Proposed changes to MuseScore 2's drumset defaults

• Jan 8, 2015 - 16:39

The MuseScore Handbook drum notation page links to a good guide* to reading drum notation which defines it in a way that is familiar to me and which I think MuseScore should largely adhere to although I think it also has a few small things which could be improved so I thought I'd share my ideas with the community. If enough people agree with me then maybe the default drumset as shipped with v2 could adopt some of these suggestions.

I propose we change the E key from being the shortcut for high tom to inserting a sticked open hi-hat, which IMO is used more often than any of the toms in most styles.

I would also like to suggest changing two other properties of the current open hihat defaults. The open hihat should be on the same line of the stave as the closed hi-hat is by default but it should use the XCircle notehead instead of the cross. This will align Musescore's open hihat notation closer to what is defined in the linked guide and what most drummers are used to seeing.

Another suggestion for improving the readability that applies to both the pdf and the current defaults is to use different noteheads for each of the different cymbals and to alternate noteheads between consecutive cymbals instead of just using the cross for every cymbal. I like to use the diamond, triangle, xcircle, Mi, Do and Ti noteheads to represent cymbals.

I'd like to hear what other MuseScore drummers and devs think of the above.

* on


I can't speak for other styles, but I'd say toms are more important than open hi-hat in jazz. Maybe not by enough to be worth holding out over, though. And I could always use a different default in the jazz templates if I thought it important. But I guess to me, this is the one I care least about. The rest seem non-negotiable, but this last shortcut could be either of these or something else and I probably would be equally happy.

Beyond that, I can't really say I have preferences. I have hundreds of scores and around a dozen different guides to percussion notation at my disposal, and I doubt any two of them agree on everything. About the only thing I can say is that assuming "most drummers" are used to seeing any one style in particular is probably a fallacy. Also, I'd be mildly opposed to any change that resulted to any but the cross heads being used for ride, crash, or hi-hat pedal. I'm pretty sure most of my sources agree on a simply cross-head for crash, ride, and hi-hat pedal; I'd have to see a *lot* of example to contrary to be convinced otherwise.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thanks for your feedback Marc!

Seems you don't agree with with any of my suggestions but thats fine. Thankfully MS is easily customisable so its not a big deal. I like to make such suggestions if I have good reason for doing so.

Almost all the drum scores I've ever seen have drawn a small circle over open hihat notes hence my suggestion on modifying that to something similar. That's the way I'll continue to notate stuff. Using diamond noteheads for cymbals is also very common, at least in Europe.

In reply to by danboid

It's not that I *disagree*; I just don't have a strong opinion either way. I would agree that notating open/closed high hat with articulations rather than noteheads is quite common, but we don't have a way to do that automatically. What this might suggest to me is that we should probably put the notes on the same line, both with cross heads, and depend on the user to add the articulation symbols, but I can easily see there will be some who won't like that the default would then be for open and closed to look the same. Now that I think about it, maybe that's where the compromise of putting open & closed on different lines came from in the first place.

it's a tough problem, maybe no great solution, just a choice between different compromises...

In reply to by xavierjazz

Hi-hat *pedal* is of course extremely common in jazz, perhaps more so than any other genre. Hi-hat *sticks* - both open and closed - are indeed common as well, sure, but not necessarily more so than toms. I don't know, again, it seems there is no perfect solution, just a choice between different compromises.

In reply to by danboid

a small circle over open hihat notes

This notation is indeed quite common and MuseScore has not really a great support for it. One improvement I would like to see/make in the future is to add an "articulation" to the definition of a instrument in a drumset. So one could define "small circle over x note" as open hi hat.

I prefer a circle above the hihat for open hihats.
1 line higher a Xcircle for crash.
I would love to change the note head for the toms by a note with a circle.
In previous edition of musescore, I changed it by an open note. But I can't find how to change it in Musescore 2
A note with a circle is easier to read for my students. Some books use it.

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