Ability to hide percussion rests

Hello all,

I would just like to echo the sentiment of many other forum threads out there that notes and rests in percussion staves should have just as much granular control as regular instrumental staves. I was working today on a project and wanted to move the vertical position of a rest, something that is possible in the Properties Panel on a regular instrumental staff, but unable to happen on a drum set staff.

As a professional drummer who understands the needs of drum set parts, the notion that rests cannot be hidden or voices cannot be forced to start or end in the middle of the measure to hide rests before or after (like in instrumental staves) in a percussion staff doesn’t make any sense to me. I understand that percussion staves can be displayed in a grid format or as individual staves, but if it’s a traditional one staff for percussion kit, there should be the ability to control all the parameters of notes and rests the same way as instrumental staves.

I’ve attached two screenshots: one of selecting a rest and being unable to see the option to move the rest vertically in the Properties Panel, and another of a very common example of using slashes and traditional notation in a single measure, but unable to hide unnecessary rests/start and end voices.

If there is in fact a solution or workaround in Dorico 3 that I’m missing, I would be happy to hear it. Otherwise, I’d like to join in the choir of saying that this is a necessary feature that should be implemented as soon as possible.

The solution is to use only one voice. You have to understand that Upstem Voice 1 and Upstem Slashed Voice 1 are two separate voices, and will each create their own rests. In bars where you need stemmed slashes AND regular notes, ensure that your stemmed slashes are regular notes, in Upstem Voice 1, but with slash noteheads.

Proof it works:

Demo Dorico project attached, so that you can open it up and see how I’ve set up the Drum Kit in Setup mode.
drums without rests.dorico.zip (440 KB)

Thanks, this helps a lot. How were you able to create a note that is “stem up” in the percussion kit, but defaulted to stem down?

I feel an easy solution, beyond the conceptual nature of how Dorico views notation, is to add a Sibelius-like “hide” for any musical element. If we don’t wish to see a rest, or a time signature, or an articulation, we should be able to hide it with a simple command. There’s so much that Dorico can do already, and I feel this would be a welcome addition to the feature set. It may go against the ethos of Dorico, but it’s such a simple way to get out of a bind.

No, you don’t have to create another voice, then change noteheads. You set up your percussion kit so that the instrument on the B line always uses slash noteheads, then (where necessary) you hit F to flip the beams down.

As to hiding rests, sure, but it’s not how Dorico works. When you remove a rest on a regular stave, you’re actually starting and stopping a voice - you’re not just arbitrarily hiding something. You can’t do that on a percussion staff because percussion staves essentially condense the underlying one-line staves of the individual instruments that make up the kit. The rests are superficial padding - they appear because the rules determine that they need to be there. They don’t actually exist, so they can’t be removed by starting or stopping a voice. As to it being an easy solution, that’s easy to say, but if it were easy to implement then it would surely have been implemented by now.

edit, in response to your edit: if there’s only one voice on a stave, Dorico puts notes in their natural direction. This isn’t specific to percussion staves…

I understand, but if what you said is correct, that the rests are superficial and “don’t actually exist,” what difference does it make to have the user say, “I don’t need to see this and neither does my player” and have the ability to hide it say in the same way we can hide chord symbols in non-rhythm section parts?

I’m not saying this to be defensive, more along the lines of real feedback for the Dorico team as a feature that would be highly appreciated by many engravers that do drum parts for a living. As I’ve converted many of my jazz friends to Dorico, this is the one issue that consistently comes up time and time again in order to make drum set parts look a certain way.

I appreciate the help, I’ll keep this in mind when the issue comes up again in the future.

The difference is that percussion staves don’t exist. My understanding is that there’s basically nowhere for “hide this” properties to exist, because five-line percussion staves are created on the fly depending on what’s stored in the underlying single-line staves. Given the rests on a five-line percussion staff aren’t necessarily combined in the same way on the underlying single-line staves, the “hide this” property can’t exist on the single-line staves.

It’s thus incomparable to anything that’s attached to a regular stave.

Disclaimer: I’m just a Dorico user. I may have the wrong end of the stick here.

Ooh, now you’re onto something.

I always knew that there were multiple ways to view a percussion staff (grid/single line/five line), but that’s interesting that the five-line staff and grid formats are created from the single-line notation properties, hence why it’s not treated the same way as other instrumental staves.

I know Daniel said they were working on this issue for a future update, so maybe they’re trying to figure out how the properties of notation can be adapted depending on what kind of view you’d like (i.e. single staves, grid, or five-line). Certainly interesting.

A related complication is that dynamics created on single-line or grid percussion representations won’t show up on five-line representations (and vice-versa). The good news is that it’s possible to add dynamics to five-line percussion staves, which indicates that there’s somewhere for these items to exist, internally.

Take from that what you will.

I write jazz parts all the time. IMO, Dorico’s percussion notation is quite lacking for this and is not the way to go for a visual (not playback) staff. Often in a jazz drum part, I will need measures that are actually notated, along with measures that are just slashes, along with bars that are just rhythm hits. Dorico’s percussion notation is not set up to do this, nor would I really expect it to. My solution and recommendation is to just create two staves, one visual and one for playback (if needed), and then not include the playback staff in the score. For a visual staff you can use “Timpani (No key sig)” so it automatically sets up without a key sig if it is being used in the other staves. That way you have the full editing capabilities to use for the drum notation staff. Use the playback percussion staff to playback whatever you want without any care to how it is notated.

I find myself doing this all of the time. I use a ‘normal’ instrument staff like timpani as mentioned above. Then I can use independent voices and have all of the flexibility of a normal instrument, such as moving any particular note between voices. I just change the noteheadss to represent the various parts of the drumset. Obviously the playback is sacrificed using this method but the percussion set at the moment has been programmed to be simple for non-drummers to write basic parts and suggestions. By some of the comments on here, it sounds like it may be like this being built from the ground up with the focus on putting together individual parts of the instrument and not so much as the instrument as a whole.

I’ve use a different notation program for a number of years with no issues writing drum parts as all options for normal instruments can be applied. I could also hear the playback of things as well. I’ve been with Dorico since V1, so am supportive of their processes. There seems to be a few guys on here with similar issues, all writing more progressive drum parts. I’ll put my hand up to do some testing and also offer scenarios to help with the development of the drum notation and I’m sure there are others on here that would also welcome the opportunity.

A part of Dorico’s processes in designing the drumset notation could be as pianoleo mentions:

“percussion staves essentially condense the underlying one-line staves of the individual instruments that make up the kit.”

I feel a better approach would be to think of the instrument (drumset) as a whole so it can have the flexibilities of other instruments. Different voices will cross and different limbs will play in different voices. This is how the instrument is played, so would be good to come into thinking this way for the notation. I know they’ve committed to this approach and I do hope that its not too late that it may be stuck like this.

In commercial arrangements, my biggest problem is not being able to preset ‘all instruments in one voice’ for tuplet fills and then snap back into normal voicing.


I have the same question. I want to achieve the same notation with slashes and slashes w/ stems in the same drum set staff as I did in my other notation software. I can’t seem to figure out a work around for it in Dorico where there are no rests. I tried doing it this way:

  • beat 1 is slash region
  • beat 2 is slash notation in voice 1 up stem
  • upbeat of beat 2 is slash with stem in voice 1 up stem (l.v. turned on)
  • beat 3 and 4 slash region

problem with my procedure are the rests appearing in beat 2.

Attaching my screenshot below.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Drum Notation in other software.jpg

If you select the slash with stem and do Edit > Percussion > Change Voice > Extra Down-stem Voice, does that take care of it?

Hi Daniel. Thank you for replying and sorry for the super late reply. the solution you presented did not work. The workaround I did was

  • beat 1,3, and 4 slash region
  • 2nd beat and upbeat are slashes with stem
  • 2nd beat hide stem
  • upbeat flip and add l.v. tie.

Again thank you for your reply.