maps) and then the ability to override the effect for every note (via the piano roll in Play Mode).

In this case, the playback options give some default note length or dynamic modifications for marcato, staccato, etc, but that may be overridden by the expression map, which may provide a different keyswitch which triggers an appropriate sample. If you still want to override the length or timing of a note then you can adjust it individually in play mode.

There necessarily have to be multiple levels of control because:

  • some users want something that ‘just works’ with no manual intervention
  • some users want to use HALion/NotePerformer/EWQL and have it use the right samples for each articulation
  • some users want to use a library that doesn’t have a dedicated staccato sample, and so rely on the fallback behaviour of shortening the note
  • some users want the option to tweak every note

Thanks for the explanation. It does make some sense. I do hope there is due consideration of the interaction among these various controls. Otherwise we could have the situation that evolved in Finale where there are now 4 different ways to modify tempo and they frequently collide, causing great frustration.

I would think, for example, that if there is an expression map that governs an articulation (Marcato in this example), then the PLAY preferences should be ignored. They should not be combined, in other words. Naturally if somebody wants to tweak individual notes (length and/or velocity), then the starting point should be the preferences or expression map (if present), but once tweaked, those other controls should have no further effect on the tweaked notes. I believe this is what you are saying.

This would create a situation where a person could obtain reasonable results when using a combination of synths/instruments that have expression maps and those that have no maps.

Getting this all into a documented form that will be generally understandable will be a challenge. This can be helped if the PLAY preferences pages include a brief comment about how the preferences interact with other mechanisms, and perhaps have a url link to the relevant documentation page.

It is certainly the intention that Play Mode tries (as far as is possible) to show the effect of what is happening automatically, but that if you edit the value (eg note start time and length) then that will ensure that it is excluded from other phases that would change that value. One illustration of this is if you import a MIDI file and check the option to preserve note timing then you’ll see those shown in Play Mode and the timing options won’t have any effect.