How do you enter drum parts that are in the same voice that have different rhythms?

• Dec 23, 2014 - 16:28

I am using one of the nightly builds (6d886b7 to be exact), so I am following the Musescore 2.0 drum part note entry method.

I get it generally. However, since floor toms and the snare drum are in the same voice as cymbals, how do you enter the parts when the rhythm is not the same in the voice?

The first image attached is from the original score. You can see that in beat 3, the crash cymbal plays on beat three (as a quarter note). However, with the tom-snare combination, there is a eighth note rest on beast 3 followed by an eighth note tom (followed by two eighth notes tom-snare which I know how to enter).

The second image is a screenshot of the measure from Musescore prior to entering the tom-snare. If I select the quarter note cymbal on beat three and try to select eighth note from the note entry toolbar (or type 5), it will convert the cymbal to an eighth note - not what I want, and I can't insert the eighth rest that I want. I tried using Voice 3, but that won't work as it appears that Musescore drum parts are hardwired to voices.

I am sure I am missing something...any help appreciated!

Note: On beat 2 I have already given up on trying to make the snare note a quarter like in the original part for the same reason, but since it does not affect when you strike the drum in the measure I can live with it I suppose.


First, by definition, if two drums are in same voice, they *must* have the same rhythms. If you wish them to have different rhythms, you must eneter them into different voices. The example you post uses three voices, so if you need to copy it *exactly*, you will need to use voice 3 as well (change to voice 3 using the toolbar after selecting the icon in the drum palette, then enter the note using the mouse).

However, I would observed that the way this was originally notated is not how it would normally be notated. There was really no reason the crash symnbol needed to be notated as a quarter note. It will ring just as long if you notate it as an eighth. So the convention in drum music is to simply use whatever note lengths are convenient to allow everything to be expressed in two voices - or in some circles, everything is reduced to just *one* voice.

In this case, changing the crash on beat three to an eighth allows you to bring the tom in on the "and" without requiring a third voice, and this is how the majority of publishers would have done it. Similarly, the hits on beat 2 could have been combined, just as you did in your example. That's the more standard way of notating this. But if you really wish to reroduce the three-voice model of the original, that would be entered the same as I described above - select the icon, change voice, then enter note with mouse.

In reply to by mjzwick

Again, if the rhythms are different, then *by definition* they are in different voices. But it totally works to place them in the same voice - just enter the triplets for the snare and add the ride in the same voice on the beat. The length of the ride will be 1/3 of a beat. If you actually need the ride to be a quarter note, you need separate voices, but again, I guarantee there is no difference in sound between a ride notated as a quarter note versus as 1/3 of a beat.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Not to belabor, but let's say ride on beat four is two eighth notes and the snare is a triplet (the classic walk and chew gum rhythm), then you would have to break them into different voices. It does not happen often, but it does happen.

Anyway, thanks for the help: drum scoring is new for me!

In reply to by mjzwick

Ah, you said you wanted the ride "on beat", which I look to literally mean, *only* on the beat (eg, four quarter notes in 4/4 time). If you need two eighth notes against three triplets within a single beat, inhdeed, by definition, you want two separate vocies - there is no such thing as two different rhythms in a single voice. That's not arbitrary limitation of MuseScore; it's just part of what it means in standard music notation to to say we have a "voice".

That said, you *can* actually represent this, in a not very easy-to-read way, using a single voice. You need to make a sextuplet. Then the triplet is formed by taking every second note, the eighths by taking every third note. But I wouldn't recommend that. I'm not a fan of the approach of putting everything into a single voice because it often requires hacks like this. But two vocies is almost always sufficiently clear.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

I'm having a problem with MS 2.0 in Linux. I try to enter a second voice on a single-line unpitched percussion staff. I'm trying to set up an afterbeat pattern. It lets me enter the eighth rest but then I can't enter any notes. In fact, it won't let me enter notes at all.

One possible problem is that "Edit Drumset" seems to bring up the note head "Invalid" every time. I change it to "Normal" or "Cross" and that seems to let me make a Voice 1 entry on the staff. But not a Voice 2. Playing around with it a little, it seems like what's happening is that the 2nd voice is entering but not displaying.

In reply to by Coby Ingram

In order to understand what is going on, we would need you to attach the score you are having trouble with, and to describe step-by-step what you are doing. It seems likely that your drumset definition is not consistent with how you want your notes to appear, but without seeing the score, we can't say much more than that. It would also help if you described how you created this staff in the first place - was it the result of a MIDi or MusicXML import, did you select a particular instrument when setting up the score, did you change any staff properties, etc.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

The problem is that it's common to notate drums with voices on a combined beam. e.g. within a single beat you might have a kick and a hat on 8ths, and some ghost notes in between on a snare in the same beat. But the kick is a crotchet, the hats are quavers, and the snare ghost notes are semiquavers, but the way musescore ads these if you treat them as separate voices, is to add the snare as single semiquavers, with rests before and after. You can delete the rests, but what you really want is one single semi-quaver beam joining it all into one rhythm, and it's not clear how to do that.

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