Issues with drum notation.

• Dec 6, 2020 - 11:14

Im attempting to leave Sibelius (can't stand the bugs anymore!) as there are so many great things about Musescore when notating drum kit. There are just a couple of things I feel are lacking and I am hoping I just don't know the key commands! It seems strange that I can't click on a note and move it up and down the stave with the arrow keys. They do shift but only in the order the drum set parts are organised in the drum palette. Am I missing something? To me it would seem logical if I clicked for instance on a hi hat and pressed the arrow up key once that it would move to a crash cymbal rather than other elements of the drums first. Having to select a note and then search in the drum palette just seems slow to me. If this is not currently possible can anyone tell me if its in the pipeline? I see piano notes can be shifted up and down with ease. I guess another way around this would be to have a modifier key to assign more shortcuts to note placement.

Also, it would be nice if we were able to reorganise the order of drums presented in the palette at the bottom of the screen. As a drummer I don't find them ordered in a logical way. It would make more sense to move from the bottom of the stave to the top or visa versa rather than at random like it currently is.

I am absolutely loving Musescore at the moment, but these issues seem to be the only thing holding the software back for me at present. Thanks in advance for any replies! And I wish I had discovered Musescore ages ago!


Thanks for your comments!

I guess to me, it seems more logical that the arrows move logically rather than just visually - I'm more like to want to move a a note from one tom to another than to move it to a snare or cymbal. Of course, it would be better still if it were possible to customize the palette ordering, as you say (you have the General MIDI standard to thank for the nonsensical default, I believe). And it could be interesting to have a separate command for ignoring the palette and just moving visually. On pitched staves, we use Up/Down to move chromatically, Alt+Shift+Up/Down to move diatonically. What if the latter did what you are wanting?

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Visually def works for me. As there aren’t enough shortcuts I’d probably wanna input say a high Tom and then shift it down to mid Tom. In
Sibelius I tend to add a bunch of hats and then either add kick or snare underneath with shortcuts or arrow down or up if a note is close by. I love in Musescore that the correct noteheads appear when you input them. Having to constantly change noteheads in Sibelius is frustrating. The alt shift arrow would be fine. Obviously the less modifiers the better for speed. Also when you copy and paste a bar and then have to make a minor adjustment the arrow changes are so useful.

One other thing I think could be changed is for example adding brackets for ghost notes. Off the top of my head it’s shift + bracket. This is fine. But if I decided I didn’t want a ghost note I would expect if I pressed shift bracket again that it would remove the ghost note. It applies an accidental but doesn’t remove it.

Thanks for replying. I feel bad chiming in with criticisms but I feel like this is so close to being great as far as drum notation goes. Obviously I know drums is only a very small part of what the software is designed to do. I will go stick my requests in the correct area!

Oh one other thing. It would be nice to edit the drum palette to remove any parts of a drum kit that you don’t need to use. Things like tambourine etc.

Other than this. I’m am loving Musescore. I’m def gonna be using Sibelius less.


In reply to by Darby Todd

To me, though, the toms are exactly why you don't want visual adjustment. Consider: high tom is on the top staff line by default. If you wish to move it, it's probably to another tom, but you really want it to just move from tom to tom, not all the other sounds that also use those same lines & spaces. Down from the top line would be the top space, sure, but then what about the other sounds that use that same space? You don't want to have to cycle through them. You want something smarter than that, something that goes directly from tom to tom regardless of whether some cymbals or other sounds share those same lines and spaces.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

This may just be a case of me wanting to force my workflow into the product! I think I’m just so used to arrowing from one note to another. Maybe this is where non automatic noteheads in Sibelius are vaguely useful. It’s rare I add cowbell or any other non drum related note. So I guess I can’t have it both ways. I’m just so used to editing a note by moving it up or down with arrows and then changing the notehead if needed. still seems faster than using the mouse to select a note. Being able to rearrange the drum palette would be a major bonus. But seems from what has been said that it’s a midi note issue! Either way I’m sure a bit more usage will get me faster at doing what I want to do! I’m
Very happy I’m so close to ditching avid! I ditched Pro Tools last year after ten years and haven’t looked back. This is the final leap!

Thanks again.

In reply to by Darby Todd

I think also I'm not making myself clear. I'm not saying the existing scheme is logical. I'm just pointing out that logical may be better than purely visual.

Here's mayb e a better example:

Say you've redefined your drumset so that the toms are, instead of line-space-line-space, just the four spaces. Meanwhile you use the lines for cymbals, say. Now, what do you expect to happen when you arrow down from the top space tom? I'd prefer it to go to the next tom, which is the next space - thus skipping the line. Wouldn't you?

So what I'm saying is, I think a purely visual algorithm would be less efficient than one that was logical, exactly the use case you are describing.


But FWIW, I virtually never use the mouse as it is, I use the keyboard shortcuts, and then adjust pitch where needed using the arrows just as you describe. And I would prefer that operation to be more logical, so it always moved form tom to tom, not going through a bunch of unrelated sounds.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

That makes sense! Well let’s see if this is something people seem worthy of implementing. There’s clearly no one way of doing it but I reckon it could be a bit more logical as you say! I was just so used to moving through notes and changing heads in Sibelius if need be. Out of interest. The thing I mentioned about adding an accidental and then using the same shortcut to remove it. Does that work on any of the accidentals that get inputted via a shortcut? ive not had time to check others yet. Seems that using a shortcut as an in or off switch would be useful. You make very valid points in your last post!


I believe the order of cycling using the arrow keys is the (midi)-pitch order associated with those sounds. So pressing "up" will move to the next "pitch" rather than the next visual representation currently.

Being able to reorder the drum input panel makes a lot of sense; please add an issue to the issue tracker with a severity of "S5 - Suggestion".

Welcome to MuseScore, we have different bugs ;-)

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