MIDI Channels (organ music)

I’ve been composing an organ duet. The music is done, also the layout stuff. More or less finished, that is. 14 pages.

My Dorico setup is two solo organ players = six staves. Dorico uses only one MIDI channel per one three-staff organ player = two channels all in all in this case. See the attached image MIDI_Channels_1.png.
Now I must start making a mockup in a DAW. As in real life with organ registrations, there should be SIX independent channels to assign six different organ instruments (“registrations”), when needed, to the six staves. See the attached image MIDI_Channels_2.png.
Is there a “direct” way to export a MIDI file from Dorico with six channels assigned? I know these things have been discussed already, but any news? I also know I could setup the score from scratch using six individual players with only one staff each (or something like that), but the piece being finished, it is now too late. Deadline approaching.

I, of course, can do this easily in my DAW by hand, but it takes a little bit of time, so a quicker way of assigning MIDI channels to each staff inside Dorico would be welcome. :slight_smile: Thank you.

I think Dorico has gone from one extreme to the other here.

First, there was one MIDI channel per voice, which was nice for monophonic instruments sharing a staff in the score, but useless in piano-roll view for keyboards.

Then Dorico changed to one MIDI channel per instrument, which is useless for monophonic instrument sharing a staff (except the bundled HALion samples don’t have independent orchestral instrument samples anyway!) and also useless for organ, two-manual harpsichord, etc.

IMO the minimum requirement for keyboards in general is one MIDI channel per staff.

IMO there should be an option to choose one channel per instrument, or per staff, or per voice, for each instrument in the flow.

Even better would be the ability to change MIDI channel in an expression map. With user defined playing techniques, that would handle a lot of situations nicely.

Even without user defined playing techniques, as a work round you could use some “irrelevant” techniques for the instrument and hide them - for example with a non-touch-sensitive keyboard instrument, you could map dynamics to different registrations, hide the dynamic mark in Dorico, and replace it with the text of the registration.

IN general, pipe organs are even more complicated, because you want the playback to include couplers between manuals and pedal (including octave and suboctave couplers), and also octave/sub-octave couplers (and “unison off”) to the same keyboard.

And the people who produce pipe organ samples have already found far too many incompatible ways to map all that onto MIDI commands…




What a great reply, Rob. Thank you. You covered many important issues in such a short(ish) message. Thank you so much again.

Great thoughts as always, Bob. But with Dorico’s unlimited voices, does it even have to be that advance? I mean - if we get the old 1-channel-per-voice back, you could just type into a new voice, rather than having the expression map changing your channel.
And since different staves on the same instrument already use different voices, the only thing missing (for me) is a per-staff switch that changes between 1.0 and 1.1 behavior.

In a keyboard part you often need several voices to notate different rhythms played by one hand on one keyboard. You don’t want those voices split into multiple channels for playback.

But for organ and harpsichord, you do want to change registrations on one staff as required.

Just to complicate even more things, organists can play on two keyboards with one hand at the same time, so you do sometimes want different voices on one staff to have different MIDI channels!

And personally, I wouldn’t want to keep track of using “different voices” for different registrations if there were 10 or more different registrations used on one staff of an organ score, in the course of a large piece. Not quite the criticism of Mozart for writing “too many notes,” but “too many colors”!!

Well, you could always assign both voices to the same channel.

And personally, I wouldn’t want to keep track of using “different voices” for different registrations if there were 10 or more different registrations used on one staff of an organ score, in the course of a large piece.

Of course not. Isn’t program change messages a suitable solution for different registrations? Altough I play some organ myself, I have never worked with it in a daw or scoring software, so I’m just curious :slight_smile:

True. That is how organists (well, including myself) are playing every day. So perhaps even more often than “only” sometimes, but still not all the time within one piece of music (or flow), we want different voices on one staff to have different MIDI channels. Poor Dorico. He (she?) has a lot to learn… :wink:

Brilliant, Rob. :slight_smile: Thank you.

Although this may be flirting with sacrilege, Finale has a very flexible way of assigning single or multiple sounds and MIDI channels to individual and grand staves. While Dorico’s different approach to voices will likely demand a different solution, I hope the Dorico Team will seek to approach the flexibility of the Finale solution in its own, Dorico, way.

The goal is ultimately to allow you to specify an independent endpoint (i.e. combination of VST instrument or MIDI port, channel and patch or set of patches reference by a VST Expression Map) for every voice on every instrument, but we’re some way off that at the moment.

That seems like one end of the solution covered. Then, “all” you need is the ability to create some arbitrary text (describing the registration) that appears in the score and triggers a playing technique which is not one in your Dorico’s list of “standard” techniques - (unless you want to add literally hundreds of organ registrations to that list, for every generic type of instrument that is still playable from 600 years old to 21st-century!)

This aspect would probably be addressed by having Playing Technique changes being an event in their own right which could be added in Play mode. We have the low level support for these events but no ability to create, display or edit them in the application as yet.