Drum parts for jazz, revisited

I’ve read the many good suggestions from others on the forum about creating the typical jazz drum notation types (such as those described in this post: Jazz/pop/rock drum part considerations). I have not yet however read a suitable solution to the type that requires cue notes above a slash region. I’ve come up with a method that I think might work well, but I assume others must have tried this and, perhaps, there are reasons to avoid it that I have not discovered.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Edit the percussion kit to include both stemmed and unstemmed slashes
  2. Choose an instrument (I used the splash) that I know I will not need in my drum set notation, and set that to appear with: normal notation; at the top of the staff (where G would appear on a G clef); and in voice 2
  3. For any measures where I want rhythmic cues above the staff, I first input stemless slashes. My understanding is that Dorico creates a separate voice for the slashes as they are input.
  4. Input the rhythmic cues by using the splash (it responds to G above middle-C on my MIDI keyboard).
  5. Once all the cues are input, I select the passages with cues, filter upstem voices, and resize the notes in the properties panel—which also resizes only the rests that accompany the voice above the staff.

This seems to work well notationally, but of course not for playback (which I don’t need so I don’t care about it—though I know that could be a dealbreaker for others)

What am I missing here? Will I run into some issues down the line that I can’t see yet? Thanks!


I found a solution that works well for me, using a dedicated “Cue Player” , that can be very flexibly, well, cued into the staff as needed. The procedure is outlined here:

Agreed, that does work well in many cases, like lead sheets. But the problem with that method is that the cues do not appear in the score, which is important for big band and studio orchestra situations.

Layout Options > Players > Cues > “On”, making sure that the layout where you want the cues is selected.


Will that not show cues on the score for all instruments?

I think it might.
All depends on how many cues there are, I guess.


It’s possible to hide a cue locally in the score.

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If you don’t care about playback, why even use a percussion staff? Just use a “regular” staff that has the full range of Dorico’s editing capabilities. I virtually never use a percussion staff for a drum part that a drummer will have to read, as I want to notate things the way a drummer will want to see it. If I need drum playback, then I’ll just use a separate staff that won’t be included in the printed score.

Here’s an image of that RP tune I posted in the thread you linked to. This was simple and probably just took me seconds to input, including a pitched cue, but of course that was using a non-percussion staff.

I generally do use a “regular” staff, but in this case I have several points at which I need to use the key to indicate specific drum grooves. So I kind of need elements of both types of staves.

And I know it’s possible to hide cues, but my understanding is that this has to be done one at at time. I have 18 movements, several thousand measures, a full orchestra, and tons of cues. Hiding individually is not a viable option.

Getting back to my original post, though, can anyone comment on the approach I described? I would be surprised if no one has tried it yet so I’m wondering why it might not be a reasonable approach.

Thanks, all.

for hiding locally:

you can select a cue on another staff, shift + up/down arrow (select everything except drumset), select more (twice), filter cues and hide them. so it’s once per flow (maybe twice if you have staffs below the drumset)


shift select first bar of all instruments above/below drumset > select to end of flow > filter cues > hide

That’s sort of my point. Unless I’m mistaken, cue visibility in a layout is all or nothing with only an override to Hide. Manually hiding all the cues in a project that size is a pain, so I would just leave cue visibility off and manually enter the cued notation into a non-percussion drum staff.

This is simple in a “regular” staff too with Notehead Sets.

The obvious solution (for this case at least…) appears to be a higher cue visibility granularity, as in pitched only/rhythmic only/both!
Next step would be per Player, of course… :slight_smile:


I didn’t know this was possible without a lot of notehead editing. I thought notehead sets allowed for using specific noteheads for specific durations, but it appears that you’re using specific noteheads for specific lines and spaces, correct? And the stem directions . . . are all of these automatic in a custom notehead set?

You can select any noteheads you want and apply a notehead set specifically to them. I even added a keyboard shortcut for the X notehead set with a little json hack so I could switch to any X noteheads quickly on the fly.

I see. So you’re entering the notes first and then changing the noteheads afterward. Thanks.

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I have written a more formal feature request on this topic today; see Feature request: improved drums cue note support - #3 by dan.h.tillberg