Playback of sustain pedal markings

I’m curious as to how accurate the playback of sustain pedal markings will be, when compared to the current software offerings. It’s virtually impossible to position them in Sibelius in such a way that provides both an accurate notational representation and desirable playback.

Hopefully, when a pedal marking is drawn in Dorico, it will actually play what is written. Or perhaps this will be something that is easily accessed via a MIDI CC lane in Play mode, providing incredibly accurate starts and stops of sustains.

Piano pedal lines are not implemented yet, so it’s hard to give a definite answer on this, but in general the way that notations that have a specific duration are handled in Dorico is that we use the semantic length of the object to determine both its position and its eventual effect on playback. A hairpin, for example, is created by selecting the range of notes over which the hairpin should take effect, and the hairpin is then created with a specific rhythmic duration adding up to the total duration from the start of the note on which it begins to the end of the note on which it ends, and Dorico then uses this information in conjunction with the graphical positions of the notes in the score to determine the optimal length of the hairpin.

I anticipate that pedal lines will work the same way: you will specify the note at which the pedal should be dpressed, the point(s) at which it should be lifted and pressed again, and the eventual final lift point, and Dorico will create an appropriate line with each of the articulation points in the correct places, and this semantic information will eventually be used in playback as well.

Excellent! I had hoped that would be the case, in the most general sense.

The key thing here is that the pedal markings will be stored at their rhythmic positions, and that defines exactly the point that they will play back, rather than their drawn position. We expect that you will be able to change these easily, and set the visual offset (dx) independently to get both the played effect and drawn effect that you want.

The problem with pedals, especially sustain but also una corda, is that now in MIDI it’s no more a on/off command, but a continuous one, allowing various degrees of half pedals. For instance my Clavinova transmits exactly this kind of pedal, but it’s rarely considered by different sequencers…

I agree with Alberto - simple “on/off” MIDI pedalling only really “works” with a low quality virtual piano (I’ve no idea what is in Halion!) On a better quality sample set (or a physically modelled instrument like Pianoteq) a quick “up and down” pedal change will have virtually no effect on the bass of the instrument. Humans playing acoustic pianos use that behaviour deliberately.

In Finale you can create a “smart shape” that mimics the finite speed of depressing the pedal, which works better. Maybe you will be able to do something similar with “expression maps” in Dorico, eventually?

The best playback option is to get a continuous-response MIDI piano pedal and record the pedalling live, just like any other MIDI controller - but you might not want to spend time learning how to play it!