(Question) regarding playback technique combinations


I’m new to Dorico so I must be missing something important here regarding playback technique combinations. I thought that if I add a playback technique combinations (not a single playback technique, for example a trill + accent rather than trill alone, because I want to trigger very specific sound that is at the same time trill and accented), AND if I give a note a trill + accent, it should trigger that very sound (accented trill). But it seems like Dorico doesn’t get this and simply play the normal trill.

Am I missing anything or am I misunderstanding the function entirely? Thanks!


You’re not misunderstanding entirely, but when Dorico triggers a sampled trill, it triggers either a half-step or a whole-step trill, each of which has its own playback technique, so you need to define combinations for both of those.

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I’m afraid that is not the case, since I’m using orchestral tools library, where there is only one trill triggered by one keyswitch (there are others like trill single & trill sforzando, but no separation between half-step trill & WT trill). The interval of the trill is determined via CC3. So I don’t see why I need to define combinations for both. So these are the steps I’ve done so far (to create trill sforzando):

  1. Creating a playing technique called trill short, which already existed in the trill tab on the right zone but not in the wind technique.
  2. Assigning it to a newly created playback technique also called trill short
  3. In expression map, create a base switch with combination sfz + Trill short, and rought the keyswitch to B-2 which is trill sforzando in Sine Player.
  4. In write mode, create a note with the trill short and sfz.
    Screen Shot 2023-01-14 at 00.10.24
  5. Hit play but dorico playbacks natural.

I may be misremembering, but I don’t believe dynamics in Dorico actually give rise to playback techniques, so if you want to trigger a specific sfz articulation, you may need to define a playing technique to create at the same position (it can be hidden if you like).

You can see what playback techniques Dorico is actually resolving in the playing techniques lane in the Key Editor.


After many trials and errors I found that that’s not true but you did inspire me to find out the answers. I think I’ve solved the logic behind all of these AND I’d like to offer some workaround & suggestions to Steinberg. Here are them:

  1. Dynamic can trigger playback technique. It’s present in BOTH Library>playback technique window as one of the four groups AND playback technique combination window in Expression Map.
    Screen Shot 2023-01-14 at 01.18.23

  2. The reason why nothing happens after I added trill & sfz to the note is hence NOT dynamic but the trill. The short trill I added from the ornaments panel is ORNAMENT, not TECHNIQUE (two of the four groups of playback techniques). HOWEVER, unlike Dynamics which can directly trigger Expression Map, these ornaments can NOT do so; one more obvious difference is that dynamic can be found in pt combi window (playback technique combination), but ornaments do not show up. For example in my case, I should be able to add in EM a playback technique called “short trill”, add the short trill sign to a note from the ornaments tab, and done. But apparently there is no “short trill” in the pt combi window in EM, & even if I added a “short trill” manually in playback techniques window and choose it in pt combi window it doesn’t work, because the ornament can’t trigger that playback technique.

  3. My workaround is to create a “short trill” technique (rather than using ornaments) so I can then link to a playBACK technique with the same name and then choose that.technique under the EM pt combi window. In this case short trill + sfz work fine. Dynamic does trigger the articulation as I desired.

  4. I have two suggestions (for Dorico Team) that might be helpful:
    -First is to allow the ornaments to be selected in the EM pt combi window so ornaments can trigger articulation just like the dynamics.
    -The second is to add the ornaments to the playing technique window so they can be manually (or better, automatically) linked to appropriate playback techniques and let’s go from there. Right now adding ornaments to playing techniques manually won’t work because Dorico won’t recognize them as ornaments.

BTW I’d like to know your name. Thanks for your help!

To see the name of anybody on the forum who has chosen to provide their name, click on their little avatar picture, which will show their user card. You’ll see that my name is “Daniel at Steinberg” but that’s not the name my parents gave me. :slight_smile: My name is Daniel Spreadbury, and I’m Dorico’s product manager.

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