In percussion notation, the lines and spaces of the music staff are allocated to different instruments—rather than different pitches—and a range of different notehead shapes is used.
The example below shows a simple drumkit beat on a five-line music staff. By convention, the bass drum rhythm is written on the lowest space of the staff, the snare drum on the third space, and the closed hihat, using crosshead notes, on the space above the staff.
Stem direction usually describes whether an instrument is hit with a hand-stick or with a foot-pedal. Musescore use the Musescore Voices feature to help create notes that have different stem direction.
Percussion music is usually written on a 5-line, 3-line, or 1-line staff—depending on the instrument. When a percussion instrument is created using the New Score dialog, MuseScore automatically chooses the most appropriate staff type. This can be changed later, if necessary, using the "Staff type" column in the Instruments panel. You can also create a Custom staff types.
There are several ways of entering music on a percussion staff:
After each note or rest is entered, the cursor automatically advances so that it is in the correct position for subsequent entry.
This method is suitable for adding instruments which have a keyboard shortcut displayed in the Drum Input palette.
Note: Shortcuts can be changed in the Edit drumset dialog.
To add notes to a percussion staff from a MIDI keyboard:
Note: Refer to a GM2 drum map for details about which MIDI keyboard key corresponds to which percussion instrument.
To add notes to a percussion staff from the virtual Piano Keyboard:
Note: Refer to a GM2 drum map for details about which piano key corresponds to which percussion instrument.
You can customize the notation of instruments inside the "drumset" Musescore Instrument using the Edit drumset dialog and
To customize percussion staff, see Staff/Part properties and chapters under Idiomatic notation: Percussion.
Edit drumset dialog can be opened in note input mode from the Drum input palette by clicking on the Edit drumset button (bottom left of the program window). Alternatively, in normal mode, right-click on the percussion staff and select Edit drumset...
On the left is a list of available percussion instruments. You can put these in MIDI number order by clicking on the "No." heading; this automatically shows them in note order as well. Clicking again puts the list in reverse order.
The right of the dialog shows you how the selected instrument is displayed on the percussion staff: its name, position, notehead type and note-stem direction.
Any changes made here are automatically saved in the parent MuseScore file (after pressing OK). You can also save the drumset independently as a drumset file.
[the following is a work in progress, "major percussion overhaul" is upcoming https://musescore.org/en/node/354177 , in the meantime see Musescore 3 handbook Drum notation, feature is still identical in Musescore 4.1.1 ]
Diddles can be added by using an eighth-note Tremolo.
To add a vibraphone pedal line, see Pedal.
To add a drumroll to your score, see Tremolo.
To enter sticking symbols (R, L):