Expression maps

Expression maps tell Dorico Pro how to use appropriately the patches and sounds in the VST instruments that you have loaded into your project.

Expressing a range of dynamics on instruments means changing the volume and attack of notes. Because the strength of attack changes the character of the start of sounds as well as their volume, loud sounds often require stronger attacks and quiet sounds often require softer attacks.

Different patches and instruments have different approaches to changing dynamics and volume in playback. For example, some patches only change the velocity whereas others use a controller in combination with changing the velocity.

Dorico Pro also uses expression maps to specify the playback techniques that are supported by each patch in your project. For example, string instruments such as the violin have different techniques, because they can play arco, pizzicato, and col legno, and their bow position can be anywhere between sul ponticello and sul tasto.

In addition to the HALion Symphonic Orchestra expression maps, there are the following expression maps in Dorico Pro:

  • CC11 Dynamics: Uses MIDI controller 11 to play dynamics.


    This only applies to instruments that can change their dynamic while notes are sounding, such as violin or flute.

  • Default: Uses note velocity to control dynamic volume.

  • Modulation Wheel Dynamics: Uses a modulation wheel to control dynamic volume.

  • Transpose down 1 octave: Used by some instrument patches that sound an octave higher than written so that they can be played without needing a full range keyboard.

  • Transpose up 1 octave: Allows the bottom octave of keyboards to be used for key switches instead of notes, but is also used by some bass instrument patches that sound an octave lower than written so that they can be played without needing a full range keyboard.

You can edit, create, and import/export expression maps in the Expression Maps dialog. Expression maps are saved as .doricolib files.


Although Dorico Pro approaches expression maps in a different way to Cubase, Dorico Pro correctly imports many switches from expression maps you import from Cubase, such as pizzicato, harmonics, and flutter tongue.

Video tutorial about expression maps (English)