Help with drum kit notation

Is it just me, or is Dorico’s approach to Drum Kits and inputting drum parts the clunkiest part about the software?

I’m trying to input drum parts for a project for rearranging and it’s a huge struggle to get them behaving the way I need. I find the restrictive nature of the use of voices/up-stem/down-stem system really hard to achieve an outcome that can satisfy each situation and be flexible.

For instance, at times I’ll want the Hi-Hat to be a stem-up voice and kick/snare down-stem (e.g. when they have a triplet passage under crotchet HH’s) and other times it makes more sense to have the snare voiced with the HH and kick/toms stem-down but there doesn’t seem an easy way to alternate between this because it’s set in stone in the ‘kit’. I’m managing to get around it (just about) by using two different kits in under the same player and hiding the instrument change labels - it’s so clunky. (PS: I have the settings to truncate to shortest note)

I’m also having trouble with slashes - despite whatever voice I set them to, or stem-up/down they are creating rests in the bar even when the preceding note is supposedly in the same voice (i.e. first half of bar slashes - second half of bar HH/kick/snare…I get rests appearing to fill the slash voice above the bar)

Another frustrating thing is not being able to octave-shift notes. If I input ‘A’ because I want a Crash Cymbal and it inputs a floor tom note - I either have to Alt-up all the way (yawn!) or delete it and use the silly grid system which takes just as long.

Maybe it’s just me - and I would be grateful for any advice on it - but I’m finding it dreadfully time consuming at the moment.

I do a lot of percussion notation, and while Dorico does somewhat ‘lock’ things, I find it to be more helpful than clunky.

When you want to move the snare drum between up/down stem voice, I believe if you right click on the note, you can change to an up/down stem voice. I haven’t played around too much with this, so please forgive me if I have left out a few steps. But I believe that will help speed up part of your process.

As far as slash voices, have you seen the most recent Discover Dorico? If not, go to the Dorico YouTube channel and look for the most recent Discover Dorico. John Barron does a great job of explaining some of the slash voice issues, etc.

Have you tried using a MIDI keyboard to input your percussion parts? I find that using a MIDI keyboard allows me to input notes a lot faster, because I agree, moving the cursor up and down can take a long time to get music entered.


You shouldn’t need to use two kits to achieve different stemming in different parts of your drum part: you can as Robby suggests use Edit > Percussion > Change Voice to change the stemming for a selected note or bunch of selected notes. The Discover Dorico video Robby refers to is here.


I used the Edit > Percussion > Change Voice to all stems down for a measure that only had a simple kick and hi-hat pattern.

Now, when I go back to normal drumset notation, all my hi-hats and cymbals are stems down, and I cannot change it back to the default appearance.

I’ve tried Resetting the stems, resetting note destination voice. Now, my hi-hats and drums are all stems down, and I seemingly can’t do anything that will fix it.
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Sorry, Timothy, I’m afraid I gave you the wrong information: what I told you to do has of course changed all of the notes throughout the whole flow, which isn’t what you wanted to do. Instead, select only the notes whose stems you want to move into the other direction and choose Edit > Percussion > Change Voice > Extra Down-stem Voice. Using the “extra” voice won’t change all of the existing notes into a different voice.