Drum notation question for rolls

is there a way to make it clear, that the roll is only meant to be played on the snare drum? I mean of course technically it is not possible to play it on the cymbal and on the snare, not to say on the bass drum. But how do i make it clear for the drummer to play it on the snare and not on the cymbal? Just write a short explanation? Or is there a better way to notate it?

Bildschirmfoto 2024-06-17 um 10.33.14


Hi. Usually, rolls are written with abbreviated notation (the three 32nd-note slashes), but in this case, to avoid misunderstandings, I would spell it out completely. It takes a bit more space, but it is clearer. If the bass drum with the crash at the beginning is a sixteenth note, it works well to play the roll seamlessly with the left hand starting the roll for the rest of the half note. You can notate the roll with the 32nd notes as LLRRLL…

Thanx Stefano…I don’t know…this takes really a lot of space…hmmmmm :thinking:

I would do something like this.


That is very good. :grinning:

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Just another idea. Drummers also splash the hi-hat with their left foot. If it doesn’t necessarily have to be a crash, you could also write a hi-hat splash. It at least has a crash-like sound. That would be more space-saving. Jazz drummers often do this.

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@Jazzisfaction This is always difficult with drum notation. As a drummer I often struggle with parts that are written too specifically because they are kind of unreadable. You must then know very well what you want. You could also consider something like this, in which case you leave it more to the drummer.

My question to you as a drummer would be: do you want that first bar exactly like that? Or is it more of a basic beat in a given style? That also determines how you approach the rest of the part. Perhaps the first bar can be put in more slash notation with a style indication.

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This was I was thinking also. The first bar suggests a bit of a march-like sound and then a splash hi-hat is a perfect match

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Hey Maarten,
yeah, I always give only ‘ideas’ for the drummer and normally I put slash notation after a couple of bars and let them decide themselves. But in this case, I need some kicks etc. so I decided to leave it without slash notation. But I always tell the drummer:“Be creative, do with it whatever u want, just respect the kicks” :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Just for kicks.



Kicks are fun to play. :grinning:

Hi @Jazzisfaction I don’t know it this look as you would like, but there is a function to assign locally an extra up- or down-stem voice for percussion notes. This could be used for your need to visually notate/separate the repetition/roll only for the snare drum:

eventually with a little note spacing adjustment: