Playback techniques

Playback techniques link together the notations you input into your music and techniques/articulations in sound libraries in order to produce the correct sounds in playback. They are used by expression and percussion maps to trigger the appropriate commands, such as key switches or control changes.

  • You can map playback techniques as required for different sound libraries in the Expression Maps dialog, including creating new combinations of existing playback techniques, such as Legato and Tremolo, which allows them to be used simultaneously.

  • You can see which playback techniques are in use at any particular rhythmic position in the Playing Techniques editor for the corresponding instrument/voice.

When you input notations, such as playing techniques, tremolos, jazz articulations, or articulations, the corresponding expression maps look for the appropriate playback techniques. For example, inputting pizz. playing techniques causes expression maps to use the Pizzicato playback technique to switch to the pizzicato sound for playback. If the expression map cannot locate the sound, the playback technique applied either remains the same as the previous playback technique or reverts to the natural playback technique.

In Dorico Pro, there are the following types of playback techniques:


Only applies to a single note at the corresponding rhythmic position, such as an up bow playing technique or staccato articulation.


Applies from the corresponding rhythmic position onwards, until it is replaced by another playback technique, such as pizzicato followed by arco.

  • Custom playing techniques that use playback techniques which do not already exist in expression maps do not play back automatically. In order for them to play back appropriately, you must add them to the expression maps for each instrument for which you want to use them. You must also assign an action for each custom playing technique that determines how the switch that triggers the technique is controlled.

  • If you have input a playing technique but cannot hear a change in the sound, you might be using a combination of playback techniques that the expression map does not expect. For example, if you input a new playing technique without cancelling an existing playing technique, the expression map cannot process the two corresponding playback techniques together if the expression map does not have an entry for those two techniques combined.

    To avoid playback technique clashes, you can add playback techniques that cannot be in use concurrently to the same mutual exclusion group in the corresponding expression maps. Alternatively, you can create a combination of those playback techniques in order to use them simultaneously.

  • You can enable independent voice playback for individual instruments to hear different playing techniques, tremolos, jazz articulations, or articulations in different voices simultaneously.