Why does Dorico do this?

I keep getting these drastic dynamic changes and there doesn’t seem to be a way to override it. I’m starting a new section after a fff.
As you can see it’s clearly piano, but I get this jerky violent change of dynamic:

And if I try to override it I get this… Puzzling!


What sample library/instrument is this? The dynamic lane is created based on the information in Expression Map.

You seem to have an Expression called “Stop”. How is that defined?

I’ve seen this frequently and can be caused by a dynamic reset within Dorico between two dots. I find the problem is less common if you use the line tool but the whole area of drawing in dynamics is not yet ideally intuitive in my view.

Although that’s not in itself the issue I’d start by eliminating all dynamic humanisation for clarity as below

Then, as @benwiggy says, we need information about which library you’re using (to exactly replicate if possible) and an example section of the score. It’s essential to see how the dynamic controllers are programmed in the EM.

Thank you @benwiggy and @dko22, to answer your questions.

  • The library is rather irrelevant since I get these issues across the board.

  • All the “stop” articulation does is press a keyswitch to allow polyphony. It has no dynamic associated with it and this happens in purely sustain or legato passages too.

  • The expression maps are set to use exclusively CC11, velocity is disabled.

  • I have of course tried the line tool and disabled, per your suggestion, the dynamics humanization (set to 0%).

This is the result using the Line Tool:

This is the result using the drawing tool

And this the result if I try editing it from the dynamics lanes instead.


I have had similar problems, but those were related to note length conditions… I managed to get rid of the issue by making my expression maps as simple as possible. I think that also involved taking away all of the add-on techniques.

At the moment Dorico is coded in a way that CC values tend to reset during rests (playback technique switches back to natural when there is a rest), I suspect that it is this design decision that causes these CC -spikes to happen (among some other issues).

Hope you find a solution that works for you!

1 Like

Thank you Sampo, yeah the Expression maps are pretty simple, just a few items and no add-ons.

Although this behaviour may be seen across various libraries, I don’t believe that that the library and Expression Map is irrelevant. For instance, why are you using exclusively CC11 in the Expression Maps? With many libraries this would mean you are completely eliminating the CC1 dynamic or tonal character of the sound and using only pure volume (using the traditional mappings) which cannot be right. If you are not controlling a channel, Dorico is much more likely to reset it.

There have been various threads on this and related issues, few if any of which have really led to firm conclusions applicable across the board. It’s an important issue so it would certainly be helpful to post just this specific project example and I’ll see if I can fix it.

@Bollen, could you please attach a small chunk of the project sufficient to reproduce the problem, so I can take a look?

I appreciate your help dk! Most libraries I have use CC11 exclusively for dynamic changes (the ones in the examples posted are Sample Modeling). Velocity is used for attack types and CC1 for vibrato. The former is not in the Expression Map, the latter is, but only for vib and non-vib.

@dspreadbury Hi Daniel, always nice to hear from you. I’m afraid it’s a pretty big project with tons of different libraries for a full orchestra and I don’t know how to extract just a bit. I’ll try to create a separate example to see if I can reproduce the issue. At the moment it seems very random.

OK, I managed to reproduce it quite early in the test score. It’s in bar 4 of Violins 1:

I attach the file. As you can see it’s pretty random, since I have the exact same procedure a few bars earlier where this doesn’t occur.
Test.dorico (387.9 KB)

In PLAYBACK Options/Dynamics, try turning the Humanize setting to 0 and reduce the beat stress values, particularly for the the off-beats. I have this normally at 0 too.

Nope, that doesn’t do anything:

Mmm…I downloaded your file, created new bars and punched in new notes and they came out as normal. I had already turned the Humanize value to 0. I don’t have your expression map, but it may be something in there. Did you input the notes in record mode? Try the silence template, create a new instrument and punch in some new notes….What happens then?

Perhaps you need the expression map. It’s the Sample Modeling one available from this forum. I inputted the notes via notation. The Silence template doesn’t makes sense, that just deletes all the background information. I appreciate your help though!

as far as I can see, in this example it may simply be that the issue depends on the way you’ve draw in the automation dots and indeed it would then be completely irrelevant what your library or EM is as you said at the outset. This is a completely different situation to if Dorico itself creates the spikes which is what I thought after the first example but in your most recent one, I don’t see that Dorico itself has done anything strange?

Anyway, I’ve found two ways to get rid of it.

  1. drag the dot after the trough (highlighted) back to the position of the previous dot. Below is the before and after

  1. simply delete the dots and replace with a line.

Obviously the question remains why this happens in the first place. The documentation on inputting automation data Inputting automation data says what happens in the situation where you drag or separately click on each point. I have a feeling that when dragging a line, if the movement is not completely fluent then the dots can drag back on themselves so to speak as I’ve also had this happen on occasion. It might be that Daniel could give tips here.

Hi again! As you can see in my 2nd post, the line tool doesn’t solve the problem: Why does Dorico do this? - #4 by Bollen

For some weird reason all your tricks work with the “Test” project I uploaded, but not for the original. Results using your method:

Again, this is a very erratic bug that is very inconsistent. There doesn’t seem to be an obvious reason why it’s doing it, but the problem seems to be exacerbated when using divisi. I’m going to give this a rest for now, because it’s taking too much of my time, and wait for a reply from the devs. They usually find the problem for these things. I think it’s probably a bug that will not get fixed till the next version, whenever that may be…

this example (which looks like what you showed at the beginning) could be a completely different kettle of fish from the simpler extract you posted if you are writing separate dynamics into the divisi though I don’t see evidence of it from the screenshot. But again, if you post this section then I can see if I can do anything about it. It would be helpful for me too – I’ve always been able to fix this sort of thing before in my own projects but maybe not this one! If I get no further then by all means give it a rest.

Sure thing, but I don’t know how to extract a specific section…

In this sort of situation, I usually simply make a copy of the file and then delete all the actual music except for the relevant page or so. That ensures that all the project settings and Expression Map remain intact. Obviously if you delete all but one of the flows then the music will go as well.

Gotcha! Why didn’t I think of that? Probably just getting old… So, I removed most of the score, before and after, but left two previous examples in case they are part of the problem. So the issue can clearly be seen in Violins I & II of the section called “Melody in 3rds” (Page 2).
Dynamic Bug.dorico (832.5 KB)