VST Instruments in Kontakt, Hidden Midi Messages

This question will have a couple of parts, and I will do my best to articulate them.
I am currently in the processing of switching over from Sibelius to Dorico, and I am struggling to do some of the same things I did before.

Hidden Midi Messages

In my work, I often find myself needing to change instruments in throughout the piece, and to achieve the proper playback, I also need to switch the midi instrument. In Kontakt, I previously took advantage of instrument banks, which allowed me to load multiple instruments into the same place, then use hidden midi messages in the score (ex: ~P00, ~p01) to change the instrument that plays back. I how not seen anything on this. How would I be able to send these midi messages in the score?

Empty Instruments

I have watched many videos thus far which explain in-depth the ins and outs of instrument playbacks, expression maps, etc, and while this would be very reasonable for an instrument with a reasonable mapping, many instruments (such as those in Virtual Drumline) will have sounds that cannot be noted even with expression maps. Such examples of these include timpani rolls and suspended cymbal rolls (which are pre-recorded, full rolls that trigger the whole roll when pressed) and compound instruments, such as Rack Combination (which houses many instruments on different notes).

Rather than deal with a bunch of notation settings and waste time, I usually just dedicate a single score to playback and another to printing. How might I best go about loading these instruments so that I can simply input the sound I want onto the staff? Thus far, I have needed to load “sketch” instruments (such as treble clef or Grand Staff) in order to have the freedom I need, but this seems more time-consuming than I would expect from Dorico.


Lastly, many instruments found in VDL often use the Mod-Wheel as a means to change the sound of the instrument.

I have looked for quite a while, but I have not found a way to easily switch this in my score like I was able to with Sibelius, which was again by using hidden midi messages. I understand this is somewhat related to my first question regarding hidden midi messages, but I figured this was worth the extra section. How might I go about easily switching this on the go?

Mixer for VST Instruments

My final question for this post…
I am having difficulties using the mixer in Dorico for my VST instruments loaded through Kontakt. I am able to load my instruments fine and route them correctly in the Play window, however only the first mixer slider works, and it affects the whole instance of Kontakt. This means that any adjustment will change all of the instruments in that instance at the same time in the same way, so effectively nothing happens.

How might I go about fixing this so I have control over my ensemble within Dorico for each instrument line?

Thank you very much for any suggestions!!

Mixer image during playback

This can be a pretty large subject because Dorico has a wealth of capabilities that fit one situation better than another. Sometimes it comes down to preference, and often preference changes with experience.

Dorico Midi regions are tailor made for quick and dirty key switches and they don’t print so it removes the two score problem. You can enter any midi cc you like in the key editor, or you can make some custom playback techniques that will look and operate petty close to the ~ you are used to from Sib - I used to use them in Sib too.

But… I think you would be miles ahead to create a percussion kit. Handles your playback examples effortlessly. They let you swap from each instrument in the kit having its own line ( and playback) to displaying aconsolidated 5 line staff about as easy as you can switch from galley view to page view. It is the fastest for me to be able to enter in separate single lines but displayed conventionally in the final product. Describing the setup would take more than a sentence or too, but overall you will find this the Dorico philosophy to automate once and ever after simply write. Most of us start out thinking like you say, but become converts pretty fast.

You final question has to do with how you have your outputs assigned in Kontact . If you assign different patches or instruments to different outputs in Kontact they will be on different faders in the Dorico mixer, though we might need to talk about how to display them in some situations- again largely depending on how you use Kontact. Apologies, I don’t want to write an unnecessary and unsolicited novel or anything.

Thank you very much! I will be sure to look into the midi regions more as you described. And no apologies necessary – I appreciate your time on writing such an in-depth response.

I have looked into creating a percussion map before, but I ended up sopping because instruments such as the suspended cymbal (image included is of a VDL vibraphone, which includes suspended cymbal sounds)

will require different inputs depending on the length and loudness of a roll. For example, a whole-note roll vs. a dotted-half-note roll might need to be triggered using the same sound (in this case, perhaps B6 as in the image) to get the proper playback, but I have not seen a way where I could notate this in Dorico and still get the same sound. What are your thoughts on this? Is it possible to assign a set of sounds (say all suspended cymbals) in a percussion kit to one line, then differentiate the sounds to Kontakt with the length of the roll or perhaps a hidden message to correctly trigger the sound?