Percussion Stickings


Has anybody thought about Percussion stickings? If so, will they be implemented using the lyric entry method? Or will it have its own method available?


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We won’t have a dedicated tool for percussion stickings in Dorico 1.0, but I would expect them to be implemented in the end using a manner similar to lyrics, yes.


I know Dorico 1.0 won’t have it, but I would like to throw a suggestion into the ring for future versions to have a dedicated percussion sticking tool. It could be grouped with Piano fingerings, mallet numbers (4 mallet marimba pieces - similar to piano fingerings), guitar fingerings, etc.

Just a thought.


I am reviving this old thread, as opposed to starting a new one. The main push here is to show the importance of having a sticking tool of some kind. I know that there are SO many other areas competing for attention and resources. Here is the issue at play:

I am engraving a brand new drum solo for a set of Marching Tenors (nostalgic term often used is Quads despite now having 5 or 6 drums). I have input all of the music and now get into the stickings part of the process. The solo is a 5-8 page piece depending on how much I tweak spacing, or stick with Dorico’s defaults (over 100 measures). Since this is a multi drum piece, the way the drum kit is set up is so that each space is linked to one drum of the 5 drum setup (i. e., in Dorico’s eyes 5 separate instruments), as such adding stickings with the lyric tool I have to add them ‘instrument by instrument’. Which means I have to write all of drum 1 stickings, then all of drum 2 stickings, etc. This can get complicated when I have fast passages (lots of notes) with numerous sticking variations.

In the video below (about 1 minute in length), I am adding stickings into a shortened example. You can see that it advances to the next note of the same instrument which could be several measures away in some instances (drum 1 to drum 1, for instance). This method gets a little confusing and cumbersome, as often time composers will write a sticking group that makes sense to percussionists, such as a paradiddle-diddle (R L R R L L). It would be easier to just type R L R R L L underneath the note grouping in one consistent pass, as opposed to instrument by instrument. When a paradiddle-diddle is split between numerous drums, one has to deduce where in the pattern that particular drum note might fall (is this note the 2nd right, or the first of the double lefts?). This might not stop the everything, but it certainly can bring things to a crawl. Especially, when you can’t see where you actually are. To help keep my bearings as to where I am in the score, the zoom level I am at allows the pop-over to cover up the music to where I can almost no longer see what or where the sticking is actually going to go (at 0:17). I then have to stayed zoomed in so there is not cover up, allowing me to lose my place a little more frequently than when I am zoomed further out.

Like I said, I know there are MANY areas needing attention. I just hope that the team can find time to create something more helpful sooner rather than later.


Certainly I can see the problem here: because lyrics follow a specific voice, they’re always going to skip notes in different instruments in the kit, because they are in different voices even though they may be notated as part of the same beam – Dorico is looking at the original voices, rather than the voice used on the kit staff, to figure out where to go next.

Out of interest, what does the “B” you’re entering mean? How much variety is there in the things that you’re inputting for percussion stickings? Naively I thought it was basically just R and L – what else do you typically write?

I think “B” means bass (drum), though I may be wrong!

B means both. I’ve seen some people use R/L for double stops. I’ve also seen others use B. I guess it depends on what you grew up doing and have seen the most of.


Got to keep this thread alive. I’m still hoping for a smoother way to add stickings.

I’ve also encountered the exact same problems as Robby describes but when transcribing drum solos or composing for the drum set. Transcribing or writing drum fills with a mixture of cymbals, toms, snare, kick etc., it usually involves more than one voice and the lyrics workaround is not ideal. R and L are obvious wishes but also K for kick (When it comes to the drum set) and B, for both or alternatively U, for unison. A lot of drum set fills these days are described as stickings e.g. RLLKKRLK.

As a drummer I support this thread. Once you need doing stickings, it should work smoothly.

To emphasize it’s kind of the analogy to fingering on piano or strings. Sometimes drummer discuss how to use hands and legs to play a certain pattern. Sometimes there are alternatives, sometimes there is almost only one way to do it without harm :slight_smile: And educational material won’t do without …

Any word on this? Or will this be part of the writescore stuff?

Welcome to the forum, RhythmCanvas. There’s no news on a dedicated percussion sticking feature at the moment, but it remains on our backlog and is something we plan to address in future.

Although it doesn’t cover sticking, if you’re interested in VDL (since you mention The WriteScore, you might also like this: Marching percussion template for Tapspace Virtual Drumline – Dorico

I am working on publishing a score for marching band and have run into exactly this same issue. Will be great when stickings are natively supported and can go throughout the various drums notated on one staff! Already the VDL Template is very helpful so thank you!

Any updates on a dedicated percussion sticking feature? My apologies for reviving such an old thread, but I’ve been running into the exact issue that’s been described here for years. I couldn’t find any updates in the documentation for releases since this had last been asked.

Neither the (admittedly hacky) lyric method or (slow) playing technique method work well enough as an alternative.

We do absolutely plan to add this, Nicholas, but I’m afraid I can’t give you any indication of exactly when it might be added to the software, sorry!


Thanks Daniel, I appreciate the update. I (and I’m sure many others) will be eagerly awaiting this feature!

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A year later, and still hoping for this.

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Also hoping for it.

Give some love to the percussion engravers out here!

Breathing life into this thread once more, to make sure that something gets implementd here. I’m new here, both to the forum and to Dorico as a whole. Currently running the Pro5 trail to see if I want to make a switch over.

For percussion arrangers out there (and there are many of us!) Entering stickings is already one of the must frustrating and time consuming things we can do in a notation software. The fact that this cannot be done in one pass with the lyric tool, or some other solution is a MASSIVE oversite for us… I have seen that there are R’s and L’s in the Playing Techniques panel, but I have not found an efficient way to use those either.

I love so, so many things about what I have seen from Dorico. It is lightyears ahead of anything else out there on so many levels. I want to pull the trigger on purchasing a license at the end of my trial period, but If I cannot find a good, easy way to do stickings I just dont know if I am going to be able to do that. I know this seems like a small thing so it slides to the back burner, but for percussion arrangers, this is a MAJOR and FUNDAMENTAL feature that is needed!! Like I said, I am new around here, so if there is a solution at this point, excuse my ignorance and feel free to share! And again… I love so much about the work that you guys have done… I think this is something great you have done here!