Where can I find tuning information in exported midi or xml?

I want to export a microtonal score written in Dorico so that I can create a mock-up in a DAW. I have read the manual and forums etc and understand midi-cc pitch bend information is neither created or exported by Dorico. However, it’s not clear to me how to find Dorico’s VST3 “note expression” tuning data in my exported files. Is it possible to export it? Should I use midi export or XML?

Ultimately, I hope to find or make an app that can translate VST3 note expression data into midi-cc. Any tips appreciated.

I’m afraid micro-tuning information is not currently included either in Dorico’s exported MIDI or MusicXML. It would technically be possible to include in MusicXML, but I’m not aware of any applications that are actually capable of importing such data correctly, so it wouldn’t get you very far even if Dorico included it. And because Dorico doesn’t use pitch bend for micro-tuning, I’m afraid the information cannot be included in standard MIDI files.

Thank you for confirming that. By “technically possible” do you mean that there is a way I can access it? Or that Steinberg can do it but I can’t? As I mentioned, I would like to build an app to convert tuning information in Dorico so that it can be communicated to other programs (such as a DAW), but I would at least need to be able to access the information.

Is there a roadmap for communicating Dorico’s tuning information with other platforms via midi? Ideally internally as well as via export?

Also, will other information traditionally communicated via midi-cc be included?

Dorico exports everything that is handled via regular MIDI messages (notes, CC values, pitch bend, tempo, etc.) when exporting MIDI, but things that are not represented in MIDI (like VST detuning information) cannot be included in MIDI files… because they’re not represented in MIDI.

In the future, when Steinberg products support MIDI 2.0 (Cubase will be first, no doubt, though I can’t say when that will happen), and when the Standard MIDI File format 2.0 is complete and supported by Steinberg products, then it will be possible for richer information to be included in MIDI files, but that is some years away, I would guess.

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Can I export the VST detuning information as part of a MusicXML file? You mentioned that was “technically” possible, but I still don’t understand how to do it myself.

“…some years away” is, as I’m sure you anticipated, not an answer I wanted to hear. I find the separation of pitch-bend and tuning in VST3 a great improvement but, while I endeavour to build a bridge, I imagine it would foster an enormous sense of goodwill if Steinberg were to provide such bridges themselves so that legacy apps could still be used while VST3 emerges and proves itself.

Dorico doesn’t export micro-tuning information in MusicXML, no. Sorry!

Is there any way I can export tuning information from Dorico to mock up a composition in a DAW?

Not that I can think of at present, no.

Thank you for the quick replies. I wonder if the following method would enable pitch data to be exported from Dorico.

Is it possible to add accurate pitch-bend information as one off expressions attached to notes in Dorico - similar to what is possible in Finale? I can see pitch-bend squiggles can be drawn in the key-editor, which is fun, but can it be specified in cents or ratios, and can I instruct Dorico to apply it via a set of font symbols (HEJI accidentals) that I could then use to populate my score instead of Dorico’s default tonality system method?

No, you can’t trigger pitch bend MIDI messages via playing technique items added in the score. You can only edit pitch bend via the Key Editor.

Does Steinberg have a roadmap to include more comprehensive micro tuning support for Dorico users? In particular, the possibility to export tuning information so that it can be used in a DAW?

No, we don’t have anything we can share publicly, but I did have a conversation with one of my colleagues in the development team about this issue yesterday, and we are thinking about it.

Thanks for going to the trouble to do that. In some ways workflow for microtonal composers hasn’t advanced much since Partch (or Pythagoras for that matter) who had to build instruments from scratch just to hear their ideas. Being able to get scored ideas from Dorico into a DAW (with tuning information intact) would be an enormous step forwards.

By the way, another development topic that could refine Dorico’s offering would be ability to include legato transition samples in Halion sample libraries that respond to Dorico’s vst3 note-expression tuning messages. Are Halion legato samples on the Steinberg development horizon?

Do you mean using note expression pitch bend to create transitions between existing notes? I’m not sure that this would in general create great-sounding results.

Sorry for the confusion. No, by “legato transitions” I’m referring to the momentary noises produced when a performer changes note on a legato instrument such as a cello or trumpet - for example finger squeak on a string instrument or key click and breath sounds on a clarinet. NI’s Kontakt has an ability to stitch together legato passages using momentary sounds like this but Halion doesn’t as far as I know. It’s a subtle detail that lends musicality to sample instruments built in the Kontakt sampler, but those instruments do not respond to Dorico’s VST3 note expression microtuning format. as Kontakt depends on midi-cc for pitch bend/tuning information. I suggested implementing a version of this technique in Halion so that more realistic sample instruments could be built in the Halion sampler, which does respond to Dorico’s VST3 note expression tuning information in my experience.

Great to see a midi pitch-bend microtuning option in Dorico 5 playback. If the pitch-bend method is selected for playback, can the midi pitch-bend information also be exported via midi export or music xml so that it can be used in a DAW? That would make my day!

It will be exported into MIDI, yes, but not MusicXML as we don’t really export any playback-related information in MusicXML (and MusicXML is not an ideal representation of that sort of information in any case).

Great news. Thanks for addressing it. I look forward to trying it out.