NotePerformer: Add expressions for a1, a2, a3 etc

Hi, @Wallander !

May I humbly ask if the expression map for Dorico could get a few additional expressions for a1, a2, a3? These would need to be “Add-on expressions”, so one could set them at the beginning of a piece and be done with it without getting into conflict with other existing expressions.

(I already have set them up for me, but then you have to jump through the hoops of saving it as a new playback template, routing instruments that need those expressions to the new expresseion map, and so on. Having the original NP map already include them would really help here when you need those CC values in many files.)

Thanks! :slight_smile:

Hmm, how would that be configured in the expression map?

Hi, Arne!

What I did:

  • Within the NotePerformer expression map, I added the needed Add-on Expressions for a1, a2, a3 with the CC 104 set to 1, 2, and 3 respectively.
  • I created new playing techniques: NP a1, NP a2, NP a3
  • I created corresponding playback techniques: NP a1, NP a2, NP a3 and linked them to the expressions from the NotePerformer expression map.

Now, my point is this: I can easily share the playing techniques and playback techniques between files by selecting the star icon for them. This makes them available to all other files with one single click.
What I can not share this easily are the changes I did to the NotePerformer expression map. To make them shareable I would have to create my own map - which in turn creates a lot of other burdens.

It really would help here to have these things prepared within the given NP expression map. :slight_smile:

Surely you can save your modified maps in a new playback template that you can simply apply to other projects?

Yes, I did it this way. I think it could be useful to add them directly to the NP expression map because that way you don’t need to readd your custom expression map everytime you reload NP for any reason.

The issue is that in Dorico you need to add yourself these playing techniques, none of them are there by default. So Wallander would need to share some files so you can add the playing techniques yourself. It’s not that hard, you just go to library and export them from another project or whatever, the system is quite good but technical.

Yes, I did that myself because my plaback template is a mix of NPPE and libraries hosted in VEP.

It’s not that easy. You also have to tell the instruments that need those playing techniques to use the new expression map. Like a said: There are some burdens along the line that could be resolved by having the expressions in the NP expression maps in the first place.

That’s why I ask for them :wink:

I don’t think we would need additional files. NP comes with an expression map that would need to be extended.

Yes, but that is a one-off exercise that is stored within the playback template.

You can keep telling me it’s all easy and only a few steps, while I want to make life easier for all of us users of NP so all those steps would not be necessary at all.
But it’s ok for you, please just do it how you feel you want to do it.

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I understand now. You’ve first added your user’s Playback Techniques to Dorico. Since then, they show up in the Expression Map editor as an assignable technique in the expression map. If the user technique isn’t first added, it’s unavailable in the expression map.

It’s a little complicated because the user must add a Playback Technique manually. The user’s technique may not automatically be linked to an entry we create in the expression map. It relies on Dorico assigning it the exact same technique ID, e.g. “pt.user.np_a3”. It works for you because you created the Playback Technique first.

I’m very open to the idea of supporting a2, a3, natively, but we need it to be user-friendly, robust, and not cause regression if Dorico adds standard techniques for a2 in the future.

Theoretically, you can manually edit (hack) our default library expression map in the “DefaultLibraryAdditions” folder. It’s an XML file with a similar format to the expression map that you can export from the expression map editor in Dorico to see how your changes are represented in the XML file. Please note, the default library file is overwritten every time you reinstall NotePerformer so the changes are only valid as long as you don’t reinstall NP. The default library folder is under %programdata%\Steinberg\Dorico on PC, and /Macintosh HD/Library/Steinberg on Mac. I think Dorico will use the file that’s in the most recent Dorico version, e.g. “/Macintosh HD/Library/Steinberg/Dorico 4/DefaultLibraryAdditions/NotePerformer/NotePerformer Expression Maps.doricolib” may be used for Dorico 5.

You are right, the user will still have to do his part within Dorico to link his playing techniques to playback techniques, and use them with the entries in NP’s expression map.
All I ask for, on your part, is to provide NP’s expression map with as much prebuilt entries as are possible (and, of course, reasonable). In this case, it’s only adding a few lines of XML on your side that would save everybody some time, as they would no longer have to edit CC lanes manually or create new expression maps.

My use case acutally has nothing to do with “a2”. I use this to configure my orchestra to sound like real. I’m writing for wind band, so Clarinet 1 will need to sound like 3 clarinets, as will Clarinet 2 and 3. Alto Saxophone 1 will need to sound like 2 saxes, as will Alto Saxophone 2. And so on. I need to set this for almost all of my players. And I have to anually re-set this configuration for every flow in every piece.
My use case has nothing to do with “solo vs. a2” but with “How big is my ensemble?” and setting initial CC values. I started out by setting CC values manually, when this got too cumbersome I switched to generating playing techniques to set those initial values. And this process could be made much easier.

I’m not sure how to explain this, but it can’t be prebuilt reliably. Your user technique has an “ID” which is only generated by Dorico at playback-technique creation. That ID may not be the same when another user creates the same technique, in which case the expression map won’t work.

@dspreadbury Is this correct? I mean, generally speaking, if providers of virtual instruments provide their own expression map for Dorico that may consist of more entries than what Dorico’s standard expression maps currently offer, that those additional entries then can’t reliably be addressed when creating playback techniques for them?
This seems to be a gap that I would love to see being closed somewhere in the future.
It would be great if providers could for example ship their expression map with all kinds of things that Dorico currently does not (and may never) address, like organ stops, size of ensemble and what not.

I think that is an unreasonable expectation. Even the Dorico factory expression maps only cover a subset of the capabilities of the provided sound libraries.

Why would that be unreasonable? Case in point: NotePerformer already comes with its own expression map for Dorico. I don’t find it unreasonable to believe that other providers of virtual instruments could do the very same thing that Arne has done here for us Dorico users - especially if their instruments needs things like organ stops that Dorico can’t provide currently :wink:

NP is an (exceptionally brilliant) exception. It was created to work with notation software, specifically Finale/Sibelius/Dorico.

All other Sound Libraries were created to work with DAWs and just a tiny few of those have created rudimentary expression maps for use in Dorico.

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Unless I’m mistaken, that’s more or less the case for all the notation programs on the market. Virtual instrument developers can’t add more techniques, without requiring the user to do some extra work for it, usually on a per-document basis. For example, Sibelius has a Dictionary that follows a House Style, which must be applied to each document, individually, if the virtual instrument developer chooses to supply a dedicated House Style.

A due is also more complicated. A score can say “a2”, “a 2”, or “zu 2”. You wouldn’t normally write “a1”, but rather “1.”, or “2.”, or " IV°", depending on which player takes the solo part. Understandably, Dorico wants to manage this technique on a music-structure level, although I agree, it wouldn’t hurt to support both methods. Still, NotePerformer is the only virtual instrument for which it would be applicable, and most of our users would just open Play view and enter the CC103 value manually when the section sound is meant to be for playback only.

It’s possible for playback templates to define new playback techniques and playing techniques that use them. In NotePerformer’s case, its expression map is already loaded by Dorico via the special mechanism that adds the expression map to the default library, so the same mechanism could be used to add other things to the default library, including playback techniques and playing techniques, if desired.


Wow, this would be really nice!
I didn’t know that in this special case, they could even be adding their own playback techniques and playing techniques. This sounds great! :slight_smile: