Percussion kit for 2 wood blocks

Please be gentle. This is my first time trying to use a percussion kit, and after watching the official Dorico video (it was made for Dorico 1) I’ve got most, but not all of it figured out.

My score calls for two wood blocks (large and small). So I set up a 2- line grid:

Screenshot 2023-05-19 at 6.59.44 PM

Some questions:

  1. If you’re a percussionist (or an experienced orchestrator) is this the way you’d like to see it? With a 2-line grid and the smaller (i.e. higher-pitched) one on the top?

  2. Why is Dorico putting the large WB stems down, and the small WB stems up? This just looks weird - but I’m not sure what I’d rather it look like. Any input?

Screenshot 2023-05-19 at 7.00.05 PM

  1. I just want to confirm that I’ve set this up correctly. My score calls for 1 player who switches between snare drum and 2 WB’s. So in Setup mode it looks like this. Pretty sure I did this right, but I’m just making sure:

Screenshot 2023-05-19 at 7.04.13 PM

  1. I just realized that there’s a bit of an oddity when switching from one instrument to the other, because we’re switching between a 1-line and a 2-line stave. Does this look odd to anyone else? Does this affect your recommendations to the questions above?

Ultimately my goal will be to print out a part for an individual player which will intelligently switch between snare and WBs. (Obviously, snare and WBs never play at the same time.)

Any tips welcome as I get into this area for the first time!


I’m not percussionist nor a orchestrator. But I’ve seen many scores, especially windband repetoire.

  1. If there are different sized instruments (Congas, cowbells, Triangle, or in your case Wood Blocks), most of the time they are notated in a 5-line staff or on a single line (one head above the line, the other below). See the link below.

Sometimes they use different notehead, triangles or squares sometimes not.

  1. click on the 3 dots behind the Wood Blocks instruments → edit percussion kit there you can change the stem direction.

  2. I tried to create a player with 2 Wood Blocks and a snare on a single line. But for some reason Dorico likes to freeze. I believe it doesn’t like 2 WBs, because SD, WB, BD works fine.
    If you use a 5-line staff you may create a single kit.

But I usually don’t need custom percussion sets.

  1. Yes. it looks a bit weird. But I’ve seen scores, also from well known composers, where a percussion part is switching between 5 and single line staff.
    Others keep the “single pitched” instruments players on a single line, But if the mallet player has to play the cymbals, it’s written in the 5-line staff.
    The last time a saw a 2-line staff, i can’t remember.