Setting note octave for playback (not staff position)

I am writing parts for synthesizer where the synthesizer covers many different parts using either different ranges of the keyboard (splits) or different “registrations” to bring in/out different sounds. Each of these sounds can be themselves octave shifted up or down. I write all of my charts to match physical keyboard notes such that assuming one presses the right buttons to bring in/out the correct sounds - the notes will always be proper for placement of fingers on the right black/white keys.

In order for the playback of notes to sound correct in playback - groups of notes (representing different sounds) need to be shifted up or down without changing the placement on the staff. Is there a way to select notes and assign a playback octave - even such that perhaps a group of up-stem notes are in a different octave than written vs. the down-stem? I’m not concerned about upstem vs. downstem having any meaning to the octave - ultimately I would like to highlight any arbitrary note or group of notes and shift around the playback octave of these notes.

It’s almost like I’d like to be able to assign each note in a harmonic vertical its own MIDI channel and assign octave offset by MIDI channel. This would work too (to have 16 different “channels” with different octave offsets and assign any note in the score to a different MIDI channel). This would match, in essence, how the synthesizer works that would be the instrument targeted for these scores.

Sure. If you turn on independent voice playback, each voice can have its own MIDI channel, and you can then set patches and transpositions for each channel separately, like so:

To the best of my knowledge (and this is one of my blind spots) you’d probably want to give your human player dumb text to let them know what they’re going to hear (and in which octave). It may be possible to automate the switch of channel via a visible, voice-specific, custom playing technique, but it’s not something I’ve ever really investigated. Hopefully someone more knowledgeable on the playing technique side of things will pitch in.

I’m also not sure if there’s a possibility of running out of channels in order to to a whole show faithfully (assuming this is musical theat(er/re)). On some more recent shows I’ve programmed Mainstage sets with upwards of 300 patch changes over the course of a show (and if there are two or three keyboards, well…). I guess if you’re writing each song as a separate project you’d probably be ok, but if you’re running a whole show through a single Dorico project then potentially you have a lot of voices to keep track of.

Thanks for the tip - setting voices works for me although the system is a bit more clunky than I am accustomed to. Rather than vent on growing pains - I’ll just communicate this:

After setting the voices (only 2 so far) and getting those to work - I was forced to reload my project (due to a crash). All of the voice assignments were fine. However, playback of the first 8 measures on the default downstem voice 1 setting was playing voice 2’s instrument.

Inspecting further, I click on any of the notes in measures 1-8 in write mode and see the voice assignment shows “Note: XXX (Up-stem Voice 1)”. This is as seen in the bottom status line when selecting any of these notes. However, when I go to “Play” mode if I select “Up-stem Voice 1” as the filter - none of the notes from Measures 1-8 display in the piano roll. I do see the notes when I show “Up-stem Voice 2”. And this matches playback because (now) the 1st 8 measures play the instrument assigned to Voice 2.

I’ve tried “Reset Playback Overrides” thinking maybe there’s something in the playback section overriding the write mode settings. That didn’t help.

Before the crash these notes were playing correctly.

In write mode, I try to set the voice back to “Up-stem Voice 1” forcibly - nothing changes. The status line continues to call these notes “Up-stem Voice 1” but play mode doesn’t recognize them that way. If I try to force, in write mode, the notes to Voice 2 - the notes no longer sound at all. Almost as if the voice value for play-mode is now incorrectly write-mode+1.

Does your instrument have multiple staves?

Write mode uses separate numbering per staff e.g. the first voice on the top staff is Up-stem Voice 1, but the first voice on the bottom staff is another Up-stem Voice 1. Play mode shows one track per instrument, so has to use one set of numbers per instrument, e.g. the first voice on the top staff is probably Up-stem Voice 2.

I’m not sure whether anything’s in the pipeline to fix this discrepancy in future versions, but I know that it’s come up before.

This is the “Synthesizer” instrument with a grand staff. The bass clef “Up-stem Voice 1” is a different color than the treble clef “Up-stem Voice 1”. However, I must misunderstand the entire system if Voice 1 Up-stem notes in write mode do not play on the same MIDI channel. My task today is to set only two different MIDI channels for any arbitrary note in the score no matter the clef.

After getting more acquainted with the system it seems the best thing is to “let go” of any meaning to the voice designations in Write mode because, for my application, it doesn’t matter what the notes are “called” in write mode. Since write mode and play mode do not agree and are different - I need to just score my parts and not worry about the voice labeling in write mode - at least not to relate to any given MIDI channel. Only use Play mode to assign the MIDI channels and use Play mode’s designations. I have to use write mode to designate different voices that are related - but there is no carry-over (absolutely) from Write to Play mode. What does carry over are the arbitrary colors chosen for each “voice” in Write mode - so focus more on the color in Write mode. So I can instead rely on the same color ending up as some unique voice label in play mode. Ok - I think I can let go of any meaning to the voice labels (text on the status line) in Write mode.

Understandably this trips folks up even though there’s a way to get to the final destination by ignoring information the GUI gives you. I guess now I know.

… Edited to correct a few places I wrote “Write” instead of “Play” (mode).