Percussion maps and multiple techniques


I’m creating a percussion map for the VSL Synchron Percussion, where I want combined techniques to select the beater and the actual technique. Beaters have to be selected via keyswitch, while techniques are selected via notes along the percussion kit.

For example, I might have an entry corresponding to a roll played with medium beaters. In the VSL preset, I have all the sounds with medium beaters in a patch corresponding to keyswitch C#1 (MIDI Note 25). The roll is on note C5 (72) in the percussion map.

In the Percussion Map, I therefore enter a combined “medium beater” (custom) and “Roll” (standard) technique. This entry is on note 72 (C5) and has a keyswitch of 25 (C#1).

However, it doesn’t work. If I remove one of the combined techniques, and leave only the beater, the corresponding entry (and their associated values) is selected. If I have a combined technique, it doesn’t work, and Dorico always gets the first entry in the Percussion Map.

What is not working?


Daniel, (@dspreadbury), maybe I can send you the percussion map, so that you can see if there is some very evident error?


I set up an XP map to handle the beaters, and Perc map the rest.

That’s how I usually do when the percussion kits are either the same, or complimentary.

With something as rich as the Synchron Percussion, it is not so easy. For example, Snare Drums have three different beaters, two different brushes, and an effect kit. Beaters are based on the same kit, as are brushes. But they are not overlapping.

A solution is to use separate staves for the separate types of kit. Inside the type, I could use a CC to select one of the beaters or brushes.

However, on the paper, Dorico’s Percussion Maps should allow this to be manages in a single map. Keyswitches are associated to the entry, so a Soft Beater LH Hit should live next to the Medium Beater LH Hit in the same map.

This is not happening on my machine.

I admit not to like the “drum kit” way of mapping percussive instruments. This may be manageable with somehting like a rock drum kit, following a very standard map. Not so with orchestral, where there are so many combinations and nuances. Having them managed with ordinary expression maps would make things much clearer. You could have a single map for all the beaters, for example, and choose a beater with an add-on technique.


We were talking at slightly crossed purposes – I thought you were setting up the new Synchronized Percussion. I see the Synchron Snares have more beaters of various kinds.

I’m just anxious to ensure that I’m getting crossfades on my rolls, and I seem to be. I just have a dummy switch for Natural, which doesn’t switch anything but does specify primary & secondary dynamics (I use cc1 & cc8 usually).

But I have beater choice as add-ons in the xp map, and also snares on/off, rather than double entries in the percussion map.

While they are organized in a different way, Synchronized Percussion also have a vast choice of beaters. Again, a way to keep everything in a single map would be essential to have a kit in a single staff/line. But maybe using separate players/instruments and condensing is still the most solid way to do it, at the moment.


While creating/editing various percussion maps, I continue to think that the current logic behind the Percussion Map editor is not ideal, and it is very fatiguing and time consuming.

I understand that this comes from the GM idea of percussion kits: one key, matching a standard position, matching a percussive instrument and technique.

Orchestral percussion libraries are much more complex. Editing Percussion Maps in the same way as an Expression Map would be a lot faster, and the resulting map much more readable. An example of how it could work:

  1. Create a new map for a single percussive instrument, for example a snare drum.

  2. Create a new technique/switch. Its name may be something like ‘Natural’.

  3. Double click the technique name, and from the list of playback techniques choose ‘Natural’.

  4. Assign it a key switch, corresponding to the key where the percussion instrument and technique is located. You may want to assign it a MIDI channel, absolute or relative.

  5. Add a condition, to use different techniques for different playing speeds.

Done with the first entry. Now, you might want to use this same switch for a different playing technique.

  1. Duplicate the ‘Natural’ technique, and rename the copy to something like ‘Hit LH’.

  2. Double click the technique name, and from the list of playback techniques choose ‘Hit+Left Hand’.

  3. Duplicate it again, and call it something like ‘Hit Center LH’.

  4. Double click the technique name, and from the list of playback techniques choose ‘Hit+Left Hand+Center’.

You now have three playing techniques pointing to the same note on the percussion kit. All done in a flash.

After having created the map, you can add an exclusion group, where something like ‘Hit LH’ and ‘Hit RH’ are mutually excluding.


Hi Paolo The PM editor is indeed rudimentary. It has a copy/paste function but that does not work for the additional keyswitch using the same note for several techniques also the general key commands crt+c and ctrl+v do not work.

What in my opinion makes the whole percussion instrument definition very tiresome and error prone is that you have to define all your playing techniques once more in the instrument setup. That editor is even more rudimentary. Not even a possibility to copy/paste e.g the techniques for 5 toms. Also the markers offered (like staccato, tenuto) are not very suited for percussion instruments. A more complicated score understandable for a percussionist and correctly playing back is still a dream in my opinion. What as a minimum would be needed are all markers offered under the articulations tab in the right menu (shift+p) in the set playing techniques editor.

Better would be if the notation method could be defined for the playing techniques directly in the PM.