Percussion map for a patch with dynamics on different keys?

I’m working with a Spitfire Percussion patch having its dynamics spread over several keys (each key also triggers different dynamics within its smaller range, based on velocity).

In percussion maps, I wanted to assign these keys to ppp, pp, … , fff techniques (e.g. : A4->ppp, B4-> pp, etc…).

However, I’m not sure it’s the proper way to achieve this. In the playback, no matter which dynamic is used (p, f, …), it keeps playing the same key on the patch.

Of course I could assign a different technique to each dynamic, but this seems less elegant, and I really like the idea of dynamics playing technique controlling a different key of the patch.

I’ve been working on the percussion maps and chose to use velocity mapped vs different keys for velocity. There’s a setting in the Kontakt player interface.

I’d love to have such option, unless I missed it.

Still wondering why assigning dynamics playing techniques (ppp, pp, … , fff) to the different keys in the percussion map doesn’t work as expected.

If I assign “staccato” to a key, it triggers it properly, but if assign fff, nothing happens…

Edit : I found this topic from 2020 dealing with this very problem. Asked there if there are any updates on this feature.

Out of curiosity, which Spitfire percussion instrument is this, @Tarknin? I can’t find any such samples. (I’m using Spitfire’s Joby Burgess percussion library.)

Hi @MiloDC,

At least the normal patches of following percussions are concerned : Tam-tam, Clash cymbal, Cymbal Hi and Cymbal Med.

I find odd that in percussion or expressions maps, dynamics playing techniques are assignable (ppp, …, fff), but it seems they actually can’t trigger anything.

Hmm. Are we talking about the same percussion library, the Joby Burgess one? My dynamics for those instruments are not mapped to different keys. They work the same as all of my other instruments.

Thanks a lot ! This version indeed hasn’t dynamics mapped to different keys, wasn’t using the latest one.

If you click on the cog at the right of the C#3 roll, you will find the settings I was talking about.
Would you mind trying my maps for this library? I’ll send them in the next hours. There’s still work to do on expression maps but unpitched oerc are ok AFAIK.

Sorry it took me so long. For an unknown reason, my unpitched metal patch in Kontakt reverted to a previous version, I had to do it all over again in order for it to work.

You’ll notice when you load the multi MIDI mapped.nki that I remapped almost every instrument, getting rid of swells and pitched mapped dynamics or lengths, as John Barron suggested me to. I was in the process of building up the expression maps for the pitched instruments, but honestly I would not be angry if any of you could contribute here, since I have sooo much work to do (and attend my baby daughter). Any feedback is welcome! The goal here is to have a set of playback templates that might prove useful for every Spitfire Percussion owner with Dorico.

Open the Spitfire Percussion Dorico file.
Install the MIDI mapped.nki in Kontakt. Choose it as multi instrument (might replace the automatically loaded one).
It should work.


This is crazy good, @MarcLarcher! A lot of work, and eminently useful. It’s comprehensive, and very well organized, serving as an excellent showcase for the percussion section. I even learned a little percussion notation, looking at your many excellent flows!

A few observations:

  • I hear nothing when I play the field drum rolls (I had to enable the sample, and set the key to E-1 in Kontakt) or the last four woodblocks notes (you have “Wood Block (High)” set to D3, but it looks like it should be D#3).
  • I noticed that your high tom-tom (last four notes of the 10th flow) sounds low. I see that you have “Tom-tom (Low)” defined twice in your percussion map; is the G2 tom-tom supposed to be “Tom-tom (High)”?
  • Although you have them notated decrescendo, the conga rolls, bongo side rolls, and bass drum roll all play at a single dynamic. The same is true of nearly all of the castanet and agogô notes.

Also, having just upgraded my Spitfire Percussion library (as I was prompted to do when loading your Dorico file showed me that I was missing Percussion_Kickstart_2021_01_30.nkr), I hear that tambourine rolls still start a little late. Annoying, though obviously not your fault at all. I wonder if it’s just standard practice for tambourine rolls to be played like that, i.e. a softer grace-like note before the notated dynamic.

In all, though, this is excellent work. Many thanks!

Thanks for checking, I guess my MIDI map needs some more reviewing — embarrassing since I checked everything and it worked (I sent videos of this working flawlessly. But my knowledge of Kontakt is scarce, so maybe something was not saved properly at some point. I will update it when I get time)
You say is comprehensive, it’s not yet, since most of pitched instruments lack their expression maps. I read every post here so I know how experienced you are in that field. It would be a privilege to have your help — for instance, I was not able to trigger all the available sounds for Glockenspiel I think…

Yeah, with something as huge as an orchestral sample library, and all of the complex and variable key assignments and keyswitches and so forth, there are definitely going to be kinks to iron out as templates are perfected! I’ve been working on my personal (i.e. not really fashioned with public use in mind) Spitfire-compatible expression maps and Kontakt multis for over a year now, and I still occasionally find imperfections or errors that make me wonder what the heck I was thinking.

I did notice that, but since they’re another class of percussion, I figured they weren’t your primary focus.

Ah, I saw that your tremolo glockenspiel notes were silent, yeah. I was able to fix that; they were being interpreted as muted due to earlier notation. I had to change the technique to “Tremolo,” as well. (You had it set to “Roll.”)

Thank you so much for your help! Indeed, tremolo is the right playback technique to use in the list.
The woodblock 5 problem is solved, it had slipped from D to D# in the Midi mapped thing. It’s solved, and I renamed the multi instrument as MIDI mapped Dorico, so that people that use that library in DAWS can know which multi they want to use — in Daws, swells are certainly not a problem as in Dorico! I’ll try to go on but please let me know if you want to handle things, so that we don’t waste time doing things twice.

[Edit] I’m actually almost finished. One thing I cannot do (and understand), when dealing with the timpani, is that once Muted has been enabled, I have to use ord. in the score to revert to normal, even though natural and muted are in the same Mutual exclusion group. What kind of command should I use to enable Muted, that would stop once the continuation line of that playing technique ends, so that the sound reverts automatically to natural? Same goes with motor on/off for the vibraphone.

[Edit 2] I’ve updated the files from the Dropbox link. Can you use them and tell me how to solve those problems with the muted timpani and motor on vibraphone?
I’ve added some extra control over dynamics using CC1 (modulation wheel, right?) for the instruments that use tremolo extensively, in order to not have only Velocity controlled dynamics. Not sure if it’s a good idea though. This is especially for timpani. Thanks for your help!

[Edit3] John Barron helped me solve the last issues. I had to edit the playing technique (Articulation : Atribute instead of direction). The file is updated, please test before we ask and put it in the Expression map thread for global sharing!

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I’m still having to set up the field drum rolls when I open your score, @MarcLarcher. They’re still turned off in Kontakt, and set to the wrong keyswitch.

Also, some of your sounds still play at a single dynamic, despite your having notated them decrescendo.

Your conga rolls, for example. I recommend that you create an additional entry in your expression map, called something like “Spitfire Percussion (Generic),” and make sure that it has a Natural technique, with “Volume dynamic” set to N̶o̶t̶e̶ ̶v̶e̶l̶o̶c̶i̶t̶y̶ Control change 1 (ignore the screenshot), and Secondary dynamic set to Control change 11:

Then, you would of course assign this expression map to the channel assigned to the congas. (Channel 1 in your score, which is currently set to “Default.”)

In fact, I would advise you to assign the generic map to all percussion instruments that don’t already have expressions assigned to them. (I guess that would be all of your unpitched percussion.)

Note that all of the Spitfire libraries employ CC11 for expression. Personally, I have ALL of my expression maps using the secondary dynamic on CC11. Not only are the end results more satisfying, some instruments’ dynamics (like some unpitched percussion) don’t even work without that setting.

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Thanks again Milo,
You’re right, I need to check those instruments thoroughly again…
Thanks for the invaluable information about cc11. I didn’t get some decrescendi and thought it was a problem with the library, I did not think it could be handled with that expression cc.
Looks like some more work for tomorrow!

No problem, man. I would also assign the “generic” expression to the xylophone, and make the initial dynamic of that instrument p or even pp, so the user can really hear the difference as the crescendo plays.

Your G2 tom is still set to the “Tom-tom (Low)” instrument, too, in your percussion map. It should be the “Tom-tom (High)” instrument.

Your work here is superb; this is THE standard for Spitfire percussion set-ups, as far as I’m concerned. I love your choice of music for the tubular bells, very appropriate. :smile:

Apparently, Dorico actually doesn’t handle unpitched percussion cresc./dim. prooperly (according to Daniel Spreadbury himself). I guess Spitfire just allows us to fake it using the CC11 expression controller. :stuck_out_tongue:

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Dear Milo,
I updated my files according to your feedback. I thought we were not supposed to use Expression maps on unpitched percussion stuff, but I remember I read on the forum it somehow worked, and with libraries that rely on CC11 like Spitfire, it makes total sense. I added that Spitfire Percussion Generic (with your name on it :wink: ) to every instrument that did not have its own expression map.
Question : would it be interesting to set an initial value of CC11, and a base value ? I’ve set it to 90 in order not to have too soft dynamics, but is this useful?

[Edit] Dropbox content updated.

Your demonstration file is really well organised, it was a pleasure to read it ! Thanks a lot for sharing your work.

I noticed this too, it seems the current workaround is to set your articulation type to “Attribute” instead of “Direction” (Daniel answered here).

I’m very interested to know your thoughts about this. I was thinking of using secondary dynamics in my Spitfire templates (ww, brass & strings), because they currently lack some dynamics (ppp-fff span is not as large as I’d like). Perheaps I should also experiment with “Dynamic curve power” in Dorico.

I’ve always been reluctant to using CC11 in addition to CC1 thinking it would reduce realism, but I realize it’s at the cost of dynamics. I don’t know to what extent Spitfire libraries are designed to be used with CC11 in addition to CC1 or velocity.

Milo tells me all Spitfire libraries are built with CC11 used as expression fader, it seems to be quite consistent, and I believe him.

Thanks for the Attribute thing, I found it sunday thanks to our very active and friendly John Barron.

It’s actually more than a demo file : it can be used as a template when you start writing for Spitfire percussion, since everything is already setup — and setting percussion sets up is quite time consuming !
Please let me know if you find problems, and if it’s ok, I’ll ask Paul to add it in the Expression map thread, and I’ll add it in the Spitfire forum as well.

if a library, like the Spitfire ones provides CC1 for dynamics and CC11 for instrument volume (or Expression) then it would normally be daft not to use both. Think of the situation where you want something to be louder but without the noticeable sudden change in the character of the sound which could accompany a CC1 increase, esp. with brass. CC11 always goes from a dynamic of zero so if you don’t use it, you may find yourself unable to get very quiet notes and conversely, pushing CC11 up to 127 is occasionally necessary for a really loud line.

Unlike with some vendors, Spitfire libraries (at least the BBC SO) , is usable with a simple 1:1 mapping without scaling but you may find scaling works even better. The key is adjusting them individually when required.

I assume here we’re talking about a whole orchestra – for percussion it’s often less relevant