Pizzicato playback with BBC Symphony VST Dorico Elements 5

Just upgraded to Dorico Elements 5, Using VST BBC Symphony Orchestra with plenty of articulations available.
Entered PIZZ. on my score and it is playing back ARCO.
Please assist with steps needed to properly map this articulation for playback.
With much appreciation.

Hi Anjelica,

What I suspect you’re missing is an ‘expression map’ which tells Dorico how different articulations and techniques in the score translate to patches in BBCSO.

There are a number of expression maps for different sections of BBCSO, and rather than load them separately, you could load everything in one go using a ‘playback template’.

Have a look here, there’s some guidance, links to templates and a ‘how-to’ video.

Some elements of the Dorico Interface have changed since then, but you can still either open the project template, or drag the playback template to the Steinberg hub in Dorico to install it.

If you get stuck, people will be able to help you.

Thank you so much. You were correct!
I was able to get the BBC Pro Expression Map installed.
It did correct the pizzicato issue.
However, it caused a new and sadly much worse issue - Perhaps you can help?
All the other sounds now sound much worse - and my pipe organ routing is gone completely. The BBC Strings sound much more fake, bad vibrato happens, the notes cut short, the volumes are all low.
I had it sounding pretty nice before - aside from being unable to use Pizz.
Thoughts on correcting this? Or instead of the template, how to just assign pizz.? Other ideas?
With great appreciation.

I don’t know if you’re interested in this at all, but NotePerformer has a playback engine that works beautifully with the BBC SO. It sounds terrific and it just works, no tinkering needed.

Thank you for writing. I downloaded NotePerformer Trial to test it out. Lo and behold… it sounds worse than my prior settings. But I appreciate the thought. I am pro-AI assist but this did sound more fake. I am quite happy with BBC sounds as they are - very beautiful and inspiring.
Ironically, ALL I needed to do was make Dorico recognize and map the pizzicato articulation when I enter it. Anyone?

Some of this I can understand.

The volumes will be lower because the expression map is adjusting the volume and tone of the sample library in line with the dynamics in the score. By itself, BBCSO will play at maximum dynamics.

So things certainly will sound different. Dorico defaults to mf if you don’t put dynamics in the score.

It’s also possible the ‘natural’ setting of BBCSO with the expression map is a different patch from the one you were using with BBCSO direct. So again, things might sound different.

If you were completely happy with the way things were, apart from the pizz, there are ways of getting that to work without loading the complete BBCSO playback template. But it might be better to troubleshoot the problems you are getting because using the right expression maps should give you more playback accuracy and flexibility going forward.

I’m happy to take a look if can zip up and attach your project without the template, and also your project with the playback template.

What expression map were you using, if you weren’t using the BBCSO template in the link above? Did you create one yourself?

In which case, it’s up to you to add the pizz. expression and relevant keyswitch.

If you tested the BBCSO playback engine within NotePerformer, it will use the BBCSO samples, but controlled by NP’s “intelligent” phrasing. The general consensus is that this is much better than attempting to create your own expression map for BBCSO.


If you didn’t use NP’s engine for BBCSO, then you would have just got NP’s default sounds, which are a bit more artificial.


What expression map were you using, if you weren’t using the BBCSO template in the link above? Did you create one yourself? In which case, it’s up to you to add the pizz. expression and relevant keyswitch.

If you would please kindly provide the instructions to link the expression map to the pizz keyswitch using my BBCSO VST. I am almost there, but not sure all the steps to make it work. This would solve it for me.

I wasn’t using an expression map. I just set all the sounds where I wanted. I’m reasonably new (since January) at Dorico. I’m open to using an expression map because I’d like to be able to use all the articulations within BBSCO when I put them in the music, but I’m not planning to go crazy with articulations, really just want staccato, pizzicato, marcato, con sord, arco… OK - so do I need to admit to myself I’m going to need to dive in and customize the expression map til I like it better?

Can you describe how you’re doing that, exactly? If you were using a different Expression map – e.g “Default” or “Modulation Wheel Dynamics”, then you cannot be triggering ANY of the effects within BBCSO.

What do you have set for “Ex. Map:” here, where it say “BBCSO Core Strings”…?

I suspect that you need to make sure that you’re using it correctly, first of all.

Can you provide a sample project file with your current configuration? (It doesn’t have to have any notes!)

I have finally fixed the issue.

To make pizzicato or any other expression:

Library > Expression Maps
Choose or create an expression map on left column
Under Base and Add On Switches, press + to add Base Switch
Choose the expression (pizz, marcato, etc.)
Under Actions in center box, press the KEY button to Add Key Switch Note Action
Put the Key Switch piano in (replace C3)
(TO FIND WHAT KEY SWITCH - I found mine by going to edit the BBCSO VST sound, choosing the pizz. sound and reading the key switch there)
Save Expression Map and close
Go to Play tab
Go to the desired instrument track
Route the instrument “Ex. Map” to the Expression Map you just made or edited

Be sure arco and pizz are in a mutual exclusion group if you have not already.

Thanks - this is the advice I’m needing as it’s staying stuck in pizz.!

I am having trouble with it responding to PIZZ and ARCO in the music. It just seems to stay on one or the other. What am I missing?

You really need to supply an example file, otherwise we are just guessing.

John Barron has already performed all these steps for BBCSO instruments, so you shouldn’t need to re-do his work.