Percussion notation thoughts....

I began to play around the percussion notation just to see what it looked like for the first time today.

Here is an example:
Screen Shot 2016-12-14 at 10.45.57 AM.png
A few comments/suggestions about what I observed:

1 - By default the stems were down. Most percussionists prefer the stems up, a few others do prefer down. Is the there a way to change or edit a single staff or multiple staves to show stems up? Instead of having to select the notes and force the selected notes stem up?

2 - The accents appeared below the notes. I saw in engrave mode -> engrave options a way to move the accents above the notes, but that applies to the whole score. Is there a way to have the accents above the notes apply to only a few select staves? I work with marching band scores, and there is no need to put accents above the notes in Trumpet or Flute parts if players are use to seeing them above and below.

3 - The “Z” on the stem of the quarter note sits a little high. I believe it should be a little lower. Also, in regards to the Z, it would be nice if there was an option to select how the Z looked. I have been a big fan of using the same Z as in the sfz dynamic. I know others prefer the one similar to the one Dorico does now. An option would be great. I also tried the 2-line tremolo and I thought it sat a little high as well.
Z buzz roll.png
4 - When typing in stickings using Lyrics, the popover covered up the notes (stems and beams). I had trouble telling where I was in the measure with the stickings. Is there a way to move the popover a little further up to avoid cases like this?
Screen Shot 2016-12-14 at 11.50.41 AM.png


Another thought regarding the example I entered:
Screen Shot 2016-12-14 at 11.50.25 AM.png
On the second line, usually from other software I would tie the quarter note buzz to the next note to show the release of the buzz. In Dorico adding the tie, changes the value to a dotted quarter note. Which is certainly a departure from what I was expecting. It got me thinking that probably I have been doing things wrong this whole time (23+ years) and that maybe that really should be a slur. A workflow change for sure, but in reality probably a much more accurate way in terms of me personally thinking about music.

When I tried to flip the direction of the slur, it looked a little weird.
Screen Shot 2016-12-14 at 11.51.03 AM.png
Haven’t messed around too much with slur options, but if this is normal for a trumpet or flute, would it be possible to have an independent option for adjusting percussion? I believe it should go from note head to note head.


  1. Although changing the default for contextual stem is a global setting (Engraving options>Notes), it will set the percussion stems up. In many ways though, since you are writing on a single line, selecting to the end of the flow and forcing stems does work very well.

  2. I don’t think there is a way to do it for an individual staff, however, since you are writing on a single line, writing one note with an accent, changing the accent properties to Placement>Stem side, and then get our of caret mode and use R to repeat (and change the rhythmic value after pressing R when need be), is a fast way of writing a bunch of notes with displaced accents. Also, as long as the selection of notes all contain accents, you can edit them at once on the properties panel; but if even a single note is accentless, then that property won’t show on the panel. Sadly, this doesn’t work when the selection includes tuplets …

Is there a way to move the popover a little further?

My sister bakes delicious popovers for holiday meals. We have no trouble moving them from the serving dish to our mouths. My problem is how to use Dorico without being hungry all the time. :wink:

But James_ is there a shortcut? :wink: #yorkshire