Adding independent lines in drumset score

• Aug 15, 2022 - 17:41

I am a newcomer and trying to produce some scores for drumset. I am having trouble adding phrases and notes for different drum set sounds (snare, cymbal, etc.) so that the different lines for each of these sounds line up with the measure beats but are independent of one another. When I go to add a snare drum sound, for example, it seems to affect the cymbal line above it, changing the rhythms in the cymbal line, athough I only want to alter/add to the snare drum line. Can someone help by letting me know what I must do to add, say, a cymbal, snare drum, bass drum, and hi hat line that line up to the beats in a measure while each has its own independent rhythmic flow. My difficulty seems to be in how to place notes for each of these drumset parts without impacting the others above or below on the staff.


Easiest way would be to click "Edit Drumset", locate the sounds you're using, and change the "default voice" drop-down to a different number for each. You're limited to four voices, so plan ahead to avoid conflict if you want to use more than four sounds. Once you have a system you like, you can save it to be used in future scores.

Drumset music is normally notated with two voices - no more are generally needed even though four limbs are involved. That's because for most durms, duration doesn't matter, so you can "cheat" the note values to combine what are otherwise different rhythms in a single voice.

So example, to have a "ding ding-a ding" note ride pattern but also have snare hits on 2 & 4, you simply make those snare hits eighths instead of quarters. Then you can combine the snare on 2 with the ride on 2 as a single "chord", and the whole thing requires only one voice so far:

Screenshot 2022-08-15 2.21.23 PM.png

Voice 1 is typically used for the drums/cymbals played with the hands. Then you use voice 2 to write the parts for the feet the same way. Here for instance, I have the bass drum on 1 & 3, with the hi-hat on 3&, which is accomplished by making the bass drum on 3 an eighth instead of a quarter:

Screenshot 2022-08-15 2.25.14 PM.png

And to be clear: this isn't some weird MsueScore-only quirk. This is absolutely the norm in virtually all published music. You use no more than two voices (some publishers use only one, but normally only for very simplistic rhythms), but think carefully about the durations of the notes to allow you to combine both hands into the top voice, both feet into the bottom.

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