Virtual DrumLine Marching Percussion

Wondering if anyone has been able to set up Tapspace VDL marching percussion maps since the new unpitched percussion update. I’m having trouble because when setting up the Percussion Midi Map, there aren’t accurate instrument choices based on what Dorico offers (only one marching bass drum option), and I’m not seeing a way to define new options (Bass 1, Bass 2, etc.) to differentiate between the sounds. Here are the specific things I’m having trouble with and wondering if anyone either has done it or is comfortable enough with the update to explain how I could do it:

  • Defining multiple bass drum entries for the midi notes representing each drum in the drum patch (i.e. Bass 6 is Midi note number 62, Bass 5 is 65, etc.)
  • Identifying different types of mallets to use (regular and “puffy” for bass drums or different hardness for mallets). These are typically done by using keyswitches, but there are no options for different mallet choices listed when you define what the keyswitch does.
  • Once you set up the Percussion Midi Map, can you use those defined note names to set up a kit? I’m not getting to this stage yet because I can’t get the map set up due to the above issues, so maybe it will become clear once I can do that. For example, in VDL there are separate defined midi notes for drum hits and for rim hits for each drum, so once I set up Bass 6 hit at midi note 62 and Bass 6 rim hit on midi note 63, how can I add both of these notes to my kit layout.
  • Is there a way to use the mod wheel function in Dorico (and if not, is that planned in the future)? In many of these patches the mod wheel is used for different effects sounds (i.e. mod wheel 0-42 is a rim hit, 43-85 is a different stick sound, and 86-127 is for a dreadlock/brush sound). Is there a way to trigger those mod wheel changes?

Thanks for any help! I’m excited to explore this new functionality!


We are going to need to add some further bits and bobs to make it possible to really drive VDL properly. You can’t currently create new bass or snare drums to handle the different sizes that are needed, so I will define these as soon as possible. I’m in touch with the people at Tapspace and with Bryan Harmsen of Visaudio Designs to figure out the best way to get things up and running. Aside from the specific variants of the individual drumline instruments we need to add, as mentioned in the Version History document, the playback of the additional overrides (articulations, tremolos) in the Edit Percussion Playing Techniques dialog is not yet functional.

I’m not sure how we’ll best be able to get these things out to people interested in using VDL with Dorico, but at least in theory things like instrument types, notehead types, and all of the percussion kit definitions can be safely trapped inside a single project file, so we should be able to make some example templates available once some more things are working.

Thanks for the update! I know it’s all a work in progress, and I know it was a bit of a chore to get VDL to work even reasonably well with the other programs, too (if you can even claim it does). Glad to know it’s in the works. I’m going to try a little workaround for now where I actually name the notes based on the marching tenor drums, but define them in the Midi Map using the Midi Note Numbers for the bass line patch. I think that will at least get me a functional approximation of a multiple bass drum line even if all the other playback techniques and options aren’t defined yet, as you mentioned.

Obviously, from a programming perspective I don’t know how connected the two functions are or can be, but what if when setting up the Percussion Midi Map you allowed the user to define their own instrument names and techniques (rim shots, stick clicks, etc.) based on what’s available on whatever patch they’re using, and then those defined instrument names became available for use in setting up the kit? I know that’s probably backward from the way you’d ultimately like it to work (i.e. set up the kit FIRST, then define where those instruments are on the Midi Map if there isn’t already a matching one), but it might be a workable interim solution until you come up something more elegant.

What you’ve done to this point is incredible and I can’t wait to see how it all evolves. The graphical kit setup is amazing and so user-friendly compared to the methods others use. Bravo!

Once I’ve been able to spend a bit of time on this – hopefully in the next few days – I’ll provide an update on how things stand. I think the basics are sound, but the devil will prove to be in the details!

I expect a similar situation would exist with XLN’s Addictive Drums. Could someone contact them as well so that any solution you come up with is applicable beyond just the VDL configuration?

Can you point me at some documentation for Addictive Drums? I don’t have time to try to navigate XLN Audio’s web site. It looks to me from what I can see of their product pages that Addictive Drums is based around a single drum kit, so what would be helpful is to know what kind of drum map it uses. My guess would be that it is set up to follow the GM Percussion map, in which case it should work pretty well with Dorico out of the box.

This is the map I have been working form in Finale and Sonar.
Addictive Drums 2 (273 KB)
I also have a PDF manual if that will help.