Marching Percussion Idiosyncrasies

I’m starting to get more comfortable writing marching percussion parts in Dorico using the template that was provided back in February. The template is fantastic, and really helps speed the process along, particularly the setup process. Understanding that this is still somewhat in its infancy, there are a couple issues that come up that either A) I could use some assistance with, or B) could stand to be addressed for the future. Here are the main issues I’m having/discovering (I fully admit that there may be current solutions of which I’m unaware):

  • It would be nice to have a way to set all articulations to be placed above the staff for certain instruments/kits (if there isn’t already a way I’m unaware of). In marching percussion parts, it’s customary to have all articulations above the notes to leave space for stickings to be written below the staff. Obviously you can do this globally for the project, but I don’t believe it’s possible for individual staves.

  • When I enter tuplets on staves for tenors and bass drums, there are issues moving from one tuplet to the next. For example, if I start an 8th note triplet on beat 1, if I continue on to beat 2, I end up with odd nested triplets. If I turn the tuplet off and back on, it’s fine until the next one starts. Because it does not seem to happen on the snare line, at least not when all the notes are in the third space, I’m guessing this is probably connected to them being across multiple instruments in the kit. I haven’t experimented to see if this happens with a regular drum set-type kit or not, but it definitely happens in the marching percussion kits set up in the template.

  • I use lyrics to write stickings below the notes (if there’s a better way, please tell me). On staves like tenors and basses, hitting space bar moves the entry point to the next note on that space, not the next note on the staff. Again, I assume this is related to the staff actually being a kit with multiple instruments, but it’s a very common thing for percussion arrangers to do, and it makes it very difficult to enter the stickings in this way.

I would appreciate any help available for these issues/questions, and if there currently aren’t solutions, I hope they will be considered for future updates.



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We plan to add a proper feature for percussion sticking in a future version of Dorico, though I’m afraid that’s not something that we’re likely to get to in the near future.

For articulations, you’re right that there’s no way to specify that articulations should always go above only for unpitched percussion instruments, but this would be a useful option to add, and I’ll make a note of it.


Ditto to all three points/suggestions Jeremy makes - especially the sticking input! One other small thing is the lyric tool popover has the unfortunate tendency to cover up the note stem and articulation I am trying to assign sticking to. (Example attached)

It’s common to use an uppercase (R) for accented strikes and lowercase (l) for un-accented, not to mention rudiment sticking combos like paradiddles, etc…so the popover block makes it challenging to input. If the popover displayed below the lyric or was high enough to view the full stem/articulation that would be immensely helpful.

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