Playback techniques as a general switch


I’m borrowing the term from VSL, but I guess it can be a clear metaphor for other players. What I’m trying to do is to have a playing technique switch to a different set of patches, and let the other playing techniques select from that initial selection.

Take the con sordino articulation. In my preset, I may have a Regular top row, and a Con sordino top row. After a playing/playback technique has selected one of them, I want all the subsequent techniques to continue selecting from there.


The Muted playback technique works fine in selecting the Con sordino top of the row. After that, all other playing techniques seem to be ignored.

Is this because the initial Muted technique prevents the other techniques to be recognized, since there would be two techniques at the same time, and Dorico has to choose just one of them?

At the same time, it doesn’t work even if the Muted techniques is an AddOn. Maybe this is because the AddOn comes before the other techniques?

Apart for creating specific playback techniques for muted+articulation combinations, do you see a viable alternative to just have a single switch for mute on and mute off?


is it possible to see the tree structure for the relevant instrument? Does the con sord map all the patches exactly the same as “regular”? In something like the Dimension Strings SE, as you can see below, the con/senza sord have their own separate part of the tree and as the C1 and further columns are the same in both modes, you can use an add-on switch.

If however, the subsequent parts of the tree don’t match then and/or there are only some selected articulations, you’d likely need to specify them in full as combinations in the EM as I have had to do in the orchestral SE maps.

You got it! No, the structure is not exactly the same. This is Regular:

And this is Con sordino:

Obviously not identicaly, even if based on the same general map.

I have to decide between remaking the shorter branches (Con sordino, Sul tasto, and Sul ponticello) identical to the Regular one, or create separate entries in the map. Maybe the former would be a more elegant solution.


I’d probably alter the branches in VSL if it’s not too much effort as it’s likely to be more transparent than in the EM. Anyway, looks like you’ve got the general idea!

Judging from the quick test I just did (being sure the muted Longs and Shorts branches have the same structure), it doesn’t seem to work. As soon as Muted Legatos are selected, they don’t seem to want to go back to a non-legato Long or to Staccatos.

Wonder what I’m doing wrong.


Am I correct in assuming you have the Dimension Strings bundle? It’s just that the normal and con sord patches are in different libraries. Or possibly something else altogether? It would be great if someone else owns your library and could do a comparison check. What I do in the SE version isn’t necessarily replicable but if you’re still stuck after a bit more investigation then you could maybe post an example EM and perhaps there’s something that doesn’t look quite right.

Yes, the original bundle have Regular and Con sordino in different libraries. But I made my own presets, blending all the available SYzd Dimension Strings libraries.

Going on experimenting, I’ve tried to also replicate the starting articulation in a change (Legato), not only the target one (Longs). It still doesn’t work.

But it is probably something I can’t find. Switching works great between Regular and Sul G, Sul D, and so on. These have the same patches as the Regular one, and were originally programmed in a mirror way. So, maybe what I edited more contains some difference that makes impossible the Muted switch.

Both Muted (standard) and Sul G (custom) playback techniques are of the Direction type, so that’s not the difference.

Anyway, the Regular and Sul X branches are incredibly complicated in the complete library. So, maybe it is more savvy to keep the shorter ones (Con sordino, Sul Tasto, Sul ponticello) as simple as possible, and add the double techniques in the expression map.

Not funny, but since my presets are symmetrical, I will only do the editing in a single map, and not on five presets.


If you have exactly the same structure in every “play mode” (regular, open, sul, sord., tasto, pont), replacing missing articulation by equivalents, and then use add-on switches to trigger the first level of your tree, it works fine. Of course these first level KS shouldn’t be included in the normal switches. So you’re basically telling Dorico in which of the branches it should look for the subsequent articulations / switches. I didn’t try it with the Synchron player but it works perfectly with the VI player.

So, I’ll try to create equivalent duplicated articulations in the shorter branches. But this would in any case be a huge undertaking (the equivalent of fifteen new presets!), so I should evaluate it with care.

Take, for example, the Portamento in the Regular branch:

It would have to be entirely recreated in Con sordino and the other alternatives:


No you don’t : C#0 will trigger portamento in both case. In your regular branch (and open and sul…) you use ctrl B to select the portamento type, Since there’s no data for ctrl B in your con sord portamento patch, ctrl B won’t trigger anything there. If you want to double proof it, you could add a ctrl b column to your sord branch and just put an extra single portamento slot which will cover value 1-127 on the cc assigned to ctrl b.
From what I see, you’ll have more work on the 3rd column (C0). For example, you’ll probably have to repeat your “sord-normal” cell in D0, D#0 and E0 in case you write sord + marcato in your score for example.
Even if you can save yourself with cutting and pasting, it’s still a lot of work, but you’ll end up saving so much time on the maps, specially when you want to make subsequent adjustements to them. I ended up with a single very slick map for all my VSL strings (solo, chamber, orch., dimension and solo synchron), 1 for woodwinds and 1 for brass.
Normally the complications come with patches like natural harmonics, gliss… But somewhere in the forum, somebody suggested to combined X-map and perc. map which might simplify a lot of things.
By the way, why to you have your 8 players at the end? Just curious. I can’t figure it out.

So it should work. However, something else is happening somewhere else in my presets, since selection is stuck to a particular patch, for reasons I can’t yet understand.

I did more or less the same with my VI libraries. A single schema, and the consequent map, is used for all the strings and wind instruments. I a change is needed, I have to edit all my presets, but the map only once.

I couldn’t do the same with percussions, since they are too varied. But I managed to give the presets some common organization, so they are now coherent.

Making a general map took a couple years, between thinking to the schema, trying it against real use, and making all the presets (thank you, Cmd-Alt-W trick!). And I’m still refining the presets. I agree the most elegant solution would be to do the same with Synchron presets, but I’ve met two issues:

  • Again, it’s a lot of work. I’m not sure I want to do it, especially in these apocalyptic times. (“What have you done of your life?” “Presets!”).

  • Synchron and Synchronized libraries’ schemas are not compatible. I’ve tried to find a common organization, but they don’t match. There are things that are in one and are not in the other. Things like soft attack and release, or speed and length of legato, staccato and détaché, require a different tree structure.

With Dimension Strings, the Player[n] cells at the end are the real patches. The actual samples are there.

VSL’s presets have a row for selecting the number of players sounding at the same time at the beginning of the tree. I removed them, since turning players on/off can be done from the Mixer page. I like to create my own ensembles, so I don’t need the selection row.


I’ve experimented a bit, and found that creating the missing articulations in the Con sordino branch would be useful anyway. For example: not being able to xfade between different degrees of vibrato con sordino is an omission that would impact on my scores.

So, I’m simulating the missing patches by mixing them, and it seems it can work fine enough.


I found a solution for this issue. It was easy, but I had to find it.

First of all, I kept the different branches of the preset as symmetrical as possible, but not trying to fill the voids. In any case, missing techniques are replaced by the default one in that branch.

Then, I used all addons, instead of base techniques, to select the ‘Position’ (regular, sul pont, sord…).

To go back to Regular I had to use the senza sordino → Open 1 technique. This is the antidote to the con sordino → Mute technique. And it works.