Expression maps

When working on a project, you might want to audition a composition including articulations. In Cubase, this can be achieved using expression maps, which can be selected via the Expression Map section in the Inspector for MIDI or instrument tracks. Within these maps, you can specify the sound mapping and characteristics for all your musical expressions, using the methods described in the table above.

When you select an expression map for a MIDI or instrument track, the articulations (sounds) defined in the map are automatically applied during playback. Cubase recognizes the expressions scored for the MIDI part and searches the sound slots in the expression map for a sound that matches the defined criteria.

When a matching sound slot is found, the current note is either modified (e. g. reduced in length or played louder), or the MIDI channel, program change or key switch information is sent to the connected instrument (the instrument selected on the Output Routing pop-up menu for the track), so that a different sound is played. When no sound slot is found that matches the articulations used in the part, the “closest match” is used.

When you enter articulations in a MIDI part, you need to set up an expression map in a way that the right sounds in the connected VST or MIDI instrument are triggered.

Expression maps also allow you to link your articulations with remote keys on a MIDI input device and map these to sounds that can be played by a MIDI device or VST instrument. This way, you can enter notes and articulations using a remote MIDI device and have these automatically be recorded and played back correctly by Cubase.

Expression maps are useful in the following situations:

  • When you want to enter musical articulations directly in one of the MIDI editors, especially the Score Editor, without having to record MIDI data first.

  • When you want to play/record music in realtime and control articulation changes while playing.

  • When you open and edit projects from other users. By using expression maps, you can map the articulation information to a different instrument set or content library quickly and easily.


You can also use the Note Expression functions to add articulations directly on your MIDI notes in the Key Editor.