Added Support to Sextet Tenor Drums + More Drumline

• Apr 7, 2016 - 21:30

Recently when writing drumline music in MuseScore, I noticed a couple things that I'd like to bring up for discussion to possibly be added.

Specifically, 6 tenor drums. I am used to writing for 6 (4 + 2 Spocks) instead of the default 5 (4 + 1 Spock). However, there is no sound I can use for another spock, but it would be nice to have another one for multiple uses. Example:
Tenor Music.png
Also, tenor drum rim shots. While there are for snares, there are none for tenors. Every once and a while I find myself using these for drum features, but I never seem to use the mute feature.

Another thing I'd like is the use of a unison bass drum hit with only one note, preferably the middle line. Basically so you don't have to click every single drum into the staff, instead just click the middle line and have the big "BOOM" that all five would make (or the click from the rims). Another picture example:
Much like above, I'd also kinda like bass drum rim shots. Not many times are these used, but it is a nice feat.

I attached a couple images of what it could possibly look like.
Thanks for considering.

Attachment Size
Tenor Music.png 14.14 KB
Bass.png 2.49 KB


If you press the "Edit Drumset" button in the drum input window, you'll find you can customzie things pretty much however you like. If you are considered about playback, though, you'd still have to find a soundfont that includes the sounds you refer to.

In reply to by Ryan Bredeson

Maybe I'm mistaken, but in 2.0.3, I do the following:

1) add Tenor Drums (from the Marching Percussion section of the instrument list)
2) note input mode
3) select the second icon from the left - an "x" notehead on the bottom space
4) enter that note

Is this not a tenor drum rim shot? There are similar sounds for each of the other staff spaces. They are labelled "Drum4 Rim", "Drum3 Rim", "Drum2 Rim", Drum1 Rim", and "Spock Rim", adn they both look and playback as I would expect. Am I missing something?

In reply to by Ryan Bredeson

In that case you will need to provide samples with an MIT compatible licence for addition to the Marching Percussion section of the default soundfont.

As far as I'm aware the use of rimshots on tenors is unusual? Please let me know if I'm wrong - I'm not a drumline specialist.

BTW I'll see what I can do about a 2nd spock - I may be able to modify a copy of the existing sample.

In reply to by Ryan Bredeson

OK, thanks :)

The good news is that I've been able to pitch-shift the existing spock samples to provide a second, higher spock.

The not so good news is that whilst implementing this I found that there is considerable work needed on the whole Drumline Tenors instrument, to make it work properly.

Expect a downloadable update in a few weeks :)

In reply to by Ryan Bredeson

A semitone seems a little odd?

I have gone with the tunings for Field Corps given on this Yamaha site.....…

So the second spock is a minor third above the 1st which is consistent with the Youtube clip you posted. From which, incidentally, I have been able to extract a couple of tenor rimshot samples, so if pitch shifting is successful you may have tenor rimshots soon.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Incidentally, I like that sound better than just the half step. I'm used to tenors being 6 6 8 10 12 13, so I'm used to having to tune them closer. However, most sets are 6 8 10 12 13 14, so it'll sound better to have the minor third.
Tenor Shots sound awesome! Cannot wait for those if you can get them!

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

A rim shot, in case you weren't sure, is where you hit both the rim and the drum at the same time with the same stick. Rimshots on tenors are actually really common, especially on the spocks and lower drums. There's also a type of rimshot called a "skank," called such because of the sound it makes; it's where you hit a rim shot on one of the lowest two drums, closer to the rim than usual, and immediately muffle it so it produces a short and sharp sound. It would be nice to see sounds for skanks as well if possible c:

In reply to by sday88

The microphone on your phone isn't likely to be of good enough quality for sampling.

If you are able to I would invest in a USB microphone such as the Samson Go Mike.....…

or, even better a portable digital recorder such as one of the Zoom field recording products.....

Such a purchase would be an investment for the future.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

Yeah, I'm not that dedicated. :-) However, I know a couple people that may have this type of equipment. They did the recordings for a video we did for the Pittsburgh Steeline that I am a member of. And I think my buddy has one of the dual mic ones on that page (or one like it). What specifics would be required for the sound file? Type of file? Settings during the recording? Etc?

In reply to by sday88

I can convert most sample formats, so sample type is irrelevant - just use the one native to your OS, but make sure it's a raw data sample ie AIFF or WAV. Compressed samples are not quite so good, particularly MP3 which actually removes wave data as part of the compression and then reinterpolates it at player level. If you must use compression, make sure it is FLAC or another lossless compression algorithm.

I would record at 16 bit 48kHz (DVD quality). That is ultimately what the samples will be played at, so going higher isn't required, but if the recording device is preset to something higher like 24 bit 96kHz don't worry - I can convert it.

The most important thing is recording venue. The room should be as dead as possible so that you are not getting reverberation colouring the sound - a living room with loads of soft furnishings and cushions around would be ideal - or you could make a tent affair out of duvets etc and record inside that.

In reply to by sday88

It would probably be simpler to record as one file, but make sure you have a gap of silence between each sample - a couple of seconds will do.

You would then need to include a list of what the samples are in order. But you could use Audacity to add labels and then save as an Audacity project.

Hey all, I didn't see it discussed here, but is there any way to "fix" the bass drum sounds? To be honest, they sound horrible. The lower the drum, the less audible they actually become, and they just don't have a good marching bass drum tone. I am extremely grateful for Musescore and that it has marching percussion to begin with, but I would really like better bass drum sounds. And maybe add a sixth bass?

In reply to by sday88

Have you upgraded to MuseScore 2.0.3?

Apart from Marching Percussion now being included in the default soundfont, many problems with the Marching Bass Drum instruments were fixed, including some key scaling problems which were causing the drums to play at the incorrect pitch, and the release envelope was also fixed so the drums now speak fully whatever note value is selected.

If you have already upgraded to MuseScore 2.0.3 then loss of volume in the lower drums could well be a limitation imposed by your speakers, particularly if you are using a laptop.

Most PC speakers are just not capable for reproducing the full tonal range required for Orchestral and Band playback, being noticeably lacking in bass response.

I have recently purchased a pair of Behringer Studio 50 USB monitors, which has completely transformed the sound I have been getting from MuseScore, and other audio applications.

As to a 6th bass drum - that is not normal according to the information I have, and I would have to be convinced it would be needed by a significant number of users before trying to implement it.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

I just upgraded last night. The sound of the bass drums isn't a problem with my speakers. Maybe I focused my comment too much on "volume" of the playback. The drums just aren't articulate enough. It's like the sound lasts too long or something. Have you ever heard the bass drum sounds from Finale or Sibelius? They have a really nice articulate sound. Especially the Virtual Drumline add on sounds. I think the Musescore bass sounds are also maybe all pitched too low. I don't know, maybe my main problem is just that the sound isn't articulate enough. Sounds like they are inside of a tunnel or something. I guess it is what it is.

No, I guess a 6th bass drum isn't "normal", but would be nice to have. I guess I don't realize how big of an effort it is to program this kind of thing.

Again, I'm extremely grateful for Musescore and the fact that it has marching percussion at all, because it's free. The bass sounds have just always bugged me.

In reply to by sday88

I downloaded the MuseScore and mp3 files from the Drumline Creations page and I definitely hear a difference between what the mp3 sounds like and when I play the score from MuseScore. I tried messing with the mixer and that did nothing. Wondering if there are some other settings that I need to mess with to get the basses to sound better. And I still can't believe it's my computer (I'm using ear buds). The folks that made those mp3 files produced them with the sounds I hear, but the sounds are "bad" when I play them from MuseScore. It just sounds muddy.

So, I opened Bass Cowboy in my MuseScore and then exported the mp3. It does sound comparable, except for the bottom bass. You can barely hear it and everything is still kinda muddy.

In reply to by sday88

Ear buds are only suitable for listening to mainstream popular music, which is mixed to sound good on such devices.

Again, you are not getting the full frequency spectrum. You need to invest in either a really good pair of reference quality headphones, or reference quality monitor speakers

However, the bass drum samples are not the best I have ever heard, maybe something to do with the room they were recorded in or the equipment used to record them, but they're what we have.

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

But like I said, I'm sure that it isn't my earbuds or computer speakers. I downloaded the mp3 files from the Drumline Creations page and they all sound fine listening to them through my earbuds and computer speakers. However, as soon as I play the MuseScore score, they sound horrible, and also when I export to mp3. That is telling me that I may have a/some setting(s) that need adjusted. Exporting to mp3 has nothing to do with the sound I getting from my earbuds or speakers. If whoever created those mp3 files were able to make them sound "decent", why can't I?

In reply to by ChurchOrganist

OK, hopefully this will work. The first file is from the MuseScore Drumline Creations site ( that I also uploaded here:

And here is the mp3 file that I created from my version of MuseScore:

It's mainly that bottom bass sound that is just horrible. It's almost inaudible. It's got to be something with my settings.

In reply to by sday88

As I thought - that is an old version of the soundfont you have there,

You should remove that and revert to the default soundfont, which now has all the Marching percussion instruments included.

The simplest way would be to do a "Reset to factory defaults"......

But that would clear out any custom palettes, key shortcuts etc you have made.

SO the alternative would be to download and install the latest version either in SF3 or SF2 format from its repository in my Google Drive.......

You will always find the latest version there - the SF2 version is always up to date. The SF3 version is not updated quite so often.

The version you have was produced before a problem with key-scaling was identified in MuseScore's version of FluidSynth - the latest version works around this problem, also fixes problems with the release phase of the amplitude envelope, and allows the bass drums to speak properly.


Bless your souls and all the drum line/ quad folks who have pushed this notation, it really helps us poor struggling drum set types.

I have a question (s) if anyone has experience or can point me to the correct page in the help. I would like to edit Measure Properties, layout stretch for multiple measures at one time, is this possible?

Also is it possible to edit the font and or size in the header once a score is saved? I add lots of notation in the header and footer and need to minimize the real-estate used.

Thank you all,


In reply to by Scott Trevethan

To change stretch, simply select the measures and press "{" to decrease or "}" increase. You will see these shortcuts listed for the corresponding commands in the Layout menu.

Font sizes are controlled in Style / Text. Click the specific style you wish to customize in the list on left, then make whatever changes you like in the area to the right. There are styles ofr Header and Footer, also for Title, Subtitle, etc.

Along with a second spock, a 6th bass drum could occasionally prove useful. I think that one would be notated in the space below the bottom line (for an XXL bottom drum).

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