Adding vocal percussion

• Aug 24, 2013 - 15:34

I'm making an arrangement for 5 female voices. I'd like to add vocal percussion at some parts of the arrangement. It seems impossible to do that in the existing vocal parts. I'd prefer not to have to add an extra instrument part (drums).

Does anyone have a solution?


You can change the noteheads to cross, diamond, triangle or whatever to indicate percussion. If you want to play back percussion noises, though, you'll need a percussion stave.

I am not sure whether this would work, but it is a thought. If you could lay out the score so that the line with the vocal percussion did not have any singing on it, you could simply add the percussion line as a separate instrument. Then, in the menubar, go to Style > Edit General Style and select the option "Hide Empty Measures." What this would do would be to hide the staff with the vocal part if there were no measures with notes in them (only rests) on a paricular line. This would also be true of the percussion line. I am going to make a simple example to show what I mean because I don't think I am explaining it very well.

Attachment Size
Vocal_percussion_example.mscz 2.7 KB

In reply to by Jm6stringer

I see in your example that Voice one turns into the percussion stave. Gonna have to try that.
In my arrangement though I would like also for example to use singing and vocal percussion in the same bar. I hope I managed to add the example. In the first alto line you might see what I mean. The 'tsjk' should be percussion.

Attachment Size
vocalpercussion example.mscz 4.01 KB

In reply to by maysplace

For clarity, in my example, voice one does not really *change* into the percussion staff. You can open the menu item: Style / Edit General Style / Score and uncheck the 'Hide empty staves' box. This will show all the staves.
(That's what Jake was referring to earlier.)

I looked at your 'vocal percussion example.mscz' and it seems as if this serves your purpose of 'singing and vocal percussion in the same bar'. Does it not?
I also noticed that the 'tsjk' (percussion) repeatedly falls on beat 2 and beat 4. Is this a percussive effect performed vocally by the singer (like beat boxing) or is it something else, like a tambourine hit on beats 2 & 4 performed by the first alto? Just curious...

In reply to by maysplace

In MuseScore 2.0, it will be possible to change sounds mid-score. But do keep in mind, the primary purpose of MuseScore is notation, with playback intended to just be a rough guide. So there will always be cases where certain things won't playback the way a human would.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

If the software is meant for notation why is it not possible to write percussion symbols like x instead of a note on all instruments. In Argentine Tango All instruments contribute to percussion and those sounds have to added to the staff of the staff of the instruments to indicated the rhythm.

In reply to by lilyaloha1

Welcome to 7(!) years later, where you can select any note on a standard staff and use the inspector (F8) to change the notehead to a plethora of things, included crosses (x).
For playback though, you'll have to add a (hidden) percussion instrument in which you notate (or copy-paste) the same rhythm. But if its just about notation, this has been possibly for a couple of years now.

In reply to by maysplace

See the attachment, which is based on your new example...

I used an instrument (violin) which can change sounds midway in a score. (Then I renamed it back to 'Alto' in the score)

In my attachment, open the menu item: Display, then click on 'Show Invisible'
The p's and n's staff text in the score are for 'pizzicato' and 'normal' sounds. In Musescore, they can be played back differently. In Display / Mixer it will show the Part List. I re-assigned the violin sounds.

Doing this, I eliminated the Drumset staff, so the Alto singer will *not* have to 'switch from his own line to the extra percussion line'.

Also see: ...which concerns assigning sounds on a voice-by-voice basis. Were this possible, you could have created a second voice in the Alto singer's part for the vocal percussion, then assigned a different sound to it. (Maybe someday...)
and ...about an upcoming playback-only staff (i.e your 'Drumset') which would not take up any space in the score.

Attachment Size
vocal with percussion same staff.mscz 4.57 KB

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