MIDI Playback

While I appreciate the integration with the HALion library, and the work on supporting VST2 instruments, I think there are a number of people who are anxiously waiting for support for MIDI output–playback driven by Dorico, sending MIDI output to another application that produces sound.

This is particularly important for users of Hauptwerk’s virtual organ software. There are rumors that somebody, somewhere, has managed to get Hauptwerk to function as a VST2. But that’s…insufficient. The VST2 interface gives you two-channel (stereo) output–when Hauptwerk itself is capable of 64 channels of audio output. (My church sanctuary is somewhat small, so we only use 10 channels of audio output–larger Hauptwerk installations use many more.)

Hauptwerk is driven by MIDI–from keyboards and pedal on a console, or from a MIDI-capable application. For a three-manual organ, with pedals, the application will send the Pedal staff on channel 0, the Great staff on channel 1, the Swell staff on channel 2, the Choir staff on channel 3, etc.

Sending a given MIDI NoteOn message from an application is identical to pressing a key on the console manual. By the very nature of the organ, that might make a single pipe sound–or it may make four, eight, ten, or more pipes sound. With couplers (so, for instance, a note played on the Pedal division is also routed to the Great keyboard) even more pipes can sound from a single MIDI NoteOn/NoteOff event.

Part of the genius of Hauptwerk is the ability to distribute the pipes in an organ rank across many audio channels, minimizing the sound wave distortion caused by playing multiple notes through the same speaker. If you play back through two speakers, you hear a recording of an organ. If you play back through 16 instruments, with ranks distributed across 16 studio monitors, you hear the instrument–the difference is breathtaking.

I’m using Sibelius 7.1.3 to do playback today–I’d really, really love to work with Dorico instead. Is there any hope that we might be able to do MIDI playback sometime soon?


I absolutely agree that MIDI OUT should be made available, the sooner the better.

However, Hauptwerk (HW) always runs standalone, which means that the provided VST link is a bit more flexible than most. You can load the HW 64bit VST in Dorico (just add it to the whitelist), and use it to transmit MIDI to HW, but you don’t have to use it to transmit Audio back to Dorico. In HW you can set the audio output to be routed directly to any channel of a multichannel audio interface.

On the other hand, Dorico will need a couple of other features in order to tackle organ writing. An organ should not be treated as a single instrument, but rather as a family of instruments, with each division (Great, Swell, Pedal etc.) available as “single instruments” in that family. Also, one would need a way to specify custom playing techniques, in order to cater for registrations, couplers etc. etc. Although this, to a large extent, is already possible by workarounds and by hacking the instruments.xml file, it should be officially available in order to attract professional organists and composers…

Dear fratveno,

I am amazed at your depth of knowledge on so many issues!

Thanks for you continued insights, help, and suggestions. :slight_smile:

Thanks, musicmaven, for the kind words. Despite some lacking features, I’ve turned into a Dorico addict already :slight_smile:

We do plan to add MIDI output soon. I’m afraid it won’t be in the forthcoming 1.0.30 update, but we may be able to get it implemented in the following update. I can’t promise it, however.

Thanks for your reply. How do i add Hauptwerk to the whitelist?

Has the most recent update improved the process beyond “find the first unclaimed UUID on the list and attempt to link it to your VST”? I attempted that (and I wrote a detailed tutorial on linking Sibelius and Hauptwerk, so I’m not incapable) and never got it to work.

Any pointers to a more successful approach?

It became much easier. Still, the FAQ is outdated but will get updated soon.

Here in short:

  • Find the installation name of the Hauptwerk plug-in. (don’t know, e.g. hauptwerk_x64.vst)
  • Add that name to the whitelist without the ending .vst
  • Add 32 Zeros on a new line
    – So in my example, add these 2 lines to the whitelist


  • Then delete the file Defaults.xml of the audio engine, to be found in
    C:\Users<yourname>\AppData\Roaming\Steinberg\VSTAudioEngine_64 on Win or
    /Users//Library/Preferences/VSTAudioEngine on Mac
  • Restart Dorico
  • In Dorico, add an organ player to your score, the default HALion sound will get loaded and used.
  • Go to Play Mode, on the right bottom click the plus sign to add an instrument.
  • Choose from the dropdownlist Hauptwerk
  • On the left side, unfold the organ player and assign the Hauptwerk instance to it.

Further to Ulf’s info above, in order to utilize HW in a meaningful way, it’s not practical to add an organ player, since Organs in HW expect each division (manual) to be associated with it’s own Midi channel, and there is no way to change the output Midi channel of a staff in the middle of a flow in Dorico (yet), that is, without switching instruments.

What I have done is to add 2 players, one containing 3 piano (grand) staves, one for each division/manual needed, e.g. Great, Choir, Swell, in the example file attached (renamed) I, II and III, and one player containing a cello staff, renamed Ped. In Layout options staves are set to hide when empty.

In Play mode, output is routed thus: Pedal (Midi ch.1), man I to ch.2, man II to ch.4 and man. III to ch.3. There is a custom Expression map attached to channel 1, which is just an example of how one can move the registration stepper in HW forwards and backwards.

FWIW, the Hauptwerk VST name is: HauptwerkVSTLink-64bit (at least on Windows)
Also, the most reliable folder to place it in seems to be: Program Files>Common Files>VST2 (Windows)
HWinDor.rar (119 KB)

In due course you will be able to change the endpoint (in your case, MIDI channel and/or MIDI port) using VST Expression Maps, so you’ll be able to change MIDI channel mid-way through a staff by entering the appropriate playing technique.

That is excellent! And we need a way to accomodate playing on several manuals simultanously, some of which may need a grand staff as well… that’s why it’s important to have a greater flexibility regarding the number of staves and grouping of same (as has been discussed before) … e.g.:

I am a Hauptwerk 4 and Dorico 1.2.10 user, and I have attempted to get Hauptwerk to work with Dorico, but I haven’t been able to. I have tried the suggestions on the Knowledgebase article, and on this forum post, but I can’t get Dorico to whitelist Hauptwerk.

So far, I have tried putting the “vst2Whitelist.txt” file in the “VSTAudioEngine” folder, with the name “Hauptwerk AU/VST Link,” in the file, both alone and with 32 zeroes afterwards. I have also tried deleting the 3 "VST2xplugin” files the knowledgebase recommended, as well as the “Defaults.xml” file recommended in this forum post, but so far nothing works. It’s possible I’m not naming the Hauptwerk VST right, but I can’t find the .vst file for Hauptwerk on my computer. I’m running Mac OSX 10.13.6. Any suggestions would be helpful.

Welcome to the forum, Larason. In Dorico 1.2.10 you shouldn’t need the 32 zeroes after the name of the plug-in, but you do need to make sure that the plug-in name is correct. I expect Hauptwerk is located in /Library/Audio/Plug-ins/VST. You need the name of the plug-in minus its “.vst” extension.

Thanks for your prompt reply. It turns out the VST folder is empty on my system, there are no plugins there at all. I will contact Hauptwerk to try and see if they can help me.