Drum notation

Updated 9 years ago
This page shows old instructions for MuseScore 1.
For MuseScore 4 users, see Drum notation.

Example drum notation
Sample Drum Notation

Notation for drumsets often include simultaneous upstem and downstem notes. If you are unfamiliar with editing multiple voices in a single staff, see voices for an overview. See below for instructions specific to percussion notation.

MIDI keyboard

The easiest way to add drum notation to your score is via MIDI keyboard. Most MIDI keyboard have percussion markings above each key. If you press the key for high hat, then MuseScore will add the correct notation to the score. MuseScore automatically takes care of the stem direction and type of note head.

Computer keyboard

Only a few drum-instruments are mapped to shortcut by default. You can add more with right click on the staff Edit drumset...

  • c for Bass-Drum
  • d for Ride


Note entry for unpitched percussion works differently than for other instruments, so here are the special steps:

  1. Select a note or rest in the percussion staff. Please note that the Drum palette will remain empty until you have completed this step
  2. Press "N" to begin note entry
  3. Select a note duration from the Note Input toolbar
  4. Select a type of note (such as bass drum or snare) from the drum palette
  5. Click on the percussion staff to add the note to the score