Need help with why 'senza sordino' not working

I’m trying to figure out why the ‘con sordino’ playback technique works, but the ‘senza sordino’ does not. I tested them in the expression map and they work fine there, when I cross check against the player in Opus. In other words when I click the play button in the expression map for con sord., muting turns on for the violins; likewise, when I click the play button in the expression map for senza sord., it turns off which is expected (cc 15 = 64 = on; cc 15=0=off).

However, in the first measure, the legato playback technique cooperates with the mute and both are active. But, when it gets to the second measure, if I add a legato slur for the whole measure, the legato technique is in effect, but the mute does not get removed. However, if I remove the legato slur from the second measure, the mute is deactivated as expected because of the ‘senza sordino’.
In the small example below, the slur on the second measure overrides the ‘senze sordino’ instruction.

Please help me figure out what is going on. This is my first attempt at using mutes with EastWest strings.

I tried to add the project, but it’s too big. When you hover over ‘Con sordino’ in the expression map, you will see ‘Muted’; for ‘Senza sordino’ you will see ‘Open 1’ (not sure why this is expected instead of something more sensible like ‘Unmuted’. And like I said before, when I test them they work fine.

Can you cut the project down to a few bars?

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As @DanielMuzMurray said, it’s much easier to help if you can upload a minimal project.

Also, here’s info about how switches are selected:

The two bars you see are it.

I was going to try to upload the project but it’s too big even with just 2 bars for some reason. 8MB.

Hi rothvin, the issue seems to be that you have two base switches active at the same time (“Leg Slur MAX” and “Con sordino”) and Dorico doens’t know what to do in this particular case.

You probably just need to define “con sordino” and “senza sordino” as technique add-on switches – see Adding/Editing switches in expression maps

I agree but I just wanted to fiddle with a file before I said so :joy:

I already tried creating both con sordino and senza sordino separately via the playback techniques and playing techniques dialogs and it didn’t work for some reason like it normally works.

Please upload some sort of a project so we can do some delving. If not, is there a particular reason why uploading the first four bars (for example) isn’t possible?

your definition is almost certainly correct - Open1 is what Dorico calls “senza sord.” When senza sord. is not correctly replacing con sord. then the first obvious thing to check is if they are together in a mutual exclusion group. Otherwise Dorico doesn’t know to cancel the con sord and will look for a combination which is obviously nonsense. You can also test by putting in an “ord” first to reset and see if it works then.

The other approach, as @olilo has suggested, is to use add-on switches instead of base ones. This particularly makes sense if the mutes are a global setting which applies to the instrument in general rather than there just being one or two specific mute patches. I don’t use the EW strings (I only use their choirs) so am not sure if that’s the case here.

Almost certainly one of these approaches will solve the problem but if not, then there will be something wrong in the Expression Map and we’d need to see the project or at the very least the EM.

The file size includes VST plugin data, so you could remove the VSTs from the example project to upload.

Dorico selects only 1 base switch at a time. In this case, it’s selecting legato from the 2 active techniques, legato and senza sord. So generally, you can either use add-on switches for some techniques, as has been said, or you can use base switches with multiple techniques (for example, legato + senza sord.). Dorico should prioritize a switch combination (1 base + add-ons) which satisfies all active techniques.

quite correct but in theory, the con sord shouldn’t work either in that case unless there’s a specific entry for the combination. The fact that senza sord now works after removing the slur does at least seem to eliminate the need to check the mutual exclusions.

OK, I’ll try to do it tonight

Ok, here’s the project.
Untitled Project 1.dorico (450.2 KB)

Ok, please see if this edited project works:
Untitled Project 1-Edit.dorico (812.3 KB)

I changed con sord. and senza sord. to add-on switches, and I created an exclusion group for them.

Please note, those switches are named “Con sordino” and “Senza sordino”, but they use the Playback Techniques Muted and Open1, respectively, which are also used by the Con sordino and Senza sordino Playing Techniques – a bit confusing yes.

Not at all. Dorico cannot provide multiple names for the same technique, especially appropriate since these names are behind the scenes.

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I was referring to how the project which was uploaded is set up. There’s a Playing Technique named “Con sordino” which is associated with the Playback Technique “Muted”. There’s a base switch associated with Muted which has been named “Con sordino”. There’s a similar setup for “Senza sordino”.

Your project works and I was able to modify my project to do the same. However, I am very confused about what base switches are and how and when to use them versus add-on techniques. I’m still very new to this. Is there a video by Anthony that covers the difference and how to mix and match them?

I know this is probably MIDI 101 but I’m still new to using key switches, base switches, and add-on techniques.

More than that, are mutes more difficult to work with because they’re a sort of global setting?

Ok, so I found the following in the manual:


A fundamental change to the playing technique or articulation, such as changing from arco to pizzicato or unmuted to muted. Base switches are mutually exclusive, meaning a new base switch replaces the previous one.


A switch that applies in addition to the existing base switch. For example, some sound libraries allow you to use the same legato switch in addition to different base switches. Add-on switches do not remove or change base switches. Add-on switches can only trigger simple key switch notes and controller values."

Is it the last sentence under ‘Add-on’ that explains why a mute/unmute should be an add-on? (“Add-on switches can only trigger simpley key switch notes and controller values.”).