Playback issue: staccato changes playing technique temporarily

I am starting a course on how to use Dorico SE for chamber arrangement soon and came across this issue.

In this project, using the standard Dorico sounds with Dorico SE, the pizz. in bar 13 in the Cello plays as arco. The next notes play correctly. If I delete the staccato only on the A-flat, the next notes sound arco, although being pizz. before.
These kind of small issues will be probably quite confusing for beginners, so it would be good to know how to avoid them.

Liszt - Liebestraume Trio.dorico (1.6 MB)

I just removed the pizz, then reapplied it (to the first note only) and normal service was restored in bar 13. I have no idea why!

Thanks, I will try that. Funny, as the pizz was applied by me not too long before.

(I’m not sure if Dorico SE includes HSO. I seem to recall there being no pizz playback available in SE. Worth checking!)

A similar problem was discussed not long ago here. There is something going on with the expression map of HSO and the note length/presence of rests when you have pizz. and staccato at the same time: if you select the notes in cello an put them them to dotted halfs, the pizz. works as expected.
(I was trying to edit the expression mapfor HSO, combining pizz.+stacc. but didn’t found a solution…
Maybe @John_at_Steinberg , who provides us with so many nice Expression Maps :slight_smile: can give some advice if there is something going on with the expression map in HSO in presence of pizz. and stacc.? And how to correct this behaviour?)

It works, but not consistently

Yes, the interesting thing is that it mostly works and just seem to trip on some notes or even following notes. And other notes which worked don’t work depending on if a note before has a staccato or not.
Anyhow it seems to be a know problem, sorry for double reporting this.

There may be two separate issues. (I agree there may be issues with the factory playback of Pro, particularly around the built-in articulations in combination with some playing/playback techniques. Though I’ve not found a pattern).

If you are setting up a course for SE users, you need to be certain they can access the capabilities of your exercises. AFAIK SE cannot access HSO sounds, hence cannot use pizz.

Do you mean me starting dorico as SE although having a Pro License will access more sounds than usual SE?
Would I need to apply the „smallest“ playback template to have the same sound set? (I thought launching it as SE would take care of that)

As already mentioned, I think there are two different things to bear in mind here.

One is that the cello in your project is using the “HSO Cello Solo” expression map, and this has separate entries for “Pizzicato” and “Staccato”. This means that if you write something that with both pizzicato and staccato at the same time you may end up with unpredictable results. You could consider adding a “Pizzicato+Staccato” entry to the expression map if you think you are going to use this combination.

The other is that you are using the “Iconica Sketch, HSO, HALion Sonic Sel., Olympus” playback configuration, but users of Dorico SE will not have access to Iconica Sketch, HSO or Olympus Choir Micro. You might want to use the “HALion Sonic Selection” playback configuration instead.

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Hi @Richard_Lanyon , I tried this way but it doesn’t seem to work either…Any suggestion on how to do this?
After creating and applying the HSO Cello Solo EM with combined articulation (Pizz.+Stacc.), giving it the key switch of pizz. only (so it should apply pizz. into Halion, when combinations of pizz.+stacc. in the music, if I understand how it works…) it keeps showing “internal effect: Staccato” in the mouse over of the affected notes, and keeps sounding like short arco (stacc.). How can be this “internal effect:xxx” be influenced/changed inside the expression map? (do Mutual Exclusion Groups have to do with this? The documentation doesn’t help, or maybe I looked in the wrong place…?)

(expression map with combined pizz.+stacc)
Edited HSO Cello Solo (pizz.&stacc.) (1.9 KB)

You can’t disable the internal effect - the internal effects of articulations are those that change the duration (e.g. for staccato) and dynamics (e.g. for accent) - but you can edit them in Playback Options and in the Playback Options Overrides in the expression map. However, internal effects don’t make a difference to how the expression map is used to choose a patch/switch, and the playback technique area in your screenshot looks correct - I don’t think you should get “arco” playback. Can you attach a project in which this goes wrong, rather than a doricolib file?

(I don’t think Mutual Exclusion Groups are relevant here.)


Than you for the clarification :slight_smile:

As you can see in the video, the first note of bar 13 and the second note of bar 14 in cello are triggering the legato fast articulation in Halion, despite the fact that they are in pizz. (from the first note of the piece) with added staccato on some notes. I attach the file (what was posted by @klafkid previously, so I hope it is ok to repost it) with my modified EM für Solo cello, but that doesn’t seem to change the result… Thank you for any advice:

Liszt - Liebestraume Trio CHANGED EM.dorico (1.6 MB)

Yes, it’s a 15 min “arrangement” of the Sample Project provided with Dorico :wink:
I am really not well educated in the playback side of dorico, so appreciate anyone chiming in on this.

Some schools of thought discourage combining pizz with staccato. One can always shorten the note value to tell the player to mute the note quickly.


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I agree: stacc. where pizz. is already present is in most cases (99%) redundant and unnecessary. I made a quick search: no staccato in the whole Haydn string Quartets pizzicato passages, neither in Ravel String Quartet in F.

Only in Mahler 8th Symphony, I mov., I found one instance of it:

(But nevertheless, the issue in this thread I think is about how generally Dorico works in cases when multiple playing techniques/articulations could appear at the same time, and how to manage this through the Expression map.)

And at that tempo, staccato dots couldn’t possibly make a difference. BTW, I checked – In the composer’s manuscript only the oboes have dots there. Perhaps it was a foolish consistency on the part of an editor.

(P.S. How did you find this??)

You’re right, I think there is something unexpected happening here - I have logged it for someone in the development team to look at. Thanks.

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In high strings, pizz. decays so fast, staccato dots are really nonsensical, but in cellos/basses, I can see a use for them to indicate immediate damping, especially with open strings. Personally, in such a case, I’d add something like secco to make that extra clear. In practice, an orchestrator will often be happy with whatever reverb they can get from a plucked string, so it’s rare.