VSL Synchron: Speed Control Articulation Setups, What Works Well For You?

I have not really used Speed Control articulation sets date, but lately I’ve become increasingly interested in experimenting with them, including the possibility of setting up my own custom sets.

I know there are factory presets, and I’m sure that’s a great starting point, but for those who are using their own custom sets, what sets you have made have you found quite useful?

(I am using the term “sets” to refer to a collection of articulations contained within a folder that can be switched via speed control. Also, I should add I am referring to the setup in Synchron, not Dorico expression maps, at least not at this point.)

The main advantage of using expression maps, instead of the Speed control in Synchron Player, is that Dorico knows in advance the length of a note. Synchron Player needs the second note for this.

I usually put together in a set the usual suspects: Normal and Fast Legato, Staccato and Spiccato/Staccatissimo, Sustain and Long Portato/Tenuto.


I see what you mean. I’ll have to think about that.

I guess I thought it was possible to set a Dorico expression map that would refer to the folder, then the speed of the note in Dorico would determine what articulation was selected. If that won’t work, then of course you are right, I will have to set each articulation individually in the expression map.

Perhaps at some point, once Dorico can communicate such things as tempo, etc. back to the VSTs (something I think Daniel has said he hopes will be possible down the road a ways), this sort of connection will be feasible.

This thread ha gone a different direction than I expected, but it has succeeded in clarifying for me the way forward. Thanks.

Funny thing, I finally had the chance to test my initial concept.

  • Created a PT, PbT, and an ExMap entry, each named “syes Speed Control Test”
  • The ExMap entry set the SY Player to refer to an auto-speed folder for 1st Violins, SY Elite Strings, a folder named “auto-speed” which contained “legato” and “legato agile” articulations switched in SY by Speed Control.
  • Entered a line of notes that varied between long and short notes.
  • Played the line of notes.

Guess what? The switch performed perfectly with no need to create Dorico rules for note length. The long notes played “legato,” the short notes played “legato agile,” return to long notes switched back to “legato,” and so on.

So it appears my original concept is valid. This seems to demonstrate that when appropriate I can set up custom SY presets that refer to speed-controlled folders containing multiple articulations. The switching can be made without reference to any Dorico ExMap note length setting.

The capability is there, it remains to be seen how this works in real practice. SY simply divides up the number of articulations in the folder and assigns CC number by some VSL method of interpreting note speed and assigning a Speed Control parameter number to each note, thus triggering any switches.

Perhaps this is what you all are talking about, that Dorico note length rules provide a more reliable and precise context in which to interpret “speed.”

Now I am again curious if anyone has already gone down this path and where that exploration led them.

I just added a query in the VSL forum asking what criteria SY Player uses to judge the speed of incoming notes and speed control values.

[SY Player Speed-Control Interpretation - Synchron Libraries - FORUMS - Vienna Symphonic Library]

From my VSL forum thread:

I’m curious, with SY player speed control switching, how does it interpret the speed of incoming notes?

I can see that it assigns parameter values to each note depending on length, but what criteria does it use to “decide” if a note is short or long?

I tested an “auto-speed” folder in SY Elite Strings 1st Violins, which contained “legato” and “legato agile” articulations switched by speed control. I entered a series of whole notes followed by some eighth notes, back to whole notes, then sixteenth notes. The speed control values correctly differed with regard to each category of note, but on what basis did it decide which note was which?

And all this brings up the question of how the tempo of a project changes the interpretation of what ought to be considered long or short or shorter.

I got this answer from Paul:

Speed is determined by the time between attacks. We cannot predict the future, but we can see how fast you play

So if I understand it correctly (and it’s entirely possible I do not), in Dorico the SY Player receives notes and CC data at a tempo rate determined by Dorico. This would determine the timing of the notes triggering. So since Dorico as it were “hands off” timing to SY Player, the timing aspect of Speed Control is already handled by Dorico completely apart from any Expression Map conditions.

If this is correct, and I will have to experiment with it this week as I have time, then all I need in an Expression Map entry to switch between articulations contained in a speed-controlled folder are the proper keyswitches (or whatever) to point to the folder.

Again, if true, Bingo! I can set up an array of custom folders in SY Player that use Speed Control that should be able to perform a basic rendering (per the design of the folder ) of a line of notes of various lengths.

Am I wrong here?

Yes, Dorico sends the the tempo information to VSL. I don’t currently have any of the new dedicated Synchron libraries as opposed to the Synchron-ized ones but a number of my libraries do have speed control built into a single patch . If you know you want to use that patch then you need to type it specifically into the score. For instance, my solo strings have an auto speed control built into it “spiccato”. If it knows it needs to use spiccato then it will take the tempo information from Dorico to decide which speed to choose. The EM only requires to tell VSL that you want it to choose from the auto speed options. However, if I don’t write “spiccato”, Dorico will revert to the standard note length rules where it may well choose spiccato anyway because of the note length.

Your situation is different of course as you want to switch between different articulations based on note length but without any notelength conditions, if I understand correctly. The fact you have programmed auto control within the Synchron player with different patches does indeed mean that Dorico only needs to have the keyswitch for the VSL automation in the EM and VSL determines the correct articulation.

In other words, It looks like you have understood things fine!

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