Microtuning of Pianoteq has stopped working in Dorico 5.3

Dorico has been giving me an unfortunate playback glitch involving “A natural” - none of the other letter names for notes, just A. This is only something I have found with using Pianoteq 8; Halion doesn’t seem to have this issue. I am using 5.1 on a MacBook Air. Also, who Dorico opens a document using Pianoteq, I still have to change midi tuning to “Yes” in the Pianoteq options upon starting up (it doesn’t stay microtuned by default) which is also new and annoying.

What happens is - when inputting A natural, Dorico ignores it in playback, even though the natural displays correctly and the display window at the bottom shows the right midi note. This means the note will look like A natural but play back as whatever A + accidental was modifying it last. So for example, if I have A + Gould arrow accidental down, and change it to A natural, it looks right but still plays back as A + Gould arrow accidental down. This is unacceptable for the work I am doing.

My current workaround is to create a fake natural that’s actually acting as an accidental, raising the note a very small amount. This only helps because my latest project for a client is in just intonation, and I am thus using 12,000-TET to approximate. Curiously, this has a hard limit with Pianoteq, and only kicks in at 11\12000th of an octave. In other words, if I make an accidental but it’s from 0\12000 to 10\12000, it acts just like the cursed natural and doesn’t modify the note. Having all the A naturals in my project here be 11\12000 too high is a decent workaround but it’s still a lot of worry (it being only 1.1 cents too high). Then I change these notes to A natural so that if it’s fixed, I don’t have to edit all of them.

A sample file is attached for you to play with.

If you create an A natural freshly when starting the document, it will be unsullied until you modify it with an accidental. Using “undo” does not revert it back to being “un-accidentaled.”

Resetting the playback templates, and/or re-loading the instruments, my two trusty tricks to help with this, don’t seem to have any impact.

I also tried this in some other tuning systems other than Just Intonation, and the problems certainly are strange. In their default 24-TET tuning with Gould arrows, each of the A accidentals seem to be a quartertone flat or something. In other xenharmonic tuning (such as 17-TET or 22-TET), the A naturals do modify the note but it only modifies to its intonation as it occurs in 12-TET.
sample document.dorico (987.4 KB)

I’ll bet this has something to do with Pianoteq’s A = 440 standard and Dorico’s A = 440 standard not communicating? Who knows. Any help is much appreciated.

Stephen Weigel
(host of the microtonal podcast Now and Xen, microtonal transcriber, arranger, composer, performer).

It looks like you’re using the “Default” expression map for your piano instrument. The “Microtonality playback” setting in this expression map is “Auto”, and I think that only recognises HALion and NotePerformer. You probably want to use a specific expression map for Pianoteq and set “Microtonality playback” appropriately - I believe the setting that Pianoteq needs is “Detune” although I don’t have it myself so I can’t check this.

That’s what I thought, too, but the Auto setting has worked with Pianoteq before - and changing the setting to Detune does not help.

Pianoteq’s tuning support is broken! Here’s an example of an even worse bug: Pianoteq doesn’t play Dorico’s quarter-tones at all. Again, Halion does.
pianoteq problem.dorico (441.1 KB)

Yup, it seems to be broken here also.


You could try using the “Pitch Bend” method instead, although obviously that won’t work with chords.

It works but a monophonic piano instrument is useless. In fact Pianoteq would support multichannel pitchbend tuning (MPE) but Dorico doesn’t.

Thanks for the tip Richard. I did try each of the expression map possibilities before I knew about what was going on exactly. Just tried them all again and that did not help. Going to download kaleva’s file to see what is going on there too.

What do you mean by “before”? In a different file? In a different version of Pianoteq? A different version of Dorico?

If there’s been a change of behaviour here, I think it’s more likely that it is a change in Pianoteq rather than a change in Dorico. Although we did fix a problem with microtonal pitches in Dorico 5.1.30, that affected the underlying pitch of the notes themselves, and didn’t have any impact on playback.

I just checked, and it works with Pianoteq 7 but not with Pianoteq 8 so I guess Modart changed something.


I had a quick look at the trial of Pianoteq 8 this morning, and it looks to me like there’s a “MIDI Tuning” control in the Pianoteq “Options” that you may need to enable:

That seems to be off by default. Perhaps it wasn’t in Pianoteq 7? Once you’ve turned that on, then using the “Detune” (or “Auto”) setting in the expression map seems to work.

No, that’s the same in Pianoteq 7 and 8 and it’s activated here but still doesn’t work in Pianoteq 8.

Edit, sorry now it seems to work
Edit 2. And now it’s gone again after playing back a few bars

I can hear the problem with Pianoteq 8 using the project at the top of this thread, but it plays the same way for me in Dorico 5.1.21 and even in Dorico 4, so it sounds like this is a problem with Pianoteq rather than Dorico.

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I can confirm that both Stephen’s file and the quarter-tone file I made play back correctly in Pianoteq 7 (with Detune as the microtuning method) but not in Pianoteq 8. I’m not 100% sure but I think I’ve successfully used Pianoteq 8 in a microtonal Tonality System before, so perhaps it’s one of the updates of 8 that introduced the problem. I’m using 8.2. I will report to the Pianoteq staff.

This is a problem in Pianoteq 8. I was in contact with their tech support and they acknowledged the bug - and already fixed it! They sent me a beta version to test, and both Stephen’s example and mine play back correctly. They will release 8.2.2. any day now.


Great to hear - thanks for letting us know.

Their team is pretty responsive too. Nice to know about 8.2.2. :pray:

Amazing! I’m going to download 8.2.2 as soon as possible then.

8.2.2 available now.


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