MIDI Import for Orchestra

Dorico 4.3.20

I created an orchestral mockup in a DAW (Cakewalk) using VSL instruments. I have saved a version as MIDI without keyswitches. There are multiple tracks in standard score order.

If I open this MIDI file in Dorico:
1-Can I (will I need to) tell it track 1 is single piccolo, track 2 is flute section, etc.? And will this be a big, difficult mess?
2-Percussion (timpani, xylophone, glock, cymbals, etc.) are between brass and strings, but there is no standard number of percussion tracks. Will that confuse things?
3-Harp is also typically between brass and strings. Problem?
4-Would it be easier to import one track at a time?
5-Finally–and sorry for the long post–ahould I just do what’s in my first point: load it all in as raw MIDI and then identify the tracks (players and sections)?

Many thanks, --Konrad

Hi @konradh,
Dorico 4 has, probably, the most advanced MIDI import systems out there.
Here is a video that explains very well how to use the Smart MIDI Import function in Dorico.
It gives many opportunities, just you need to find which one will fit your needs.

Dorico has Orchestral instruments ordering convention and it will put every instrument in it’s proper place.
Just be sure that the MIDI file exported from Cakewalk is quantized! This will make your life easier after the import. :slight_smile:

Best wishes,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

I’ll check it out–thanks!

And the MIDI will be quantized. :sunglasses:

I appreciate the kind support on this forum…


Great video!

Because of the way Vienna Symphonic works, all articulations for an instrument are in a single track, so that helps.

Follow-Up Questions:

  1. I’m not clear why Dorico needs to distinguish tracks as “player” or “section.” I understand picking a solo string or ensemble, for example, as the sound, but I don’t understand why a staff/part has to be called player or section.
  2. The video shows 4 horns in a MIDI track being split out on four staves… That’s fine, but most scores have the horns as two per staff to save vertical space (and to simplify when you have a2 or a4.) Is that an option?

Thanks again.

Look at Condensing, which combines like instruments onto shared staves for a conductor’s score.

I find it helpful to create an concert pitch uncompressed “Working Score” Layout as well a transposed and compressed “Conductor’s” Layout so I can switch easily between them.

Thank you, Derreck!

(My first Dorico project probably shouldn’t be a full symphonic piece, but that’s just how the schedule worked out.)

I’m still struggling a bit with “player” vs. “section.” Of course, I understand the difference in the real world between a single player and a section, but if I can assign Track 1 to a solo violin sound or violin section sample, why does Dorico care whether the track is called a player or a section? If this helps it automatically assign the right sample without my intervention, then I understand.

An individual Player can hold multiple instruments (think flute and piccolo) but cannot use divisi (physically impossible).

A section Player cannot switch off instruments but can divide into sub-sections (think violins or celli).

In addition to the explanation provided by @Derrek, assuming you have a Playback Template assigned, it does assign the correct instrument for playback as well.

Thanks everybody. This is bery helpful.