Playing Techniques and Dynamics

I noticed today that adding certain types of modifiers seems to “cancel” the playing techniques that are defined by note length conditions.

In the example below, I have set up short upbows and downbows triggered by note length <=Short condition. They work perfectly fine except when sfz or accents are added (individually or in combination), in which case the playing technique reverts to the parent (upbows and downbows without defined length).


When I add these modifiers to the “parent” playing techniques that do not have a note length condition attached everything seems to work as expected.

I’ve never seen this before and wonder if there is something I’m overlooking here?

Appreciate any ideas. Thanks.

Do you have dynamics defined as playback techniques in your expression maps?

No, none at all, only playing technique combinations. Here’s the list:

Do you have any base or add-on switches defined for e.g. the accent?

I checked to make sure I haven’t previously defined anything for sfz or accents and indeed I have not. Here’s the expression map. Thanks, Daniel! (2.5 KB)

I’ve been looking at this for the last hour or so, and basically what it comes down to is that the requested combination of pt.accent + pt.downbow isn’t available, and the current logic that Dorico has for choosing techniques (detailed here) doesn’t explicitly try to find the closest matching switch that also happens to match the note length condition, so it ends up matching the “05 Downbow” switch.

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Thanks Daniel, yes I was starting to suspect that unless I made a mistake I’d better set up that combination manually.

You mentioned in that post that some techniques are hard coded in the ranked priority order. Is it possible to share that ranking? I imagine note length would be at the very bottom, won’t it.

And by the way, would I mess things up or help myself if I define fallbacks for playing techniques? That’s sounds quite intriguing and maybe a helpful tool!

In general I don’t think defining fallbacks for playback techniques is necessary, unless you are trying to set up a playback technique that other people would use. You can set up everything you want to set up for your own purposes, without needing to worry about fallbacks, I would have thought.

Going back over the logic described in that other post, it seems quite clear now that my case is related to Rule #3.

I have a gap that’s simply too big between the number of elements combined in the score (4 or 5: like downbow, accent, sfz, legato and note length) and the best match expression map entry (just 2 elements: downbow and note length). Since the missing elements have the same ranking, Dorico decides to prioritize the dynamics as it always does, and I suppose this is why it disregards my note length conditions.

The solution in my case looks trivially simple: copy-pasting the problem entries and adding one more element (e.g. accent, or legato) for cases like that. This ensures I have at least 3 elements defined out of 4 or 5 used in the score and it seems to be all that Dorico needs.

This was a useful eye opener. Thanks, Daniel.