Scoring for small musical

I started scoring my first musical in Sibelius 5 about a year ago. Although I may run the premiere of it from backing tracks, I wanted to score it to learn something about scoring for a small ensemble. Anyway, after struggling to get the thing anywhere near what I wanted, I have about half of the first act done and a couple of the numbers from the 2nd act. As Dorico is now with us, it seems a better idea to start the thing from scratch in Dorico.

So, having dispensed with the idea of scoring it for orchestra, I’ve cut the musicians down to flute (doubling sop & alto sax), oboe (doubling alto) and clarinet (doubling ten. sax and bass clarinet), trumpet, trombone, electric guitar (doubling acoustic), bass guitar, piano, keyboard (for strings, harp and other synth pads) and drums. A band of ten musicians.

I have the main characters down as ‘solo players’ along with ‘male chorus’ and ‘female chorus’.

My question is, is there a way to change the voices in playback to match the keyboard doubling? I want the score to automatically add the correct patch if I change from ‘strings’ to harp etc.

There’s probably no good way of producing the right kinds of sound changes on your keyboard instrument at the moment. You could possibly do it by way of handling a specific playing technique with a MIDI program change, if the device that is playing your keyboard instrument back responds to MIDI program changes, of course – if you’re using HALion I’m afraid I don’t think it does. But perhaps you could use something like the sfz soundfont player, and load a General MIDI soundbank into it, then define an expression map that produces program changes in response to particular playing techniques.

I’m afraid I don’t have any time to really try this out myself right this minute, but if you’re feeling adventurous and technically minded you could give it a go, and let me know how you get on.

Thanks for the reply Daniel. When I learned Sibelius 5 (about ten years ago) I ended up using it withan Emu IV sampler. I seem to remember that I could put text expressions that could be hidden which effected a change in the voicing of the part. Of course, hardware has fallen by the wayside now, to be replaced with massive libraries and a single Tb drive. I’m presuming this is the goal of Dorico? That certain expressions in the score, will pull in the correct sample to reproduce the score? I’ve just voted with my wallet, so there’s a lot of learning to be done, especially with the dual touchscreen that I’m trying with Dorico.

Yes, basically you would create a playing technique in the music (or eventually a more direct MIDI message event of some kind), and by mapping that onto a specific set of MIDI instructions in the VST Expression Map, this would produce the appropriate sound you want.