Velocity not following dynamics

After many months of failing to grasp even the basics of using VSTs within Dorico (with the exception, thank goodness, of the wonderful NotePerformer), I’ve finally succeeded in getting a simple one-instrument score to sound in Kontakt, used as a container for Heavyocity’s Nylon Guitar. However, as the screenshot shows, the velocities are all at maximum despite the numerous dynamic changes. On the basis of other threads I checked out Playback Template (a feature I haven’t yet explored) and found out that selecting another option, in this case, randomly, HSSE Elements, and found that that did show velocity following dynamics. But it also changed the VST instrument setting to Halion Sonic. I’d like to know what my next move should be. Is ‘Duplicate Playback Template’ a place to start?

I don’t know this library, Heavyocity’s Nylon Guitar. The first thing I’d do is open the expression map loaded with it (press the cog next to its name, in the left column in Play mode— the expression map is the last item to the right in the table that appears). Make sure the dynamics are set with the velocity. Then, the dynamics from Dorico should be conveyed to the velocity.

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I would expect this to work with the Default expression map (which does use velocity).

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Brilliant! Many thanks.

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Perhaps I’m missing something here, but note velocities and CC dynamics are completely different things. They are discrete, parallel characteristics of notes. (Velocity is expressed as a part of the MIDI note-on event, whereas dynamics are expressed as one or more CC events - often CC1 and/or CC11.) Thus, in reference to your screenshot, changing dynamics will not change note velocity.

As the name suggests, Dorico uses expression maps to indicate how to map expressions (in this case, velocity and dynamics) to the MIDI stream that is sent to the VST. There are two panels on the right-hand side of the expression map window that allow you to choose whether you want to use velocity or a CC dynamic to control the primary and secondary dynamics of the note. If you enter notes into Dorico using the Write mode editor (as opposed to live recording from a keyboard), then as in your screenshot, velocity will remain at its default for all notes. If that’s the case, then you should choose an expression map (or create your own) that uses CC dynamics to control the dynamics in the VST, rather than velocity.

@Gareth_Glyn @TBB
Some thought to expand this thema:

Sorry if you know already what I am writing below, or I misinterpreted your words, but maybe someone could be interested…

I think you are confusing some concepts and usage cases, depending on the kind of instrument.

For instruments like Piano and acoustic Guitar for example where the sound is produced at note-ON event, and is not possible to alter the dynamic after this, the DYNAMIC is triggered by the VELOCITY.

The CC11 is (mostly) just the VOLUME of the instrument, and doesn’t change the timbre (soft and P vs. strong and F for example), but gives back the DYNAMIC (triggered by the VELOCITY) just louder or quieter.

Dorico dynamics (p, mf, f, etc) are a graphical representation (semantically triggered by the expression map) of the desired intensity (in a real Piano if you press the note for example very fast and with much weight and very deep you obtain a strong sound that is loud but has also a strong character: in the VST this is sampled with so called layers, up to 10 layers per note in very good libraries).

Depending on the instrument the written dynamics will be governed/triggered by:

-VELOCITY (for Piano or acoustic Guitar for example)
or
-CC1 (or CC2 or whatever the library assignment is) (for Violin or Flute for example, instrumenst that can change the DYNAMIC after the note-ON event, till the note-OFF event)

In addition to this DYNAMIC you can decide how generally or locally loud or less loud the instrument sounds (normally using CC11 as a VOLUME, or sometimes also CC7, but the latter mostly only for Orchestra template general balancing), but for Piano or acoustic Guitar is really no use for CC11 because all what you need is VELOCITY. (you can use CC11 if you want a broader spectrum of VOLUME, but as said this doesn’t change the timbre…)

This is not really 100% correct as Dorico uses his humanization algorithms to change/adapt the velocities to the contour of the played notes and their rhythmic position even with mouse entered notes (this is a very sophisticated thing), and adding the dynamics (p, mf, f…) changes/adapts the VELOCITIES and maintains the relative values of the humanisation. Ex.1 and 2

In regard to CC11 for example in Note Performer for a Piano track the CC11 doesn’t affect the DYNAMIC or the VOLUME. (someone correct me if I am wrong), for the reasons that I explained above (only VELOCITY counts for such instruments).

If you write the dynamics (p, mf, f…) in Dorico for a Piano part (for example in NP), the expression map will use and adapt the VELOCITY (as in the natural mapping NP uses the activated secondary Dynamic that is VELOCITY), and you can see the changed velocities in Key Editor. EX.3

CC1 (or CC2 in some libraries governs the choosen layer (p and soft and so on to the fff very strong) that was recorded in the samples for instruments with a sustained and changeable sound after note-ON event (as Violin or Flute)

CC11 is normally only the VOLUME as explained above (or is used in poor sampled librariesm in substitution for DYNAMICS, where there are not enough DYNAMIC layers to have different sound intensities)

I am sure I forgot something and repeated some concepts too often, but I hope this can be of some help to someone. :slight_smile:

Ex.1

Ex.2

Ex.3

@Christian_R , You are correct, but can I perhaps offer a simpler explanation?

  1. Dorico has a dynamics lane (based on notated dynamics, but manually adjustable).

  2. VST instruments respond to dynamics in different ways. Some use velocity, others use CC1 or CC11, some use a combination… etc.

  3. Dorico’s expression maps translate the internal representation of dynamics into something that each VST instrument can understand.

(What remains a mystery is precisely how Dorico chooses to translate its internal dynamic to a particular combination of velocity and CC values)

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Thank you @Janus ! This is a great condensing of the concepts. (I have to learn conciseness :slight_smile: )

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Thanks for this, @Christian_R. You’re right, and I was wrong. I don’t often use “note-on only” instruments, and so hadn’t really paid sufficient attention to Volume. I had erroneously thought that the levels in the Volume track were those coming in to Dorico from my keyboard. However, as you correctly point out, they are the levels that are going out to the VST, after expression mapping and humanization, etc. Thanks for clarifying.

In your piano example, I’m curious why NP uses the secondary dynamic for Velocity, and not just plunk it in the primary and not use the secondary.

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