Vienna Instruments expression maps

I like to use Vienna Instruments because of the quality and the extensiveness of the articulations.
It’s possible to use these now in Dorico with the help of “Import Cubase Expression Maps”. Great!
However there is one thing I can’t figure out: In “Edit Expression Maps” there are “Techniques”. Some, like Staccato, are triggered when playing a note with a staccato-dot. Others, like Non vibrato, work when using a playing technique (in this case “non vib.”) in Write mode. But then for exemple the playing technique “vib.” does not trigger “Con vibrato” in the Expression Map. Also “nat.” does not (always?) trigger anything.
The question is this: how can we edit which playing technique or note articulation in Dorico causes which Technique in the Expression Map to be triggered? Or will this be kept in the backgroud?

Yeah. It’s a guessing game, since there is no manual and the expression map editor is not yet finished. Best way I have found is to use Cubase to create the expression map, then import that to Dorico. Export that to a library file and then edit the library file where there are incompatibilities and then import that back into Dorico. Requires that you can read and edit xml code. Good luck.


+1 for greater flexibility and docs on the VSL VIs.


+1 for Spitfire Audio’s excellent Orchestral Library (Kontakt 5 VST Library.)

As far as I can see the exported library file (*.doricolib) contains the same definitions as in “edit Expression Maps”.
The question remains: how can we edit which playing technique or note articulation in Dorico causes which Technique in the Expression Map to be triggered?
Any insight from the team?

If you create playing techniques in the music, you can then switch to Play mode and look at the Playing Techniques lane shown for each instrument in the event display, which will show you which playing technique is actually in force at each point in the music. You should then be able to figure out which switch in the expression map is being used at each point.

If working with imported Xmaps it’s vital to clean up in the Natural techniques, making sure there is only one instance of “Natural”, and that it’s set by Key Switch (and/or CC value) to point to the normal sustain articulation/cell in the Vienna matrix, and that it is set to send CC11 as Volume dynamics. When you put arco, ord. or norm. in the score this is the Technique Dorico reverts to.

Most of the common Playing Techniques are now working in Dorico. “Muted” will be triggered by “con sord.”, but “senza sord.” will not trigger anything…

I see, that helps. In the Expression Map Setup I discovered that dubbel clicking on a technique gives a list of possible playing techniques. You must use these names for the “switches”, right? Now, not all of those playing techniques are present in Write mode and for exemple dynamics do not appear in the Playing Techniques event display (sfz and pf are seperate articulations in Vienna Instruments). They are present in the list of possible playing techniques though. Anyhow, it looks like it’s almost there! Editing all the Cubase Expression Maps (choose the right playing technique for the imported Cubase Expression Map Techniques) will be required, if I get it clear.
Can we expect the special dynamics to become a possible playing technique?

Maybe we should get together and come up with good expression maps we could share, until such time as VSL’s Andreas tackles Dorico?

Seems like a good idea. The Expression Map editor should be finalized first, I think.

Don’t miss that you can hold ctrl and create multi-techniques.

Legato+Staccato (Where legato is notes living under slurs, and staccato are notes with staccato dots over/under them)
Legato+Tenuto (Where tenuto are notes with long lines over/under them)

Until we get more abilities to create ‘custom techniques’, don’t forget you can also borrow seemingly unrelated techniques to force various translations, such as using snares on/off on string parts to create a kind of sticky node to force a given set of translations.

legato (use regular legato key-switch and/or CC events).
legato+snareson (Use an alternative legato setting…perhaps a different key-switch with portamento invoked).

One can hide techniques that should not show/print by changing the alpha value.

I have never understood why VSL users don’t find a way to share their creations, unless it is a matter of “trade secrets” for competitive advantage.

Granted, people set up and use VSL differently, but most could profit from seeing the better ideas of others. They can then adapt them to their own use. Instead everyone invents (and reinvents) the wheel independently, resulting in needless duplication of effort.

If there were a site that offered well-done VSL expression maps of several different varieties, I would definitely find one that suits my needs and pay a reasonable amount for it.

I think part of the reason (at least it is for me with my Sibelius soundsets, Finale Human Playback Preferecnes, and Dorico Expression maps), is that I tend to simply ‘build them as I need them’. What works great for one score could sound like garbage in another, etc.

One thing I do like much about Dorico and Finale is how it keeps everything in the same file…where as with Sibelius I’d also need to include my custom xml soundsets to get identical playback on other machines (Soundworld is great for porting to a different playback scheme, but a mess if you’re trying to share and duplicate an entire schema). If I share the score, I’m assuming you also get my expression maps (zipped up in the dorico file archive) :slight_smile:

The best place to start is to make a simple template with all of the most common parameters set to a reasonable default. From there, you are likely to want to tweak them and make changes piece by piece anyway.

Say you are using an instrument with 10 to 11 settings that can be automated via CC events. Things like Attack, Delay, Sustain, and Release. That is 4 common parameters right there to put into your template.

Next will be things like legato pedeals, portamento stuff, and so on.

Finally you’ve got your key-switches.

So…for me at least, it’s best to think out a general template with all of the most common settings a given plugin will use for a family of instruments. From there, I just ‘duplicate’ and tweak as needed while composing.

If you know your plugin well (read its manual), after a while it’ll just be second nature, and things you can ‘reuse’ from piece to piece will still be with you.

To sit down and try to make maps for every possible patch and keyswitch in a Library can literally take months or even years…and even after doing all that…it’s not going to work with every situation in every piece. Translating a Tarantella for a modern chamber ensemble calls for different settings/interpretation than doing a 19th century Symphony…a portion of a piece at a tempo of 60 will call for different things than a later section/movement at a tempo of 180, etc.

So, beyond a basic set of template maps to get started…it’s best to go ahead and learn how your plug-in works, how to communicate with that plugin, and build it yourself, as you need it.

Here’s a first pass at a conversion of some of VSL’s expression maps. I’m sure there are still problems, but I’ve gotten decent results on an orchestra piece I did recently.

They work with the VSL provided VI-Pro presets for Cubase expression maps.

Let me know if you find problems or have questions.

Realize that not everything works but a well placed ord. or nat. will do wonders if something doesn’t work as expected. (24.1 KB)

Thanks, budde. Will check them out when I get a chance.

Brian, completely understand your point of view.

For me, how to make an Expression Map, at least in Cubase, is not a problem. But it is interesting and helpful to see how others set theirs up. It’s like anything in life. Working in isolation can work, but working with at least some level of collaboration, even if it’s just conceptual, can help us all work better.

Many who work in the DAW field are just too doggone busy to consider constructing and polishing something for general distribution. That’s understandable.

Here’s a link to an interesting post in the VSL forum about how some work to set up useful and efficient VI Pro matrices. Useful and efficient matrices can lead to useful and efficient Expression Maps.


They/we do on occasions.

I have never understood why VSL users don’t find a way to share their creations, unless it is a matter of “trade secrets” for competitive advantage.



Yes. Thanks for the link.

What I envision is an online repository of users’ VI Pro presets and matching Cubase/Dorico Expression Maps. Like I said, I’m sure there are those who would be willing to pay a reasonable sum for those that are well-made. They do require a lot of detailed work, I admit, and it may not be possible to price them adequately to pay off as a separate enterprise.

Great idea! Yes.