Is there a way to define four stroke rolls for percussion?

In attempting to define cymbal rolls in my percussion kits it seems I am limited to three strokes. In slow tempi it is customary to write rolls with four strokes, since the 32nd notes of three strokes can be distinctly heard in slower tempi (not a true roll). However, there is no four stroke option in the Define Percussion Playback screen despite there being a four stroke notation option in the repeats menu at right in Write mode. It seems I will need to write my cymbal rolls with three strokes to get good playback and then change them back to four stroke for score printing - or create a different project file and make the stroke changes there. Is there a different way to define four stroke rolls that I’m missing?

You can define a specific playback effect for a four-stroke tremolo for your individual percussion instrument using the Edit Percussion Playing Techniques dialog:

@dspreadbury I’m familiar with the percussion instrument playing techniques dialog but I don’t see any options in there for a four stroke tremolo definition. I already created a custom notehead set with larger circled x noteheads but I don’t see a way to specify a combination of notehead and tremolo strokes in the notehead definitions and there is not a four stroke option in the Playback of Articulations and Tremolos section section of the screen where one would expect to set an option for strokes in the stem. At most three strokes are available. Can you elaborate on how to get a four stroke option in that dialogue, please?

I created my own playing technique, which I call “rufff” to distinguish it from “ruff” – the three-stroke (which I also created).

Thanks for taking the time to respond with a good suggestion. So if I understand correctly, you created playing techniques in the Edit Playing Techniques dialog for two variations of roll notation without entering any roll techniques in the Edit Percussion Playing Techniques dialog. Then you apply the playing techniques to individual notes in the score as applicable. I assume you would then need to apply a second playing technique to return to “normal” playing. This seems like a good solution.

My only question would be why two different playing techniques for “roll”? The standard notations in the classical world would be “trem.” for roll and “non-trem.” for return to normal, and they could be applied to either three-stroked notes or four-stroked notes as needed. Since non-trem is only really necessary when moving from unmeasured to measured tremolos (which does happen in my piece) I would hide the non-trem indication when subsequent notes are unslashed.

I don’t really understand the Percussion Playing Techniques dialog, so I haven’t mastered it.

I assume you would then need to apply a second playing technique to return to “normal” playing.

No, not necessarily. When you create techniques you can specify whether it is a direction or an attribute. Attributes apply only to the note it is attached to; directions are the kind of marking you are thinking of, which require cancellation.

You need to go into the Playback technique dialog (shown here just below popover text), where you create the actual technique as found in your percussion map when you get to it. That’s where you specify attribute/direction.

Trem or trill for roll. Depends, perhaps, on the instrument, but you often see both used for timpani. You don’t see “non-trem” as a marking because the symbol for tremolo is self-explanatory. If it isn’t there, don’t trem. Flams, drags, ruffs etc. aren’t rolls as such. Or at least, that’s not my understanding. There are wiser heads who may well contribute…

By the way, my solution looks pretty ridiculous on the page, but I don’t have to worry about what a real-life player might say. Again, others might have better alternatives for the glyph.

Thanks @Marcabru for the clarification on attribute vs. direction. I have had success using a tremolo playing technique I created for unpitched percussion that is tied to the roll playback technique, which is an attribute. I then apply that playing technique to each roll that needs it. I can hide the text if it’s not needed for clarity for the performer (usually it’s not needed for percussionists unless the unmeasured tremolo is followed by a measured one). According to my notation reference book Behind Bars by Elaine Gould the abbreviation trem. is the commonly accepted text nowadays rather than trill marking, though it’s true you see trill for timpani in older scores. So problem solved. Thanks for your help.

Does Gould have anything to say about distinguishing between measured and unmeasured tremolos? Especially the 3-stroke variant
For me, a trill is unambiguous in that regard; percussionists can usually do a strict trem at fairly high tempos.

Here’s what Elaine Gould has to say about tremolos, rolls, and trills for percussion:
“The measured rol should initially be written out in full [and then continued with slashed stems of the same duration]. The unmeasured roll is indicated trem. (alternatively, add a further tremolo stroke, as long as this ensures that the roll cannot be measured in the given speed). Rolls are often written as trills. (In drum parts a trill always means a roll on a single drum.) This notation has the advantage of showing unambiguously that a roll is unmeasured. However, in general, percussionists prefer the trill sign to be reserved for the true two-note trills of tuned percussion.”

So instead of mixing notations and using trill for drums and cymbals (the families which cannot perform an actual trill) and trem. for pitched percussion I go for consistency with four slashes always, and trem. indication if necessary for all percussion. If an unmeasured roll then slows down to a measured one I add non-trem. as an indication. In my current piece I have a broad mix of all types of percussion.