Notation for electronic sampling pad as part of drum set?


Brand new Dorico user here, first post on the forums.

In order to learn Dorico I’m currently transcribing a rather complex drum set part by Mark Colenburg from the Derrick Hodge song “The Second”. All is going great so far, I love Dorico and am already working much faster in it than in Sibelius.

I wondered if anyone had any advice for this specific issue: Mark uses a Roland SPD-SX sampling pad as part of his kit. First, a general, non-Dorico-specific question: as best I can tell there is a convention for using square or rectangular noteheads for electronic pads, but not really any convention for where on the stave they should be placed. As in this particular song no toms are used I was just going to use those lines for pads. Is that an acceptable choice, or is there a better option?

Second, something specific to Dorico: I went to edit the kit to add the sampling pads, but can’t find something that matches. (I’m not that bothered about playback, I need something to sound for the notes to help me determine if I’ve transcribed things correctly, but I don’t need it to sound like the original recording.) Should I just use the existing toms in the kit, changing their noteheads and names? Are there drawbacks to that? Is there a better way?

Lastly, as this is a non-standard kit (two snares, sampling pad) I would like to put a key at the very beginning showing what everything is, including the noteheads used. I’ve seen percussion legends discussed in the online docs, but I’m not sure that’s what I’m looking for. Or perhaps it is and I’m not understanding? Anyway, should I write out the key myself as a separate flow, and then add it in page layout mode, or can Dorico generate such a thing for me?

Thank you very much in advance. Once I’ve finished I will post my feedback here for the Dorico devs, as I know the percussion and drum kit stuff is new. So far my experiences have been extremely good though, I must say.

Lastly, do people here share their Dorico projects as examples for others? I’m happy to share this transcription once it is finished if that is something people do here.

Best, Darren

The beauty and downfall of percussion notation, is that you can do whatever works best for you. The problem is that not everyone will understand what you did. For this very reason, and legend (a staff legend) preceding or following the music will be a must. But as far as changing the toms to pads… there is nothing wrong with this, and is quite acceptable (my opinion of course).

And as your last point, I would certainly create a new flow, and use that as the legend.

As far as your playback concern. For me, I would just use the tom playback. But each person is different, and you should figure out what works best for you.

I’d love to see to the transcription when you are done, if you aren’t afraid to share it.


Thanks very much for the reply Robby! I figured out the legend shortly after posting: yes, a new flow.

I’ll be all too happy to share the transcription when I’m finished. I’ve already completed the first half of the song, but the second half gets considerably more complicated so will probably take me a little longer. I’ll post it when I’m finished.

Hi Robby,

I posted the transcription in a new thread here:

Best, Darren