The annual question... Who is using Cubase Expression Maps

Guitarsound77

New Member
I agree that would be super cool, but its unlikely because of the way Cubase handles midi track routing. Each track has to choose a port, and then that track has a bunch of attributes including which expression map for that port. It wouldn't matter if expression maps themselves had a PORT attribute unless they completely upgrade midi track routing in cubase, which is unlikely.

I'm not sure you really want so many things in one expression map anyway, it would be ridiculous to try to maintain that many slots. Could easily be literally thousands of slots, especially if you use the groups feature at all. Not only that, but then you would have to have this ginormous singular expression map that is laid out exactly like your overall project template with very little ability to shift tracks around or reuse in different ways. Much better to have smaller modular expression maps.

But i hear you, there isn't a very good way to handle multi-channel articulations across more than 16 channels across multi ports. Only LogicPro can do that right now.

Cubase generally is a bit limited by the fact that each midi track can only send to one midi port at a time. I have an idea for a VST3 plugin that could work around that limitation, but its just a fantasy right now. I also have some ideas about using scripting, but it requires still some midi routing improvement, either with Cubase or one of the third party plugin hosters like BlueCatAudio Patchworks or something to be improved. Otherwise, you're just simply limited to 16 articulation channels per instrument...

CUBASE CAN send midi more than one midi port . just use midi sends . there is 4 midi sends + main midi out . Снимок.PNG
 
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Dewdman42

Senior Member
Midi send does not change the situation. There is no way to specify on a per note basis which send to send the midi to. All that does is duplicate all midi to a couple of other ports if you want. The track inspector only allows you to specify which channel to send midi too. If you use a send, then for example, all events on midi channel 4 will go both to the main midi port and each fo the configured sends... These sends are not recognized as independent midi channels by anything inside the track, including the inspector, expression maps, midi plugins, etc. They can only designate channel 1-16. Then sends will duplicate whatever is there to a few other ports if you wish. That is not good enough to support expression maps addressing multiple ports.
 
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shawnsingh

Senior Member
I had JXL video playing in the background while working on some other stuff... One other interesting workflow he pointed out is that with Directions you can setup the articulations before recording any notes. Then you can record your notes while the articulations change automatically as you play. Pre-programmed patch changes. Might come in handy. You can't do that with attributes. The attributes have to be attached to notes that are already recorded. So that is a cool use case for DIRECTIONS.

He didn't cover GROUPS at all, which I feel is a very powerful feature of Expression Maps. When using groups then it suddenly makes a lot of sense to use DIRECTIONS for maybe the secondary group. For example, lets say your first group is the basic articulation, (ie, staccato, spiccato, etc.), then the second group is divisi. Might make sense to put the second group as DIRECTIONs.. or might not. Perhaps dynamics could be better there. For example in his demo he could have put light, medium, strong as group 2, and then staccato, long as the first group. I don't think he really setup that expression map the best way for what he was trying to achieve honestly. But the GROUP feature is hard for a lot of people to wrap their head around. so there is that.

He also didn't cover dynamics Mapping and he seems to be throwing CC7 into his articulations as an alternative to using Cubase Dynamics Map.. As I said earlier, whatever works for you, but I would still advise against putting CC7 into your fundamental expression map. Keep dynamics separate. CC7 effects the whole channel so unless you are also channelizing the articulations to separate instruments, that can cause issues eventually...and anyway, really he should have put CC7 into group 2 rather then embedded in group 1.

:emoji_grin:

Well I haven't been through this entire thread, but wanted to jump in because I'm just now discovering the potential greatness of groups. Here is what I think I understand about groups:

- "articulations" are what appear in the midi editor, not "sound slots"

- you can have up to four simultaneous articulations that apply to each midi note - one articulation from each group.

- cubase will try its best to find a sound slot that matches the simultaneous articulations that are specified. that sound slot then has a corresponding output mapping which is what cubase outputs / transforms.

I wish it were possible to associate key switches to articulations too, in addition to assigning to sound slots.

I see how it may become a bit of nightmare to define all possible sound slots for multiple simultaneous articulations. But after that initial setup, it seems like the workflow could be better for me - it would allow me to make keyswitches more consistent across libraries (for initial midi recording, prototyping, and for copy-pasting across libraries), while still having the ability to manually edit with all the unique articulation options of each library for better end results. But it will be a lot of work to set it up...
 

Sevenfold

New Member
The post Ivan referenced on Steinberg's forum was helpful for understanding Expression Map Groups. For me it showed a bit clearer the problem that Cubase was likely trying to solve initially: as a composer it would be natural to include both Legato and Sordino articulations at once, especially while scoring a piece. I could create a Sound Slot that has a "Legato and Sordino" articulation, but they are really separate arts. So I'd want to mark notes or passages with both articulations.

If I have a sound library that includes a specific instrument for that combination, I'd want that "Legato and Sordino" instrument to play it. But if I don't, I'd likely want at least a Legato instrument to play it. Using the Groups feature, Cubase can fall back to the primary articulation, Legato. It seems very flexible to me, and if I have a library with many separate arts I'd have to map them out anyway.

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But then I tried to create what the above forum post described... and it got murky. If I go into the Score Editor as mentioned, I get 2 Con Sordino arts:

1583982031695.png

First of all, the Score Editor version of the Expression Map list is horrible. The names are cut off at 6 characters. I already applied the "legato" art at this point, and wanted to add the Con Sordino to the score. Which "con so" is the one I want though? When I selected the first one, Cubase ended up applying 2 articulations from the same group, Group 1. It just played the "Legato" instrument. Wrong guess, so I chose the 2nd Con Sordino and it displayed as "con sord.2" in the Score Editor, which is nonsensical. But at least it somehow played the correct combination "Legato + Sordino" instrument. I guess success? It seems Cubase won't allow the same articulation name twice, so it forces a number at the end. Somehow it knows that "con sord." and "con sord.2" are the same articulation though, but it's not useful for scoring.

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I'm thinking I'll just scratch the Group feature off my list of useful features for now. It was exciting then it wasn't. I'm more confused now than before I thought I understood how to use it.
 

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youngpokie

Active Member
The post Ivan referenced on Steinberg's forum was helpful for understanding Expression Map Groups.
I’m not clear why you have two sordino articulations in your example. My understanding (perhaps wrong) is that if you create legato and separately in different groups, you can then create a combined Legato con Sordino articulation.
 

Sevenfold

New Member
I’m not clear why you have two sordino articulations in your example. My understanding (perhaps wrong) is that if you create legato and separately in different groups, you can then create a combined Legato con Sordino articulation.
I was building out the example in the Cubase forum post I referenced, but you're correct that it wouldn't make sense to have the same articulation in more than one group. That would eliminate some of the confusion but I'm still struggling with the workflow. It feels a bit rigid rather than fluid. There are a number of times where it would be useful though.
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
in order to have pizzicato and legato, and separately mutes and non-mute:

you would put pizz and legato as each being in group 1, and sordino and non-sordino as group 2. You need 4 total sound slots for all combinations of the 4.

it’s also may be possible to consider a missing group two value to mean non-sordino I think, but still you need all 4 sound slots. If you use attribute expressions, then a non entry for sordino can mean that but if you try to use direction type then you will need an explicit mute-off articulation

i will post graphics later of this example
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
Here are some screen shots...

Basically, if you use ATTRIBUTE style expressions, you can do it like this:

expressionMaps.jpg

Then you will see on your lanes this:

lanes.jpg

In the above example, the first note is con sardino and the second two notes do not have it.

The above only works if the Con Sordino articulation is an ATTRIBUTE type expression, which means it will need to be explicit set on every muted note.

If you want to use the DIRECTION expression type, then you will need both a mute and unmute articulation. It would look something like this:

direction.jpg

With that above, the lane has both a mute and unmute lane...and with this mode you can turn on mute once for a phrase and turn it off again later until further notice, etc..

lanedirection.jpg
 
OP
jononotbono

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
Ok, so enough is enough. I'm about to start building expression maps.

Should I use Program Changes or Keyswitches?
 
OP
jononotbono

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
What's best to map out the Expression maps? Key switches, Midi Channels, CC Values, Program Changes?
 
OP
jononotbono

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
Well I don't wanna use CC Values. I guess selecting Short arts in CS2 or CSS is fine to use a fader but I'd rather not have a fader to do any of that. I want to use buttons on my touch screen to select them.
 

method1

Active Member
I've been using Metagrid, that way I can combine various note selection presets with articulations.
I wish MG had a computer based editor though, it can be slow going setting up each button.
 
OP
jononotbono

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
Ok, so looking at the JXL Expression map video again. Specifically at the Output Mapping section. Is he using CC7 as an attempt to balance his arts in his template or does this act as a midi. chase kind of thing where the volume is always going to be at 90? Or the volume will never exceed more than 90?

Is anyone else here including a CC7 max volume?

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