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Using Digital Performer’s Articulation Maps

MOTU Digital Performer Tips & Techniques By Matt Lapoint
Published February 2023

Screen 1: The Articulation Map Setup window.Screen 1: The Articulation Map Setup window.

DP’s Articulation Maps can help you get the most out of your sampled instruments.

DP’s Articulation Maps (AM) allow you to dynamically apply variation to the output of a MIDI track using remote triggers that affect the output of the track. Triggers can be keys on your MIDI keyboard (Note On messages), buttons on your MIDI controller (CC messages) or other MIDI sources such as a footswitch. AMs are a powerful and expressive way to control virtual instruments. In particular, AMs are the Holy Grail for film composers using today’s premium sample libraries, which employ advanced scripting and controllers. DP’s AM window provides full control over these advancements. You can even go well beyond orchestral VI libraries by thinking of AM as an advanced MIDI filter plug‑in for many different MIDI workflows. AMs are highly flexible and configurable, and let you create global and project‑specific maps. You can import and export custom maps and import third‑party maps, including Cubase Expression Maps.

Accessing Articulation Maps

First, create an instrument track (in DP11.1 or higher), or create a separate MIDI track assigned to a hardware MIDI device or VI. Then open the AM Setup window from the Project menu — it can also be found in the MIDI Editor mini‑menu and the Sequence Editor track settings menu. Run Command (Shift+Spacebar) is another way to quickly call up the AM window, or any other command. The AM Setup window floats and is resizable, which is great for managing high numbers of maps, folders and articulations.

Next, choose a MIDI or instrument track from the Track menu in the top‑left corner of the window (Screen 1). Below the Track menu is the Articulation Maps list. Click on New Map below the list to create a new, empty AM. Notice that it is selected, which means that it is assigned to the track you chose earlier. As you build up additional AMs, you can assign them to tracks by selecting the track from the menu and then selecting the desired map in the list. You can assign the same map to any number of tracks, but each track can only have one map assigned to it.

The Articulation Maps list shows Global and Project maps. Global maps are available in all DP11 projects and Project maps are assigned to the project they were created from. The Import and Export buttons allow you to transfer project‑specific maps between projects. Use New Folder to organise maps. Double‑click to rename the folders and drag maps in and out of folders as desired. Right‑click on the list for contextual menu commands such as Copy, Paste, Move to Trash (to your computer’s trash can), and Copy to Project, which copies a selected Global AM into the active project folder. Project maps travel with the project when it’s shared with other DP11 users.

Creating Articulations

Articulations are created, named and assigned in the centre column of the AM Setup window. The Click For New Articulation option adds a new assigned articulation. Double‑click on the name to rename it, or use the Name field in the upper‑right corner of the AM Setup window. Click on the colour square to choose a custom colour for each articulation. Right‑click on articulations in the list to get a contextual menu with Erase, Cut, Copy and Paste commands. Drag articulations vertically to reorder them in the list.

The settings in the right‑hand column in the AM Setup window pertain to the...

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