Tchaikovsky and Dorico


While fighting to build my expression maps for the full VSL VI, I did a test on Dorico. Just a few edits to the dynamics and note length (but many more to tempo).

As you know, making notation sound expressive is no easy task. I think Dorico is giving us the right tools.


Oh my goodness… excellent. The level of realism continues to rise. Well done, Paolo.

Thank you for listening, Dan!


Very good work, ptram. Gotta love any Tchaikovsky. Producing this from a notation program is quite an achievement, both for yourself and for Dorico. Not Cubase, but that would be comparing apples and oranges.

Keep up the good work!

Thank you, DaddyO! Dorico is not Cubase, but it can be even better. For example, consider that most dynamics are done just writing them in the score. The same for the choice of articulation.

Working on the finer details (and learning better how to use it…) would prevent some of the issues of this mockup. Take for example some abrupt changes in volume, that could be easily fixed by editing/drawing in the control lanes.

It’s really promising – or, better, it is already here, despite in its infancy.


I like the string sound but a few dynamic transitions are transitions really too abrupt at the moment. Is it the venerable Cube you’re using or what exactly? Are you going to continue into the allegro as that would be a really stern test?

I concur. There are two issues to solve with dynamics:

  • Calibrating the velocity curve for the library. I’ve not yet been able to find the right balance.

  • Working hard on modulation (for velocity xf) and expression (for fine-tuning dynamics). The same work to be done with a DAW. Dorico has effective tools (with the only annoyance of not being able to drag a line to an existing point, and having the final point be merged with the existing one).

  • Working hard on attacks and releases. This also contributes greatly to the perceived dynamics. And it’s the same work to do on a DAW.

Also, I’m not sure Dorico has a “magnetic latch” between notes and CC points, so that if you make fine adjustments to the ones, you also have the other following. This is some additional work to consider.

The library I’m using is indeed the “old” VSL VI collection. I would really love to also work on the other movements. Which of the Allegros are you suggesting? The “scherzo” would be a great test on agility and loudness.


Here is an example of what you can do by smoothing out the attack and release time. This latter is less apparent, but is there. Drawing them in Play mode, on more track in parallel, is extremely easy.


This is how VSL’s VI Celli respond to a gradual dynamic increase from ppppp to fffff, by leaving the initial settings of Dorico unchanged:


that short extract is sounding nice now! Please ignore my remark about the “allegro”. I was so focussed on the rendering rather than the music first time that I somehow mixed up the first and last movements of the Pathetique so I actually meant the “allegro non troppo” of the first movement. Hardly surprising you were confused! The “scherzo” is of course a powerful march in this symphony but I think the volatility and dramatic contrasts of the allegro would be harder to bring off.

Something like the Symphonic Cube will give more potential than the Special Edition which I use for orchestral music and is no longer so astronomically expensive as it used to be as VSL is pushing the Synchronized versions and probably won’t do its own VI Dorico EM’s. It’s not a small endeavour you’re embarked on.

Thank you for the hint! It’s an incredibly contrasting music, and I will also prefer to work on it. There is a lot to learn in that piece!

VSL’s full edition is a lot more nuanced than the SE. The essential set (the Cube you are referring to) was on sale for half price recently, and I think it was an exceptional bargain. I still prefer to work with the old, dry sounds and the spatialization software (MIR). Even if I love the rich sound of the new BBO libraries!

In the meantime, I tried a new, “smoothed” version of small mockup. [EDIT: File replace with one with more work on dynamics and attacks].