Spitfire BBCSO Expression Map Problem

Hey all,
Ok having a problem with expression maps. I downloaded the Babylonwaves Cubase Expression Maps (latest version)

  1. I created a new score
  2. Added 1 Violin 1
  3. Went to play mode and instantiated BBCSO and loaded the violin 1 patch.
  4. Went to Expression maps and loaded the Violin A
  5. Went back to play mode and clicked on the gear and made sure it said violin > SFSCO violin expression map
  6. clicked save end point config. All good.
  7. I created 8 measures populated them with some notes and playing techniques (legato, colegno, pizz)
    8… Doesn’t work it won’t trigger anything.

Created my own and only used Col Legno, legato, pizz.

Recreated the above steps using my newly created expression maps
It works WOW it works… NOPE.
The problem I am having is as follows.
4 quarter notes in measure 2. First two have been tagged with Col Legno… Second two have been tagged with pizz.
In play mode if you reveal the playing techniques lane you get erratic behavior. Sometimes the very first playing technique is labeled for every note. Sometimes the only way you can change it is by changing the note value.
Right now Pizzicato is the only articulation that can be switched on.


Dorico (latest version)
Spitfire BBCSO (latest Version
Mac Pro trash can

Cubase Expression Maps are not Dorico Expression maps. This would not be expected to work.

Then whey do they have a button that says IMPORT CUBASE EXPRESSION MAP

You can import Cubase expression maps, but not everything in the Cubase map is implemented in Dorico.

Hoping that a set of Cubase maps which claim to support “34,860 Articulations, 3,882 Templates, 213 Supported sample Libraries” will “just work” in Dorico is cough optimistic.

liquidDorito, as far as I know you’re the first person who’s tried to use these expression maps with Dorico. I’ve never set eyes on them myself, so I’ve no idea how they’re set up, but I would be very surprised if they “just worked” with Dorico. One crucial missing piece, for example, will be the lack of mutual exclusion groups, i.e. letting Dorico know which particular expressions cannot be used in combination with each other. You might find that setting up some simple mutual exclusion groups get some things working, but I’m afraid I have no experience of working with these expression maps, so I can’t say.

Is there any way of either Steinberg or Spitfire Audio creating a dedicated expression map for Dorico and BBCSO? If not, could I have some guidance on how to create one myself? In addition, could you also label the MIDI CCs with the corresponding parameters, rather than just the numbers (port, vibrato etc.) because it makes the software unnecessarily difficult to use otherwise?
P.S. I don’t own Cubase (although I wish I did!:joy:).



We don’t have any plans to produce an expression map for Spitfire’s BBC Symphony Orchestra library, but we would be happy to provide support to our friends at Spitfire if they wanted to have a crack at it.


I’ve been having the same problem in Cubase with the BBC library the last week since I’ve bought it but I just managed to solve the problem.
It was quite simple but not so obvious: C-2 in Cubase is recieved as C-1 in the BBC plugin. So if you set all your trigger notes in the expression map one octave down from the keyswitch you want to trigger in BBC it will work.

Finally! Now let’s have some fun…

// Magnus

Hey bEnded, how can you do that?

In the expression maps in Dorico the lowest note I can enter is C-2, but Spitfire’s BBCSO still thinks that is a C-1.
If I enter a ‘0’ in keyswitch actions in expression maps it gives me a C-2, entering -12 in expression maps still gives me a C-2 midi note for keyswitching.

I just can’t get it to work.
I tried transposing in the spitfire player, that didn’t work.
I tried switching middle C to C4 and C5 from C3 in expression maps but that didn’t do anything.

Did you have to switch all the keyswitch settings for each instrument in each instance and keyswitch of the Spitfire player? That’s the only way I can see it working right now and that’s a lot of programming.

I can get keyswtiching to work fine in Digital Performer but can’t get it to work at all in Dorico.

Hello dear colleagues,
Well, still the Expression Maps, and the overall playback in Dorico, needs serious improvement. I have already warned that
the need of creating of Mutual Exclusion Groups and Combined Playing Techniques should be replaced with normally working
playback system, which doesn’t ask the users to create something more than simple KS, CC or Prog. Change, to the articulations
available in the library patches. Everything else should happen automatically.
Daniel promised that they are going to improve this side of Dorico, to work better. :slight_smile: So, we need to be patient. The Team will
make it works as it should.

Best wishes to all,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

gzapper, I don’t have access to the BBCSO player here on my home Mac, but you need to make sure that you follow the same convention for which octave number is used for middle C. Middle C is either C4 or C3, depending on the whim of each manufacturer. This is why there’s a switch in Play > Expression Maps to allow you to specify whether you think of middle C (MIDI note 60) as octave 4 or octave 3. Although you can move the octave in which the keyswitches are located in the BBCSO player, there will no doubt be a default octave, so you should use that in your expression map.

Hi Daniel, thanks for your response.

I think my issues with the BBCSO expression map from Cubase are much deeper. I’m digging deeper into the manual to see if I can understand it all and make it work.

First, yes, setting Middle C to C4 does put it in the right range. There are a lot of other issues with the cubase expression map that made it so it just seemed not to work.

For instance, the cubase expression map doesn’t have a ‘natural’ technique for strings, so it wasn’t switching back to a default key switch.That just confused me and I thought it wasn’t sending the right range for keyswitching. So that means adding in more techniques and as you noted above, putting in exclusion groups. That’s taken a bit of reading of the manual to see how it works.

I spent a few minutes trying to figure out why I can’t add ‘arco’ in expression maps but now realize that I don’t need to as Dorico already sends the ‘natural’ key switch when ‘arco’ is notated. Hopefully I’ll figure out all of that as I go. But I’m not clear where those instructions lie in the program, so its a bit of a hit and miss.

The BBCSO has really nice monophonic legato patches which work great as ‘natural’ unless you’re righting double stops or chords for your sections. Not sure how to do that other than specify ‘longs’ or another playing technique that does the key switching.

Essentially it means I’m really starting over with the cubase BBCSO expression map. I’ll give it a stab and if its working well enough I’ll post it back up here for others to check. Assuming that I can even run the full sample library on my 16gigs of laptop ram.

Thanks for your help and hope you’re keeping healthy in these weird times.

More issues coming up:

Endpoints - It looks like I can save endpoints but can’t figure out where you could load them from. (playback templates?)

  • if they are for playback templates, can you save master endpoint that stores all instruments? BBCSO uses a separate player for each instrument, which means way too many VI’s and endpoints to save
    Expression maps - are they project specific only? Once I build a BBCSO expression map its not available in any other projects?
  • will it show up after a playback template is saved? Not sure the hiererarchy.

Playback templates - is this really the way that it should be built? Does a payback template include expression maps and endpoints?

  • And if this is the way, then you have to load a full instrumentation at once and can’t just add instruments and their expression maps?
  • they are a bit tricky to edit, I accidentally clicked twice on a template and erased a days work


Firstly I’d suggest watching the tutorial video on custom Playback Templates: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PLCOhCXRjEg

Currently, there are two levels of granularity when saving Endpoint Configurations: you can save the configuration for a single entry in the plugin rack, via the Endpoint Setup dialog, or you can save the configuration for all plugins at once (via the icon at the bottom of the VST Instruments panel). This is just the first phase that creates the ‘building blocks’. The next part is that you combine the endpoint configurations together to create a Playback Template. This gives you the flexibility of using one plugin for strings, one for wind, etc, or maybe you want to use a dedicated cello plugin for a solo player, but then render everything else with NotePerformer - that’s pretty trivial to set up.

In terms of how to create endpoint configurations, this depends on the size of the ensemble, the combination of instruments and whether a single plugin plays multiple instruments or just one. If you commonly write for one particular ensemble size (eg ‘Film Orchestra’, ‘String Quartet’), then I would suggest creating a Dorico file as a master template, and set up all the plugins and expression maps in that document as you wish, and then export the endpoint configuration for all plugins at once. If you write for a variety of different ensemble types, then a better approach may be to create several template files, each with a separate section: brass, wind, strings, and then you can combine these together when creating and endpoint. This I think is the most flexible approach, and also means that if you have a score with (eg) a few more horn players than normal then it doesn’t create way more plugin rack entries than it needs to.

It’s currently not possible to edit Endpoint Configurations (there’s not much that’s editable within them - for the most part they’re just a dump of the state of the VST plugin itself), however, I think that you may find old Playback Templates may be in the Recycle Bin/Trash, so check there if you think you may have lost work.

Thanks, Paul.

I had actually watched that video but probably forgot chunks as I was trying to get into expression map programming. It was good to watch through it and confirm the process.

Really the hierarchy is:
Playback templates
Endpoint configurations
Expression maps

So when people ask for expression maps really they should ask for shared playback templates, since it includes so much more programming and expression maps. That makes the entire process much clearer.

It also makes it clearer how I should have programmed exclusions in expression maps though there is still one level of programming there that isn’t entirely clear to me. In the video the example of picking ‘pizzicato’ and ‘bowed’ are shown. Between ‘bowed’ as a technique and ‘arco’ as a written instruction is one level of instructions that isn’t entirely clear. I had looked for ‘arco’ in expression maps and just didn’t program it in since I couldn’t find it, but understand that the term ‘bowed’ covers this and other techniques now. Similarly there isn’t ‘multi tongue’ as an option or ‘tongued’ so wasn’t sure what to pick in expression maps. That leaves me with a bit of guesswork, unfortunately.

This is all because the program works so well, I have to say. I would have normally just written charts and suffered through poor playback but now that this is even possible I’m considering writing cues directly into Dorico. That’s kind of amazing.

Thanks for the help again.

Apologies that it’s not obvious about the relationship between nat, arco and bowed. ‘Arco’ is the name of the Playing Technique object in the score, which triggers a Bowed Playback Playing Technique (aside: we may rename these just ‘Playback Techniques’ to make this very slightly clearer). The Bowed technique is an alias for the ‘Natural’ technique. In Expression Maps the first step is to create the entry for ‘Natural’, and then add pizz, legato, etc.

We’ve tried to cover as many bases as possible with the set of underlying Playback Playing Techniques, but the set won’t be complete. Not all of them have corresponding score objects in the Playing Technique panel, however this still allows you to define your own desired P.T. appearance but trigger a known Playback Playing Technique (and if you can’t find one that’s suitable you can create your own too). I can see that we define Double Tongue, Triple Tongue, Flutter-tongue, Slap Tongue, Tongue and Finger Click, Tongue Click, Tongue Stop. But not ‘tongued’ or ‘multi-tongue’. I’d suggest that you select one that seems the closest - in most cases it doesn’t really matter unless you are sharing expression maps and playback templates with other users.

HI again Paul,

I’ve been plugging away at BBCSO expression map and have it working pretty well but not perfectly. The library is really too much for my 16b gig macbook pro and it takes a good 5 minutes for it to load up enough to work, but when it does its really very satisfying. The library sounds great and the samples really do represent realistic playback, like ppp on brass not as quiet as on strings, in ways that really are closer to balancing instruments by dynamics and parts realistically. Its probably close enough share with those who would want it, and maybe with some community work it could plug the wholes I’ve missed.

There are still issues that I haven’t figured out, some playing techniques just won’t show up in the techniques lane in the Play window for parts. So far its cuivre, flautando and harmonics. I’m pretty sure its not exclusive techniques issues, but not positive. And there is a bit of taste in choosing which way to represent some techniques, as in sometimes the marcato sample isn’t as nice as Dorico’s interpretation, but in some settings it is. But overall its really much more satisfying to write and hear good playback.

The correlation between Playback Playing Techniques and Playing Techniques is still a bit tricky, I haven’t really used ‘legato’ as playing technique, instead its just the ‘natural’ setting which is fine as long as I’m not writing double stops. Choosing a tongue technique is a bit of guesswork and its just something to be aware should the parts go to players. I don’t know if its possible, but a chart of aliases might be handy.

In the Expression Maps window I wish there was a button to fire off messages to test your programming instead of having to go write some examples, play them and watch the plugin window to see its working.

If anyone else is interested in my still fairly rough but mostly working BBCSO expression map, message me.

We’re aware that there’s a lot more to do on expression maps, and we hope to address some of the shortcomings in the future. In terms of the aliases, there’s really only a very small number. Legato is used under a slur, Con Sordino is mapped to muted. Flautando text should map to the flautando playing technique. Notes with the Harmonic property set should map to Natural Harmonics 1 (Natural Harmonics 2 isn’t used at the moment).

There’s a mistake in our default library - Cuivré text should be mapped to the cuivre playing technique, but it’s erroneously mapped to muted instead. We’ll fix this. I think you may be able to change this in the Playing Techniques panel and save it as the default for new scores.

Thanks, Paul.

I’ll see if I can edit Cuivre to work.

Spitfire just announced reduced versions of this library which may make it more responsive. Their core library is probably perfect for scoring.

If I use ‘double tongue’ for the spitfire ‘multi tongue’ sample, does that mean with the aliases that if I use any of Triple Tongue, Flutter-tongue, Slap Tongue, Tongue and Finger Click, Tongue Click, Tongue Stop then Dorico would fire that spitfire ‘multi tongue’ sample?

Those aren’t currently defined as aliases, but you can map those in the expression map too.