Drum Kit Notation Tutorial

Could someone Please do a tutorial on writing a drum kit part on a single staff BD, SD, HH, OHH, CC, RC. ? Thanks I can't figure out the best way to approach this. I really would appreciate it.

Comments

  • I know this post is a little old but I might be able to provide some input if this is still an issue for you. Is your question about where the different instruments go on the staff or generally about how to use Symphony Pro to write drum parts?
  • edited May 2016
    Better late than never.  :) If you have the time and knowledge I would appreciate the information on both. I know some others would be interested in this also. Again Thank you for your time and efforts.


  • This is a drum notation guide published in each issue of Drum! magazine and it's a good representation of where the different instruments typically go on a staff when writing for drum set. I've been reading and writing drum charts for decades and this is pretty much the standard layout.

    I only vary from these examples depending on the number of toms I'm writing for. For example, if there are only two toms (rack and floor) I'll use the placements for Tom 1 and Tom 4 because it's easier to read. Otherwise, this is pretty much the layout I have always used.

    I'll have to give the subject of how I write drum parts in Symphony Pro a little more thought to figure out the best way to explain it here. Let me know if you have any specific questions.
  • edited May 2016
    Thanks for this info, I have been setting my drums up on a staff according to this map. Why is it different?

  • I don't know where that map came from so I can't tell you why it's different. All I know is that the info I gave you is the accepted notation standard among drummers. I assume this keyboard layout was meant for ease of playing notes into a sequencer and not meant to be a direct translation to notation.
  • https://www.soundonsound.com/sos/feb09/articles/cubasetech_0209.htm

    http://computermusicresource.com/GM.Percussion.KeyMap.html

    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:GMStandardDrumMap.gif

    In all these you see Bass drum as C1 and snare as D1 but on your map it is Bass on F and snare on C. Maybe we are  talking two different staffs I am speaking Standard Treble Clef staff. and I'm guessing you are referring to a percussion/Drum staff is that correct? If so perhaps that is why there is a difference. So I hope you see my confusion.
  • In most cases—there are rare exceptions—you shouldn't think of the drum instrument placement on a staff the same way you would a traditional pitched instrument. Drum set notation has no key signature and uses neither treble nor bass clef, which is why you usually see the neutral clef being used. Yes, the individual components (bass drum, snare, ride cymbal, etc.) may have specific pitches but that is irrelevant to how they are written on a staff. The placement I showed you is just what the industry has accepted as the "standard" for notating drums on a staff. When it comes to writing drum notation with a software program, any correlation between the placement on a staff and it's corresponding note on a keyboard usually only matters for the sake of input.

    For example, take a look at the Reassign Drum Kit section in Symphony Pro:



    Kick 1 is at F and Snare 1 is at C because that corresponds to the correct placement on the staff for those instruments (it assumes treble clef pitches). When using the MIDI keyboard in Symphony Pro, I can press F to input a kick drum and C to input a snare drum. Not because those are the actual pitches but because those correspond to the note placement on the staff.
  • edited May 2016
    I am trying to get my head around this but I must admit it confuses me.
    "When it comes to writing drum notation with a software program, any correlation between the placement on a staff and it's corresponding note on a keyboard usually only matters for the sake of input."
    "When using the MIDI keyboard in Symphony Pro, I can press F to input a kick drum and C to input a snare drum. Not because those are the actual pitches but because those correspond to the note placement on the staff."
    This is confusing to me.
    In my other software (Logic, Multitrack Studio and Others) if I hit a C1 I get a Bass Drum if I hit a D1 I get a snare, but you say in Symphony you hit an F for BD and C for SD. So this is confusing me.
    I don't use a midi controller with Symphony Pro to check it.
    Sorry to be so dense, I'm just not getting it.
  • Basically, your other software (such as Logic) and Symphony Pro have different notes that correspond to the same instrument. In Symphony Pro the different instruments are laid out on the keyboard according to where they would appear on a treble clef staff such that the note placement corresponds with standard drum notation. A program like Logic isn't concerned with drum notation, only with entering the notes to be sequenced.

    You're trying to compare apples and oranges: input for sequencing versus input for notation. In these scenarios, they are completely separate from each other.
  • Thanks but I am just as confused as when we started.
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