Add custom percussion instrument - best practices?

If I want to make a percussion map for a percussion instrument that Dorico doesn’t have, what’s the best way to go about doing it? Dorico only has two Congas, high and low, and I’m trying to make a map for the new VSL Latin Percussion library which has 3, the Quinto, Conga, and Tumba. A low Super Tumba and high Requinto aren’t included but are fairly common instruments too. As an example here’s a link to the great Giovanni Hidalgo playing Quinto, Conga, Tumba, and Super Tumba.

Since the percussion instrument needs to be available in both in Setup and available to be selected in the Percussion Map setup (Gamelan and Orff instruments aren’t available in the latter) are there any sort of xml hacks that can add an instrument to both locations? Is it better to just repurpose another percussion instrument I’m likely to not use? I could probably do it all with a bunch of Playing Techniques too, right? VSL includes 3 Claves, but Dorico only has 1 so I just did it with Playing Techniques:

There are a lot more options with the Quinto though, so that could be a more of a pain to set up. I’m pretty slow at setting up Percussion Maps so I definitely want something future-proof that won’t potentially be broken when 4.0 comes out. What approach do others take with making Percussion Maps for instruments Dorico doesn’t have?

BTW, the new VSL library sounds pretty good! Here’s audio straight out of Dorico of the 3 Claves, Conga and Tumba that I already have set up.

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In the attached zip file are two fragments of the XML files for the instrument definitions and the instrument name definitions. Graft these two chunks into the relevant files (instruments.xml and instrumentnames_en.xml) and that should give you the five different conga drums you need.


Wow, thanks Daniel!!! I’ll try this out as soon as I’m home late tonight.

This worked great, thanks! For anyone else attempting to do this, in addition to adding the definitions to instruments.xml and instrumentnames_en.xml, I had to add the names to instrumentFamiliesDefinitions.xml too in order for them to be available under Unpitched Percussion.

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I have now added them too, thank you both for the files and the pointers!

An observation - when I added Congas as a kit I still ended with just 2 default instrument and had to manually add the additional instruments via the Percussion Kit dialog. However, when I then tried to order the instruments by size, the numbering got messed up in the score.

It turns out that if I add the Congas as individual drums - only the drums I need, and in the order I want (smallest to largest) - and then combined them into a kit, then everything works out perfectly.



Is there a way to make Dorico show the drum names in the score exactly as they are shown in Percussion Kit? (EDIT: I mean, without manually renaming each one)

Thanks again.

Have you tried the 5-line-staff configuration ? It seems you’re in grid here.

If you do want to use the grid presentation type, you will indeed need to rename each instrument.