Drums Notation/entry features

• Jun 24, 2014 - 11:28
S5 - Suggestion

Hi everyone,

I spent some time with a friend of mine teaching drums and percussions, and he gave me his notices and comments about musescore 1.3. I transcribe those here. Some of them have been already discussed on the IRC chan, but I post them to remind what was the purpose at start for futher reflexions.

1- drums fingering (dot/circle and/or square/empty square) should be by default in the fingering menu and it should be easy to assign a shortcut to them. Another issue about drums fingering is, actually, we have to use lyrics line to put it alligned with the notes. But lyrics can only be placed below the staff and not above. Another issue is that, often he has to write stuff like numbers or fingering attached to rest/silence, and he can't because we only can attached to entered note ! this is really indispensable when you try to teach child to continue counting the time even if there are no patterns to play on the score.

2-Keyboard shortcut are really limited (only A B C D E F G) to assign to drums elements. Perhaps, when user switches to notation (N shortcut) on a drums/percusions staff, shortcut can be seperate from general shortcut. Like this, it would permit to have futher shortcut to drums without interacting with musescore shortcut. Example, X will be easier to remember and use for hi-hat, if we have more than 7 elements (which is often the case if you think about close/open hi-hat, about cymbals, and toms...) it will really be faster to create score if a shortcut can be assigned to each element.

3-Ok, here is, in his opinion, the most problematic behaviour actually in musescore. Actually, when you enter a note in drums staff, you have a default voice attributed to every element. This is really annoying in the majority of case because you have to either put every elements on the same voice with the drumset editor or enter every notes then select the notes you want to change the voice and then go to the edit menu > voices and switch. So he proposes another approach which should retain your focus (IMO) here it is :

1- entering in edition mode (N)
2- default voice is one, he enter a snare/kick pattern
3- still in edition mode, he click on voice 2
4- he enter the hi-hat/cymbals pattern
5- he wants to write a fill with snare and hi-hat
6- he switch back to voice 1 by clicking on voice (or with a shortcut)
7- write hi-hat snare fill in this voice independently from which voice is assigned by default to hi-hat in the drumset

MarcSabatella made a suggestion about adding a way to define "no voice" in the drop down for specifying a voice in the drum set definition, and if you set up your drum set to use that, then it would use the current behavior - add notes to whatever current voice is.

Lasconic points that we will need to define a default stem direction then to draw the note in the palette and that will also make the ability to apply a new drumset to a score kind of weird.

I attached a file showing this problem at the end of the fourth measure.

4- Ok, fourth point, regular note spacing. I join a file called drums-alignement.jpg which shows the issue. To have regular spaces between my notes, I have to use a hidden voice (voice4) with the same value (16th note).

So, thanks for reading this (long!) post I hope it will help to improve musescore :)

Attachment Size
note-entering-actual-behaviour.mscz 2.33 KB
drums-alignment.png 18.43 KB


Based on lasconic's observations about my idea for a "no voice" setting in the drum set, I think I will withdraw that suggestion. Also, since there can only be one definition for each drum sound, this would force you to decide "permanently" (for a given drum set, anyhow) between giving the drum a default voice versus giving it no voice. I do understand why your friend prefers having direct control over the voice for each drum, but I do think the majority of users will prefer it to stay as in 1.3, where the oices are assigned automatically. I think it would be rare to want any given drum to be notated in any voice other than its "usual" (for the drum set) voice.

So instead of having a "no voice" setting for the drum in the drum set, I instead propose we have a command to ignore the voice set in the drum set when adding a note. Something like Shift+Ctrl+, maybe, to add the note using the current voice. So those few users who like having snare drum in one voice sometimes but another voice at other times can get that behavior, but the majority of users can continue to enjoy the automatic assignment of voices.

That can be an idea, in fact, this behaviour is mainly require for drums fill, but I wonder if using only one key couldn't be easier for futher notes entries. it seems to me you told about alt+ yesterday.

I also wonder how sibelius and finale do the job, someone knows ?

Do you imagine shortcuts are the ones defined in the edit drumset and a command key before ? Or do you think about completely different shortcuts ?

For example :
C = kick
D = snare
G = Hi-hat

meta+C = prevent the voice settings to be apply to kick
meta+D = prevent the voice settings to be apply to snare
meta+G = prevent the voice settings to be apply to Hi-hat

meta could be the windows key no ?

I hadn't thought that far ahead :-).

Not sure "windows" key is sufficiently universal/standard to be useful as a default. The specific keys to be are not really the issue; users can customize shortcuts anyhow.

Yes, I guess windows keys is not really universal.

I think about another approach that could be a way of locking the current voice. For example, right-click on the voice could let user click on a kind of padlock. Or shortcut could also do the job. And this option could be use in other staves rather than only in drums/percussions staves, depending on the drumset edition.

It should also be easier to implement no?

What do you think about ?