Drum Notation

Here is a little example I made in Logic that covers about 90% of my needs for drum set notation. I try to get this in Dorico too.

I started editing a simple drum set. What works well is the editing of note positions (since I like to have the kick on low F in bass clef etc).
Editing basic note heads isn’t a problem either.

What I like to achieve is playing the notes from midi keyboard. For each instrument a single midi note in more or less GM standard, like:

C1 - Kick
C#1- Rim (Snare with cross-note head)
D1 - Snare1 stem down
E1 - Snare2 stem up
F#1 - Hihat closed (cross-note head)
A#-1 - Hihat open (cycle with cross note head)
C3 - Slash on D-line (bass clef) without stem
D3 - Slash above upper B-line (bass clef) with stem up
For the slash notation I don’t need an audio feedback. For the drum instruments (kick, snare…) I’d like to hear the corresponding samples. And I want to use Noteperformer.

My problems now:

  • I don’t know how to map the drum instruments in Doricos drum set to corresponding midi notes (F#1 to Hihat closed, A#1 to a second Hihat open). When I add an instrument to the drum set: what note does it trigger? How do I add an “open” hihat (not just “a” hihat)?

  • If I use slashes inside the drum set: which midi note triggers the slashes?

  • I don’t know where the notes are mapped in Noteperformer. Loading a default drum kit gives me the same tom-tom sound over 5 octaves and very random note spreading (Kick on D#0) in the remaining lower two octaves of the keyboard. All these tomtom-midi-notes write cymbals in Dorico. Is there a way to edit these or are they fix in Noteperformer? It’s not really a problem to get used to a different drum key layout. But I’d like to have ‘silent’ keys for the slash notation too.

    Thanks and greetings,


The MIDI note that will be triggered for a notehead in a percussion kit is determined by the percussion map specified for the endpoint used by that instrument. An “endpoint” is the combination of VST instrument or MIDI output device, port (in the case of a VST3 plug-in), channel, and the specific program loaded into that channel. Additionally, it determines which VST expression map should be used (e.g. to specify what MIDI controller should be used for volume, and what keyswitches should be used for different playing techniques or articulations), and optionally what percussion map should be used. The percussion map defines the mapping between a particular MIDI note and the specific playing technique of a percussion instrument for a given patch in your VST instrument or MIDI device.

When using the supplied HSSE/HSO sounds, or NotePerformer, Dorico manages the allocation of endpoints, including determining the right expression map and (if necessary) percussion map, for you automatically. So you only need to worry about this if you are using another playback device.

A percussion kit, meanwhile, defines a collection of unpitched percussion instruments. Each instrument defines the playing techniques it supports, which is done by specifying the notehead and, optionally, the combination of articulation and tremolo strokes, that should produce a particular playing technique.

So to connect everything together: you define the notehead you want to use in the percussion instrument and specify what playing technique that notehead should produce. This has to correspond with an entry in a percussion map, i.e. both the instrument (e.g. “Snare Drum” or “Suspended Cymbal”) and the technique (e.g. “Hit” or “Roll”) has to match. The correct percussion map must be assigned to the endpoint that will be used for this instrument, which you do via the Endpoint Setup dialog.

Ok, that makes sense. It’s more or less like in any DAW, (midi - percussion map - sampler) but Dorico has an extra ‘playing technique’ level in between. So for deeper editing I have to dive into percussion maps and it will be probably more useful to use an own VST if I have special wishes like GM setup and silent notes.

Just another question: in the “edit percussion kit” window there’s an “export kit” button down left. There I can save my edited drum kit. But how do I load it back into another kit in another song?

Thanks for taking the time to lighten me up!

Best, Saxer

By the way: I would welcome a YT tutorial about building a drum set from scratch.

You can import an exported drum kit to a player by right-clicking its card in the Players panel in Setup mode.

Ok, thank you! That’s a great help!