Re-assign notes for keyboard entry of marching percussion parts?

• May 29, 2016 - 04:27

Is there a way to re-assign the letters you press to enter marching percussion notes? Specifically, it seems like a waste that we're assigning letters to rim knocks for the tenors and basses, rather than letting each drum have its own note. It's very annoying to have to manually enter notes on the spock tenor or top bass and that kind of breaks the point of using my keyboard for the rest of the drums.

Is there a way I can assign the drums to a sensible value and have it be immediately effective across all scores?


Within a single score, use the Edit Drumset button. Globally, you can edit instruments.xml—that will apply toward all scores started in the future, and existing scores can then be updated by using Staff Properties to change to the new version of the same instrument (as mentioned at the end of

What would you suggest the default shortcuts should be? Keep in mind that only A–G are available for note input.

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

My suggestions for default shortcuts:

Tenors: A–E for the current 5 drum main "hit" sounds. The alternate sounds (rim shots, shell hits, etc…) may be reached either with the mouse or via the up & down arrows after the "main" note was places. This leaves F and G open for future expansion . Perhaps F could be the 2nd Spock and G could be for a rimshot on drum 5? Those latter two are complete suggestions.

Basses: A–E for the current basses (again, reach the rim knock via mouse or arrow). If unison bass hits are implemented (please tell me they will be soon or let me know what I can do to help speed along that process), I'd use F or G for the unison bass hit. The other note I'd use for a unison rim click (I've encountered those *far* more often than any individual drum making a rim click). Even if we were to add a 6th drum, I'd still keep 5 notes for the 5 drums and then the other two for unison notes, since 6 bass drum parts in one drumline is extremely rare (but they certainly exist).

I've added a quickly-modified instruments.xml to this post with my changes in it. It looks like I'll have to go through my custom drumline templates to update them to the new notation as well as my scores, but changing the instrument definition worked.

Unrelated: is there any reason why the issue tracker and forum have separate feature sets when making a post? I wanted to use the [node:105141] notation to make my link but that didn't want to work, and markdown only works when making a new issue and never when making a comment.

Attachment Size
instruments.xml 432.33 KB

In reply to by Isaac Weiss

Should I create an issue to go with my PR, or just send in a PR once I've made the shortcuts ones I like? I'll probably make some other notation tweaks as well, since I'd really like to make it so the marching snares actually use their whole 5-line staff, which would make it much easier to differentiate between (for example) rim shots and stick clicks (and I'd take a stab at improving cymbal notation as well).

In reply to by duck57

I would put it in the issue tracker as a feature request assigned to you.

That way any relevant discussion has a home.

It would be best to split each section into separate issues so that it is easier to keep track of what you are doing.

So rather than a blanket issue: Improve key assignments for marching percussion.

Split it across the instruments...

Improve key assignments for marching tenors
Improve key assignments for marching basses


Oh and welcome to the dev team :)

PS would you be in a position to help out with samples for the marching percussion section of the soundfont?

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

A couple questions:

1. When splitting into separate issues, should I make one PR for each issue, or make one PR that addresses them all? From my end, it would be easier to make all my instruments.xml changes at once, but I don't know if things work nicer on the merging end to separate each issue fix into a separate PR.
2. Do I need to run the after *any* change to instruments.xml, or is that only necessary for adding or renaming an instrument?
3. I also want to suggest some notation improvement for marching snares and cymbals (to improve legibility [mostly snares] and reduce ambiguity [mostly cymbals]):
3a: Do I make one issue per instrument, or should "Improve key assignments for marching snares" and "Improve notation for marching snares" be separate issues?
3b: Same as above but about PRs.

1. Thanks
2. What would you need help with? I don't have experience with editing soundfonts currently, but I can learn some things about them.

In reply to by duck57

1. There's no reason why you can't do a blanket PR which addresses all the issues at once. All that is necessary is to enter the PR link into the issues in the tracker - easily done with copy and paste.

2. I'm not sure what you mean by I wasn't even aware of its existence, and have never used it when submitting changes to Instruments.xml.

3. You could use the same issue to address both notation and key assignments.

Finally I would need you to record samples, and then release them under an Open Source compatible licence such as MIT or CC0. CC-by may also be compatible though I should check with Lasconic

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

I've got no idea if my recording equipment (Blue snowball microphone and iPhone) would be good enough. I could ask one of the local HS bands if I can record samples of their drums (though they may not be precisely tuned until the fall, when they'll be used for performances)

Are there any specific samples you are looking for?

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