Pitch bend into sustained note

Trombone notation:

Trombone pitch bend MIDI:

Trombone sound:

How would I engineer this such that I don’t hear the C dotted half note at its normal pitch just before (or just as) the F quarter note plays?

Looking at the Dorico 3 “Play Mode Improvements” video at 07:34, the note is cut off a split second before the note following the bend. As well, there’s less reverb on the instrument. Convenient factors for that particular sound, but I need the end of the glissando to sustain for a beat.

I tried implementing the approach in the video, but the result isn’t much better, for me:

Audio: https://www.miloonline.net/stash/dorico/trombone_gliss_2.mp3

Assuming your sample library doesn’t include trombone glisses as special samples, the best answer for playback is to play the final F as a pitch-bent C, but you will have to work out for yourself how to make the notation look right.

MIDI pitch bend was never designed to work together with staff notation.

Obviously in the fullness of time we will implement support for glissando playback so that you don’t have to muck around with pitch bend manually in the first place.

Actually, I figured it out, the solution was simple:

Playback: https://www.miloonline.net/stash/dorico/trombone_gliss_3.mp3

You’re correct, Rob, just letting the bent pitch ride was key. The other two super easy steps were suppressing playback of the F quarter note in Write mode, and then artificially extending the duration of the C dotted half note in Play mode. Done and done.

Cool, glad to hear it, Mr. Spreadbury.

Rob and Milo. I love the short term solution, but I can’t figure out how to make the pitch bend more than a tone. I have put the highest and lowest points on the pitch bend graph up/down to 100 yet I only achieve a tone. Is there a way to change the units/extremities?

Can anyone offer a suggestion?


What instrument/plugin are you using?

Most plugins I’ve encountered have a method to set the pitch-bend range.

The General MIDI standard recommends a default setting of 2 semitones, and in my experience most plugins and hardware sound generators have that as the default.

The pitch-bend range can be set in the Edit Macro of most HALion instruments.
HALion Symphonic Orchestra

HALion SE3 Basic and Artist content

Note: If you are using HALion in GM mode the pitch bend range settings in macro editors are ignored. If you NEED to use an instance of HALion in GM mode, yet you also need to change the pitch bend range, you can use RPN events to change it. See the end of this post for info on how…

Garritan Libraries

If you are using an external GM MIDI tone generator there should be a way in the instrument’s control panel to change the pitch bend range.

Alternatively, any GM compliant instrument (plugin or external) should also accept RPN events to change the pitch bend range.

I’m not sure if the CC lanes in Dorico’s play tab could be used to send the RPN events but it might be worth a try if one needs it.
One could probably also build a custom user playing technique and have an expression map send it.

To set a pitch-bend range of -+7 semitones one would need to send the following Continuous Controller events to the instrument:
First send these two:

cc101, 0 (Start listening for an RPN)
cc100, 0 (Listen to set the pitch bend range)

Then these on a later tick (Actually all six of these CC events can be sent on the same tick IF you can make sure they go in the proper order, perhaps via technique in an expression map…if attempting it via controller lane, probably best to space it all out in the three groups):

cc6, 7 (MSB of the RPN = Number of Semi-tones to set as the pitch bend range)
cc38, 0 (LSB of the RPN = Not used in this case, so just send a zero)

And finally these to close out the RPN so it stops listening for more registered events on cc6 and cc38:

cc101,127 (Close out the RPN)
cc100,127 (Close out the RPN)

I did experiment with sending the RPN but it seems that very few plugins respond to it.


Plugins with a proper General MIDI mode should take it. HALion will IF you have the option for accepting GM program changes set in the Options page (Sonic and SE and in H6 one also needs to check that it’s OK to accept RPN events). The catch here is that having HALion in GM mode OVERRIDES anything set in the macros/editors. So with HALion, it’s one method or the other, or fire up new instances…you can’t use both methods in the same instance.

HALion also has a ‘learn cc’ option…which can come in handy if you need to make such a change on the fly and you are NOT in GM/Accept RPN mode. Just right click the PB parameters in the Macro editor, chose learn CC, and move some control on your keyboard that’ll send the CC you desire. In HALion’s case you’ll need to do it twice on two different CCs (once for PB up, again for PB down). Once it’s registered, you can later alter that as needed from Dorico CC lanes, or from expression map techniques. Be sure to save a copy of your instrument/program/preset if you’ve learned things you’d like to be able to call up again in future projects.

I’d imagine the Sound Canvas plugins should accept it as well, seeing as they were born to play GM SMF files.

The other stuff…if you need to change this stuff on the fly while a flow is playing, and it doesn’t have a true General MIDI mode, you pretty much have to find a way to do it in the plugin. Many do have a ‘learn any cc’ option similar to the one described above for HALion if one needs to change that parameter in real time. For something like ARIA if one needs to change PB range on the fly, I’d recommend just doing a channel bounce to a fresh stave (for the same player/section) with an end point to a slot/instrument with the required change(s).

Awesome. Found it, thank you.

I’m a Sibelius copyist of years ago, and am used to not bothering about the sound too much. But this is a nice treat, as is so much of Dorico. Not sure what I think about the skeuomorphic design of the VST instrument panels just yet, but I’ve got it all working now. Thanks again.