multiple voices with individual dynamic marks on a single staff: VST3 and MPE in Dorico


When two voices appear on staff, the dynamics can differ from other voice.
How does Dorico deal with the different dynamics at the same time?

  1. Does Dorico support dynamic mark per voice for notation?
  2. Does Dorico support dynamic mark per voice for playing?

For notation, select the exact voice, enter the dynamic, and Alt-Enter to close the popover.

If two voices appear on one staff, they share the same MIDI channel, so they cannot (currently) support separate dynamics in playback.

I do not think the following is an obstacle to do it.

If two voices appear on one staff, they share the same MIDI channel, so they cannot (currently) support separate dynamics in playback.

For example, Finale treats MIDI channels as follows:

  1. Each staff has a dedicated channel on the bottom line.
  2. However, each layout (4 layouts), chords and expression can override this channel.

Moreover, Dorico uses the audio engine of Cubase which fully supports VST3 while Finale does not support VST3.
In VST3, the individual notes can be more flexibly controlled:

There is also MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression).

MPE is already adopted by MIDI association.

Thinking about MPE and Note Expression in VST3, controlling multiple dynamic on a single staff is undoubtedly possible in Dorico.

Is your comment sure?

For notation, select the exact voice, enter the dynamic, and Alt-Enter to close the popover.

Dorico does not show the colour of dynamic marks according to the attached voice.
However, my experiment shows that Dorico does not attach dynamics to specific voices. See the following examples:

The dynamic positions in the first two examples are the default. In the last two examples, I moved the dynamics for the upper voice to above of the staff.
As you see, each dynamic marking points the middle line of the staff.

If Dorico accept the following information per voice (for notation and for playing), the audio file produced by Dorico will be amazing!

  • dynamic markings and hairpins
  • playing techniques
  • expression texts
  • graphical notation of various vibratos (even if the notation in Dorico is currently not possible. It also can be done by combining multiple glyphs of a font.)

The manual clearly explains how to enter voice specific dynamics, as DanKreider already explained:

This thread doesn’t seem to be asking for anything that isn’t already on the todo list - they’re already planning on making it possible for different voices to play back at different dynamics. It just hasn’t been implemented yet.

Thank you for letting me know it!
I was confused because I could not visually see that the dynamic marking is attached to a specific voice.
It would also be nice if the colour of dynamic and other texts follows the colour of voice. I hope this is also in their to-do list.

That’s correct.

It depends what the VST instrument uses for dynamics. If it is note-on-velocity, the dynamics of every note are independent and attaching different dynamics to different voices does play back. If it uses a continuous controller, that applies to all notes, separate dynamics don’t work.

Most polyphonic instruments (e.g. keyboards) do use note-on velocity, but one exception is NotePerformer.

Monophonic instruments tend to use a controller, so if the score has two monophonic instruments on the same staff (e.g. two flutes) they can’t have independent dynamics.

Of course you are correct that “percussive” instruments rely on attack velocity. I tend to think of “voices” as sustaining voices contrpuntally and used accents (visible or hidden) to bring out (say) thumb-note countermelodies in piano parts.

Like just about everyone else, I look forward to the day when Dorico enables independent assignment and treatment of voices on a single staff.

A relate question:

Are the following voices a same voice or two independent voices?

  • up-stem voice 1
  • down-stem voice 1

When adding dynamics individually to these voices, the result is as above in my previous attachment in this thread.

When adding dynamics individually to “up-stem voice 1” and “down-stem voice 2”, the dynamic which is input first is overridden by the latter.

upstem voice a and downstem voice a are two different voices. I’m not sure how deep the implementation of individual dynamics is right now. We’d need some info from the team, I guess…

This is correct!

Currently, the musicXML file and midi file which are exported by Dorico do not show any data for it:

However, this does not say that the help document describes a feature which is not implemented yet. This is because we do not know how the data is connected in Dorico. A visual relation (each voice is displayed with the same colours for notes and its dynamics) would be helpful.

Yes, an explanation from the team would be helpful. As shown above, the MIDI file does not include any information about voices. As far as I inspect the musicXML file, it also has no data, but I am not sure. I think the description in the help document is not so detail.

Anyway, I would like to know the exact information and details on voices:

  • Why are"up-stem voice 1" and “down-stem voice 1” not the same voices?
  • Does ALT+enter record the dynamic per voice separately? Could the connection be visualised by colour in a future version of Dorico?

In answer to your first question, of course Upstem Voice 1 and Downstem Voice 1 are not the same voice. If they were the same voice then you couldn’t have different rhythms in each one, simultaneously.

Ah, this enlightens me! Thanks!


Are you also implying it is possible for Dorico to score according to ROLI Keyboard RISE played on an Equator voice?
If so, kindly do let me know how it is done.