Playing divisi with different sounds


I would like to play divisi with different sounds libraries. That is, for example, totally separate solo violins in a strings section played by individual violins from the VSL Dimension Strings library; separate desk with pair of VSL Dimension Strings violins, each violin on its own channel, but paired by couple on each staff; and the ensemble played by the VSL Orchestral Strings library.

I read in the manual that Dorico can’t currently play divisi lines on separate channels (a feature planned for the future). What to do, as of now? Just using separate instruments for the same section player, and then hide or display them as needed?


This is possible in Dorico 3 using independent voice playback, which is a new feature (not available in Dorico 2). Please see pages 38 following in the Dorico 3 Version History.

I have a related though somewhat different question. In the VSL SE vol 5 is the intro Dimension Strings library. To change player combinations (Synchron version), you simply activate C0 level keyswitches – straightforward enough. To do this in Dorico, I’m assuming you’ll have to define new playback techniques like “solo” “tutti” or “divisi 1” etc and allocate them to the various keyswitches you want to use. There’s not a cleverer way to do it using the existing options for section players is there?

You should be able to do that using playing techniques, yes.

fine – I’ll do it that way.

Creating the new playback entries and assigning them is the easy part – the rest is not quite so simple. In theory, it should be possible to simply add a single keyswitch to change the player configuration with the remaining parts of the articulation tree staying as they are which is what happens if you control in real time. But of course Dorico doesn’t work like that. I get the impression that you often need to re-define all the elements of the VSL Synchron tree e.g players C0 + Sordino A0 + Articulation C1 + Type C2. But I can’t yet find a way in which everything works correctly.

Has anyone created a VSL Synchron Dimension Strings Expression Map of any sort – including the full version? If not, it would still be helpful to get the clear principles (if there even are any as I understand that Dorico remains somewhat temperamental with multiple articulations) on creating relatively complex configuration like this. The VSL Sibelius map doesn’t even try though using technique text there are supposedly ways to create one.

Correct me if I’m wrong but one respect in which it seems that the Expression Maps in Dorico differ from the Sib. soundsets is the concept in the latter of simply switching off an articulation with a minus sign. This means that in the Sib. soundset, you can for instance switch off mute without replacing it with something else and everything works OK there (after I corrected a significant error in the VSL supplied soundset). In Dorico you have to stop it doing something by telling it to do something else. Now this is not an issue in simpler instruments but if you, say, want to change a detache within a mute to ord, this would normally kick you out of mute altogether rather than just change the articulation while retaining the mute. This can be done by repeating the con sord (and hiding it in the score) together with ord. In a test piece everything works fine until after the con sord where I still get one or two oddities I’m so far at a loss to explain.

Anyone with considerable experience in creating Dorico Expression maps like to give a few dos and don’ts for this kind of situation, particular regarding mutual exclusion groups which don’t always do what I’d expect? I must say that before I embarked on this venture, I’ve found creating your own EM in Dorico easier than expected with good reliability but still have a lot to learn

UPDATE seem to have ironed out the difficulties and am well underway with adding the player configurations. I’m guessing there are no shortcuts here.