Import Drum MIDI keeping it to one voice

• Apr 25, 2021 - 09:20

Is there any way I can import midi Drum files and have it import to one voice? I know I can edit the Drum set and set everything to one voice but when I import drum files, it goes to two voices. If not, how can I move everything from voice 2 to voice 1 and not have all the rests that shouldn't be there?


In my limited experiments with this, MuseScore will import midi drum notation in Its "hands and feet" style. Which means drums played with hands will be stem up (voice 1 mostly) and those with feet (like kick drum) will be stem down (voice 2). So far, the only way I've been able to import as one voice is if the file is an xml.

You can change voice 2 to voice 1 but it is a bit fiddly. If you have written 8th note HH over quarter note kick and snare, the kick and snare have to be 8th notes. One way to do that is to right click on the first kick note/select/select all similar elements in the same staff. Select 8th note from the tool bar. Right click the first kick note/select/more/same voice/OK. Select voice 1 in the tool bar. Select the first 8th rest/select/all similar elements/delete.
Then I have to load my custom drum palette into my drum staff. Then in the mixer, re-select standard drum set to get it to sound.

Personally, I dislike the whole drum palette format. So much so that I avoid drums altogether at times. There are those who will post here that will ask why you want to go to all that trouble. Just learn how to use the palette and be done with it. I have many years of being able to add notes on a drum staff just like how I would enter notes for any other instrument. Plus I input with the mouse. Two strikes. The drum palette makes more sense for someone who enters everything from the keyboard.

In reply to by bobjp

Actually, those who use the keyboard don't use the palette, that's kind of the point :-)

Anyhow, I get that you personally haven't taken the time to learn to use the drum palette effectively. But do understand, it was developed by drummers specifically to work well and extremely efficiently with how most drummers and people arranging for drums actually work with notation. Of course, different people have different preferences, so even if it's a system that works for most, it understandably won't be ideal for all. But no need to interject your own unique personal biases into discussions that really weren't even about the topic to begin with. It just colors people's impressions unnecessarily.

MuseScore uses the standard method of representing drums in two voices by default. I don't think there is a way to override this on import.

But in general, it's easy enough to merge the voices if you prefer the less common technique of representing everything in one voice (and are sure the people reading your score will be OK with that - it's pretty confusing to most people). Just select the contents of the staff and press the Voice 1 button on the toolbar. Then you can run Tools / Implode to cleanup the rests left behind. Actually, really Implode should do the job all by itself, but I guess it doesn't for drums.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

Thank you for your reply and instructions for how to merge the voices. Unfortunately, that will not work in some cases as you can see from the images of the very first beat in my library.

01 Guitar Pro.png was the beat in Guitar Pro that was exported
02 Musescore Import.png was how it imported into Musescore
03 Musescore Merge Voices.png was merging to one voice
04 Musescore Implode.png was after using the implode tool.

As you can see, not all notes can merge to Voice one and I am still left with rests.

I did come up with a workaround though. I dragged the MIDI into Ableton, then exported as a MIDI clip from there. That got rid of it being a drum track and only exported the MIDI notes. Then I imported that into Musescore. It defaults to piano but I can uncheck split staffs and set max voices to 1. Then go to staff properties and change instrument to drum kit.
There were a few issues with that, 1) the time signatures don't export that way, so I had to go through the 1204 measures and change them manually. Lucky there were only a few. 2) The Lo tom and floor tom came in on the incorrect line and space even though I applied the Drum Kit Palette that I saved. and 3) there were many accidentals. But selecting one of the toms then right-click > Select > More... > same pitch and using the arrow keys was able to get the toms to the correct pitch and doing the same with any pitch that had an accidental, toggling one note up then one note down got rid of the accidentals.

Three things on my wish list that I would love to see implemented if possible in a future version. 1) being able to change the max number of voices for MIDI drum import, like you can with other instruments, 2) Being able to change the MuseScore Instrument on MIDI imports and 3) being able to set a one voice default setting for Drum Kits in Preferences.

In reply to by Pat2e215

If you attach your actual score instead of pictures, we can understand and assist better. There are indeed a few special cases not handled by the voice commands that you'd have to fix manually, still, it should get you most of the way there.

The trick of making this not be a drum staff was one I considered proposing also, but I wasn't sure how to test it. You could also probably accomplish the same within MuseScore by copy & taste or unchecking the drumset option in the mixer. Here again, though, without a specific score to check with, it was hard to say if it would actually work in your particular case.

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