Expression Maps dialog

In the Expression Maps dialog, you can create new expression maps, edit existing expression maps, and import/export expression maps. You can also import expression maps made in Cubase.

  • You can open the Expression Maps dialog in Play mode by choosing Play > Expression Maps.

  • Although the format of expression maps in Dorico is similar to Cubase, Dorico does not handle expression maps in exactly the same ways as Cubase. For example, Dorico allows you to use more playing techniques, but Cubase can reproduce more combinations of multiple playing techniques.

  • During playback, Dorico does not currently support all fields in the Expression Maps dialog. This is planned for future versions.

Figure: Expression Maps dialog

The Expression Maps dialog contains the following sections and options:

  1. Expression Maps list

    Contains the expression maps currently available in your project.

    You can add and delete expression maps using the following buttons in the action bar at the bottom of the Expression Maps list:

    • Add Expression Map

      Allows you to add a new expression map that contains no existing settings.

    • Duplicate

      Creates a copy of an existing expression map that you can then edit separately from the original.

    • Delete Expression Map

      Allows you to delete the selected expression maps.


      You can only delete custom expression maps. You cannot delete any default expression maps.

  2. Expression Map section

    Allows you to specify the following identifying information for the selected expression map:

    • Name

      Allows you to set the name of the expression map that appears in the program, for example, in the Endpoint Setup dialog.

    • ID

      Allows you to set the unique ID of the expression map. You can enter any content in the ID field.

      It can be useful to include the instrument and sound library for which you created the map, as well as your name, for example, xmap.user.paulsmith.hso.violinpizz.

    • Creator

      Allows you to name the creator if you are sharing your expression map with other users.

    • Version

      Allows you to indicate later versions of an expression map so you can identify the most recent version.

    • Plugins

      Allows you to list the names of plug-ins to which the expression map applies, with each name separated by a comma.


      You can leave this field blank.


    All fields in the Expression Map section are locked by the Lock Info button at the top right. You must click this button in order to change the information in the fields.

  3. Techniques section

    The Techniques section contains the following groups:

    • Techniques list

      Contains a list of techniques for the expression map currently selected.


      Most instruments have a natural technique, which is the most common way of playing the instrument. Dorico requires every instrument to have a defined natural technique.

    • Dynamics

      Allows you to choose whether the volume dynamic for the selected technique is controlled by its Note Velocity or a Control Change.


      Control Change requires you to specify the controller by number. You can consult the documentation for the VST instrument and/or MIDI controller you are using to find the appropriate controller number.

    • Technique controls

      Contains controls that affect the technique selected in the Techniques list, such as Velocity.

    • Exclusion Groups

      Allows you to specify techniques that are mutually exclusive. For example, players cannot be muted and non-muted at the same time. Putting techniques into the same exclusion group means only one can be used at a time.


    Although settings are imported into the Technique controls and Exclusion Groups from Cubase, Dorico does not currently implement all the information. This is planned for future versions.

    In simple cases, techniques in the Techniques list are individual techniques, such as Staccato or Accent. However, it is possible to combine multiple techniques for plug-ins that have separate samples for different combinations of techniques. For example, Staccato + Accent might require a separate set of switches to Staccato and Accent individually.

    Selecting a technique in the Techniques list makes it available for editing in the Actions section. All the controls in this panel apply to the current technique.

    You can add new techniques, edit existing techniques, and delete techniques using the following buttons in the Techniques list action bar:

    • Add Technique

      Allows you to add a new technique or combination of techniques to the expression map from the available techniques in the Technique Combinations dialog.

    • Edit Technique

      Allows you to edit the combination of techniques used in the selected technique in the Technique Combinations dialog.


      You can also edit existing techniques by double-clicking them in the Techniques list.

    • Duplicate

      Creates a copy of an existing technique that you can then edit separately from the original.

    • Delete Technique

      Allows you to delete the selected technique.


      You can only select one technique at a time in the Techniques list.

  4. Actions section

    Allows you to determine how the switch required to execute each technique is controlled. This section also contains the details of existing actions required to produce the selected playing technique.

    Actions can be any of the following types:

    • Key switch

    • Control change

    • Program change


    Depending on your plug-in, multiple types of actions can be required to change individual techniques.

    In the Actions section, actions are displayed in a table with three columns.

    Figure: Actions table

    The first column shows the type of action.

    The second column controls the first parameter of the MIDI event. For note events, this indicates the pitch. For control changes, this indicates the control change number. For program changes, this indicates the program number.

    The third column controls the second parameter of the MIDI event. For note events, this indicates the velocity. For control changes, this indicates the amount of control change within the range 0 to 127. Program changes do not have a second parameter so do not use this column.

    You can add new actions of each type and duplicate existing actions using the corresponding button in the action bar.

    You can delete actions by selecting them individually and clicking Delete Action in the action bar.

    The Actions section also allows you to specify which actions affect the start of notes and which affect the end of notes. For example, you might want an event that resets the technique back to normal to apply only to the end of notes.

    • On Events affects the start of notes.

    • Off Events affects the end of notes.

  5. Reset to Library Defaults

    Allows you to revert any changes you have made to the expression maps from the Default Library.

  6. Export Library

    Allows you to select multiple expression maps and export them into a .doricolib file, which you can import into other projects and share with other users.

  7. Import Library

    Allows you to import expression maps from .doricolib files.

  8. Import Cubase Expression Map

    Allows you to import an expression map in Cubase format.


    It is not currently possible to import all combinations of techniques. Cubase expression maps in Dorico often require some editing to function correctly.

    However, switch data is preserved.