Buzz Rolls

• Nov 23, 2011 - 00:50

The feature of a buzz roll for percussive instruments would be handy, also the addition of four lines through the stem


Unfortunately there is no drum roll sound in the default SoundFont, however someone has been working on a specialist percussion soundfont for use with MuseScore - the relevant forum article is here:

Four lines through the stem?

Three lines is already achievable from the tremolo palette, which according to Wikipedia (I'm not a percussion specialist) is the conventional way of notating buzz rolls.

There is only just room for 3 tremolo lines - adding a fourth would make it too crowded without increasing the length of the stem.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

I'm no expert, but it seems to me it's a matter of coding, not soundfont. I already know for a fact that you can get a rolling effect using 32nd notes, as I did to get a double-bass effect in MuseScore. Why can't you just program it to read a tremolo and read it the same way it would read a bunch of 32nd notes (for example), and play them for the amount of time given by the type of note (quarter, half etc.)?


In reply to by Musicality_

Because you would get the infamous "machine gun" effect so beloved of 80's hip hop producers!

A proper buzz roll doesn't sound like that.

It's possible to fake it but you need to use notes on 4 MIDI channels to make it sound convincing, and MuseScore's MIDI playback is in its infancy.

Far better to use a drum roll sample.

In 2.0 the "four lines through the stem" has been implemented, but - as far as I know - it doesn't mean "buzz": it means "divide in 16".

A notation for buzz rolls is a "Z" through the stem, like this or this

Z should be added to the tremolo palette.

Also, it may be worth renaming the tremolo palette "tremolo/roll palette", to make users' lives easier.

In reply to by ciacnorris

The problem is that there is still no universally accepted standard for drum notation.

A Google search for drum roll notation will give you different notations on the first page.

As a workaround it would be easy (although time consuming) to use Staff Text to attach a Z to the note and then drag it into position, but once you have done the first you can use copy and paste to enter subsequent Zs


In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Thanks for the workaround.

Anyway, if you google "buzz roll" you'll find:
- people who use the double/triple/quadruple lines to notate it
- people who use the Z to notate it

The first way is already possible but it's ambiguous. The "Z" way, which just means "buzz roll", would just make tremolo/roll palette more complete.

Maybe also these Dry Crush, Wet Crush and Double Stop notations could be added to the palette:

I subdivide any note length using Control + number of notes to subdivide.

It's a fair sound although the notation is not the standard roll notation.

See attachment

Attachment Size
Drum_Rolls.mscz 3.75 KB

Do you still have an unanswered question? Please log in first to post your question.