VSL legato patches “first note” problem and solutions in Dorico

These days I discovered something, that approved the performance of the music, that I made in Dorico with VSL samples. It makes melodic lines smoother. Because I didn’t find this solution on the internet, I share it here for those who are interested.

Legato patches of VSL are containing 2 types of samples:

  1. “Legato notes”, notes that have a connection with the previous note (these notes start with the legato transition, followed immediately by the note).
  2. The so called “First notes”. These are the starting notes of a legato sequence. These notes are starting on the actual note pitch, don’t start with a legato transition.

Triggering first notes of a legato patch.
When the legato patch of the VSTI is selected (e.g. by the start of a slur), a “First note” of a legato patch isn’t triggered by the start of the slur but by a very little moment of silence, a little gap before that first note under the slur. That gap has to be long enough. Is that gap too short, then a “Legato note” is triggered.

This is where the problem arises. A first note under a slur should not be linked to the previous note,
but often the gap before the first note is too small, so a “Legato note” is triggered.
An example: 4 sixteenth notes with a slur. The first note under the slur should be a “First note”, the other 3 should be “Legato notes”. When the note just before the slur is e.g. a staccato note, it is good possible (even with staccato notes!) that the gap between the staccato note and the first note under the slur is too small and you will hear a note with a legato link from the staccato note to the first note under the slur. Probably not what you want, in any case: I don’t :wink:.


I found 2 solutions, that can work very well.

The first solution is working with two voices. By starting a legato sequence of notes in another voice, the gap before the first note of the legato line (mostly the first note in a slur) is long enough to trigger the “First note” of the legato patch. (Of course the Independent Voice Playback has to be activated: WARNING, when you enable Independent Voice Playback, all manual work in the key editor disappears! It’s important to copy first the existing notes together with all cc data to another staff, after enabling Independent Voice Playback you can copy your work back to the original staff).
By removing the rests the notation of the notes is just as with one voice.

In this last example you can make visible which voice every note is by choosing:
View > Note and Rest Colors > Voice Colors. (I made 3 key commands in Preferences: “c,v” for seeing the colors, “c,x” for no colors, "c,z"for Notes Out of Range).

The second solution is adding a staff above the existing staff (only possible with solo instruments).
Copy a legato sequence to the staff above, and in the property panel activate “Suppress playback” of the notes on the original staff, that were copied. (Of course also here you need Independent Voice Playback). After you have finished your work, you can remove the extra staff. The notes that you placed in the extra staff stay and will be heard when playing the music. (By adding a new a staff again, the notes will also appear again).

With ensemble instruments it is possible using the division utility. First realize how many divisi staffs you will need and then you can add another staff for the legato issue. So when you need 2 division staffs, you can add a third staff for smoother legato. When you work is done, you can make this staff invisible of course.

You shouldn’t be getting a legato transition from a staccato note to legato, unless you aren’t actually using the staccato sample for the staccato notes. It makes me think that instead of a staccato sample you are just playing a short legato note.

Hi Michael, after your reply I did some tests again. I used in a fast tempo 4 sixteenth staccato notes (checked in the Synchron Player), immediately followed by two half tones regular legato with a slur, also checked in the Synchron Player.
I checked it with Synchron Strings Pro and with Synchron Elite Strings.
I compared the 1 voice example with the example with 2 voices (starting the legato on the new voice). And I can definitely confirm, that the staccato note in the 1 voice version was followed by a Legato transition and not by a “First note” (that is without transition).