Through the use of a 3rd party utility that appears as an AUv3 instrument, musicians can route MIDI to non AUvs3 instruments. The utility suite (MIDI Tools) is very low cost (£4.49) and is made by Victor Porof (also responsible for the highly regarded AUv3 piano-roll - Atom 2). The specific tool within the suite is called MIDI Route and is exceptionally easy to use. You simply load it as an AUv3 instrument plugin and tell it where to route the MIDI and which MIDI channel to use.
For example, you can use this utility to route your MIDI from Dorico to an IAA only plugin such as SampleTank. The importance of SampleTank, in particular, is that you can purchase an iOS version of the Miroslav Philharmonik 2 library for SampleTank and this provides what is probably the best quality orchestral library on iOS (outside of those that can only be used with StaffPad), with the widest set of articulations (cost, approx. £50).
When it comes to articulation playback, neither Dorico iOS nor SampleTank iOS provides the facility for key-switching articulations so you’ll need to create separate players for each articulation but this is still a huge improvement on using the bundled Steinberg Microsonic sample playback plugin.
In the future, it would be great if Wallander Instruments could be convinced to make a version of NotePerformer for iOS. The Dorico team could then hopefully utilise the playback template/expression maps from the desktop version and include them in the iOS version of Dorico. NotePerformer is ideal for iOS as it’s such an economical plugin in terms of storage requirements.
However, I think a better and more flexible idea would be for Dorico iOS to have its own articulation switching ‘plugin’, that looks for low octave MIDI note triggers to route the MIDI to different AUv3 instances (other typical modulation switching approaches such as mod-wheel and MIDI CC’s would hopefully be utilised too). The benefit here, is that the musician will be able to use any AUv3 plugin instance for each articulation (inclusive of the wonderful collection of synthesis AUv3’s on iOS such as those from Moog). You never know, it might even coax a future Wendy Carlos from the iOS musician community.
The obvious end game here is that articulations and dynamics should be interpreted from the score as one would expect from a notation program. As great as Dorico iOS is in terms of its desktop-class parity, if playback can’t utilise articulation and dynamics markings, this will remain a major weakness for most iOS musicians. Especially those that have already invested in StaffPad.
I’m not sure if there are any Ableton Live users amongst the Dorico development team? If there are, there’s a great Max for Live addon called KeySwitch & Expression Map for Ableton Live, that could serve as suitable inspiration for a native key switching ‘plugin’ within Dorico iOS. And the development effort needn’t be solus to Dorico iOS, elements could hopefully be brought across to the desktop version of Dorico, to allow musicians greater expression map freedom than the articulation mappings provided in-engine by the likes of the Kontakt and ARIA players.