Entering and editing percussion notation


    Drumset example

    On a percussion staff, each line or space is allocated to a different instrument (rather than a different note as is the case with melodic instruments). Noteheads of different shapes (such as crossheads) are also used in addition to the standard ones.

    Multiple voices may be used to group different instruments that are playing at once. For example, in a drumset, voice 1 (with stems upward) usually shows instruments played by the hands, such as drums and cymbals; while voice 2 (stems downward) shows instruments played by the feet, such as the bass drum and hi-hat pedal (see image above).

    Types of percussion staves

    Generally, percussion music is written on a 5-line, 3-line, or 1-line staff. When a percussion instrument is added to a score via the New Score Wizard or the Instruments dialog, MuseScore automatically chooses the most appropriate staff type. This can be changed by using the "Staff type" column in the Instruments dialog.

    Adding a percussion staff to your score

    You can add a percussion staff to your score in the same way other instruments are added. SeeInstruments dialog for more details.

    Entering notes and rests in percussion staves

    Using the Drum input palette

    The Drum input palette allows you to enter notes using a mouse.

    Drum input palette

    First, enter note input mode by following these steps:
    1. Select the percussion staff you'd like to add notes to.
    2. Enter Note Input mode (see Entering notes and rests)
    3. The Drum input palette will appear at the bottom of the window.

    The Drum input palette displays all of the percussion instruments in the currently selected staff. Clicking on one of the note previews will display the name of that instrument.

    To input notes into your score:
    1. Select the instrument you'd like to use in the Drum input palette.
    2. Select your desired note duration using the Note input toolbar.
    3. Click the score where you would like to add the notes. You don't need to worry about placing it on the correct line/space because it will automatically snap into position.

    Enter notes using the mouse and the drum input palette (animated image)

    Using keyboard shortcuts

    The drum input palette provides keyboard shortcuts for inputting the most common instruments in a percussion staff.

    1. Select the percussion staff you'd like to add notes to.
    2. Enter Note Input mode by pressing the N key.
    3. Use the letters shown in the drum input palette to insert notes. You can use the shortcuts described in Keyboard shortcuts to change note duration and perform other actions.

      Drum input palette

    If you'd like to insert notes that don't have a shortcut, you can input a nearby note that does have a shortcut, then use the up/down arrow keys to cycle through the instruments until you find the one you want.

    Shortcuts can be customized by using the Edit drumset feature.

    Using a MIDI controller

    • Aalso applies to the Piano Keyboard