Non-vibrato playback of a score?

In sample libraries there are often some playing techniques (e.g. long notes, legato, …) that offer vibrato variations but most others (staccato, tremolo, …) inherently do not. If e.g. “non vib.” is assigned at the beginning of a score Dorico should simply use non-vibrato for the playing techniques for which it is available (and defined in the Expression Map) and neglect it for the others. However, this is unfortunately not at all what Dorico standardly does. Instead it does not play most of the other playing techniques correctly anymore while the non-vibrato direction is active.

Is there any way to achieve the desired playback without explicitly defining every possible playing technique in every vibrato version in the Expression Map (although they don’t even offer such variations)? E.g. can one set up somewhere that a given Playback Technique is simply ignored if a particular combination of Playback Techniques arising in the score is not defined in the Expression Map? Taking into account that there are also other directions that can be active simultaneously and cause analogous problems, it would be completely impossible for a large library to define e.g. every combination of muting, bowing (sul ponticello, …), accents, with every vibrato variation for every Playback Technique explicitly in the Expression Map just to make things work.

It may depend on how your sample library implements the Vib/non-vib switch. If they use a CC, then you can use an “Add-on” expression in the Expression Map editor, which is in addition to other expressions that might switch.

Otherwise: yes, you might have to do vib and non-vib versions of each expression. You can duplicate each one and then adjust the relevant option.

Have a look at the Expression Map for Noteperformer. There are a lot of combinations!

Hello benwiggy,

thanks so much for your reply :blush:!

Yes Add-on switches are nice but they only work when a CC is exclusively used for one particular purpose, which is not the case for the VSL.

I haven’t seen the Noteperformer Map so far, but ours already has 1500+ entries (not least because it already includes such “dummy definitions”). If we would really exhaust every possible combination (con sordino, sul ponticello, sul tasto, accents, map-specific playback modes, …) just to make this work, we are likely talking of 10000+ entries which is simply not feasible …

But this should ideally not be necessary: A way to specify that a given Playback Technique is simply neglected if the arising combination is not defined in the Expression Map (or even some kind of priority mechanism) would do the trick and make sure that every score is played back correctly with all the available samples and without a single superfluous entry in the Expression Map. Maybe this can be included in a future update of the Dorico playback.

as thing stand at the moment, if a combination of techniques is not defined in the map then of course they are ignored as you well know. VSL, unlike some other libraries, include non vib techniques only with very specific p.t’s and quite often the vib. is automated according to the speed for instance. To achieve realistic playback, you really need to ensure that this specific patch is selected. So how can a generic non vib instruction work with VSL as VSL themselves haven’t programmed such a thing? Feel free to point out what I’m missing here as your idea is an interesting one!

If I understand it correctly, what the OP is looking for is a (simple?) mechanic to prevent Dorico from using no playback technique at all when only one of many applied techniques does not match.

It’s more of an “Here is one more technique, but if it causes trouble, please just avoid this one” approach. I can see quite some use for it: If there is no “non vib. + legato”, please just avoid the “non vib.” instead of dropping all of them including the much more important “legato”.

It is not that the entire combination would be ignored (i.e. that one always ends up with “natural”) if the exact combination is not defined in the Expression Map. While in the playing techniques lane all Playback Techniques are listed, Dorico in practice always uses certain playing techniques and skips others. What happens depends on the particular technique(s) but I could not figure out a pattern or according to which criteria it does this. Here are just some random examples (none of these combinations being defined in the Expression Map):

non-vibrato & spiccato → non-vibrato sustained
non-vibrato & pizzicato → pizzicato
non-vibrato & (3-bar) tremolo → non-vibrato sustained (with Dorico-generated measured tremolo instead of the sampled tremolo defined in the map)
non-vibrato & natural harmonic & staccato → staccato harmonics

Non-vibrato is in the Expression Map in particular defined via note-length conditions, but in the cases where it is played the alternative corresponding to the longest note length is picked (and even the playing techniques lane reads “NoteLength == Very Long”) although the corresponding notes are short! I.e. whenever the combination does not fit also length conditions are not correctly handled anymore, which is a bug that should be fixed.

Yes, the VSL might be a bit limited when it comes to non-vibrato samples, but it generally includes the important cases (sustained, portato, legato, dynamics, …) and can provide a realistic playback. You are right that one would need the corresponding entries in the Expression Map (also with note length conditions in Dorico - see above), but I don’t see why this would not ensure that the appropriate patches are selected (even though they are not included in the VSL factory presets they are all accessible in our presets).

Yes, this is exactly what I meant, but formulated in a much clearer way :blush:: “Here is one more technique, but if it causes trouble, please just avoid this one”

Playback Techniques already offer a “Fallback” technique and I had hoped that this was designed to handle this problem. But it seems there is no way to select “none” as a fallback, and also selecting “natural” does not have the effect that this particular technique is skipped when not available. Otherwise this should do the trick when selected for vibrato variations (or other “dispensable” playback techniques. I.e. the Fallback mechanism seems so far too limited and only designed for cases where a single Playback Technique is active, but I would guess it could be extended to handle this.