Need Drumset Notation Help

• Nov 28, 2023 - 06:55

Could someone please point me in the direction of some tips and tricks for efficient drumset note entry in MS4? I've tried using RTFM and having little success. I remember reading somewhere about an order of drumkit entry which worked with (versus against, which I seem to be doing) the natural flow of the program. I'm trying to enter a simple Kick on 1 and 3, Sidestick on 2 and 4, 8th note HiHats. How much simpler could that be? It's been a total nightmare. Thank you!


First of all: I'm not a drummer, so I already have a problem distinguishing between sidestick and HiHat :-).
But I think if you need the kick bass on 1 and 3, you can also use quarter or half notes on beat 1 and 3, since a shorter duration is only necessary for a different rhythm, right? That way you have fewer rests to write and it sounds the same ... (As I said, I'm not a drummer!)
It's best to include a picture of what the result should look like. A small handwritten sketch is also sufficient.

You need to know that the instruments that are played with the sticks belong to voice 1 and those that are played with the feet belong to voice 2.
So enter the notes for voice 1 first. Go to note entry mode "n", select the duration and press "a" for the snare or "g" for the closed HiHat, as shown at the bottom left of the screen (Drum input palette). If no letter is assigned, use the mouse and double-click on one of the fields at the drum input palette. If you have a second instrument on the same beat in voice 1, use the shift key. Before entering the notes always choose the right note duration.

When you have finished with voice 1, go to the beginning and enter the kick bass or pedal HiHat notes. They are parallel in voice 2 and can have a completely different duration than the notes in voice 1.

And of course, read the manual chapter on drum input:…

In reply to by HildeK

Great excellent thanks! I'm currently creating a pattern exactly like the one in the manual more or less. Kick, snare (or sidestick - is the drummer clicking the stick on the rim of the snare - used all the time in pop ballads) and hi hat. I think the thing is I just hear from the kick drum up. But in the default MS layout, kick is voice 2 and you're saying start with voice 1 and I think that's what that tip I read a while ago said. Hi hat and snare are voice 1, Kick is voice 2. Will try it that way. Also weird how the drumset note input deals with rests. Seems different than "regular" melodic note entry. They sort of disappear, but let's see what happens with the correct voice entry order. I think I read this somewhere for multi-voice melodic entry as well. Start with voice 1 always.

In reply to by jamiegrantmusic

There is no problem to start with the kick drum and voice 2. It is more important to know, that kick and pedal hi-hat are in voice 2 and the others in voice 1. And that they are predefined on these voices.
But if you need a third or fourth voice (for rhytmic reasons) you should enter them in e.g. voice 1 and then exchange e.g. voice 1 and voice 3 or 4.

In reply to by jamiegrantmusic

Of course MuseScore needs rests for a correct measure. Rests of voices 2 ... 4 could be deleted or, better, hidden. Rests in voice 1 cannot be deleted, they can only be hidden.
In this way, you can remove unnecessary rests from the sheet if the rhythm is otherwise clearly recognisable.

In reply to by HildeK

Oh sorry one other comment, while correct, using 8ths for the kicks will make it harder for the player to read. Players are used to seeing quarters for kick. This is just me coming from years of chart writing. I'm all about making the charts easier for the players. That often involves doing things not exactly "by the book."

Welcome to world of the drum palette. I come from software that let me just enter drum notes on the staff with a mouse, just like any other instrument. No hands and feet. Once you get more used to the palette, consider changing it up. You can edit it to get rid of all those instruments you don't need and cut down on the number of keyboard shortcut you have to use. But spend some time in the manual first.

"Rests of voices 2 ... 4 could be deleted or, better, hidden. Rests in voice 1 cannot be deleted, they can only be hidden. In this way, you can remove unnecessary rests from the sheet if the rhythm is otherwise clearly recognisable." Great tip. Yes I've noticed this when working with more than one voice on a melodic part. BobJP will do that. Just need to practice using it more. Thx to both of you!

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