Music: drum notation

Picture says it all:

In a DAW, those 3 drum types are represented as C(bass), D(snare), and G#(hi-hat). So that will be confusing for anyone maybe expecting F(bass), C(snare), and G(hi-hat), as it were a treble clef. Here’s how something a bit more regular than than above looks like in a DAW (Reaper, in this case):

Then I went looking for a song to test out my new found knowledge. On YouTube, there is a very good drum tutor, who kindly also includes the drum notation for what he shows. He demonstrated Superstition:

I took the first 7 bars from the pdf in the demo and stuck that in a Reaper and midi file. It’s here. I can’t guarantee it will always stay in that location, but if you look for [SuperstitionStart] in GitHub, you should find it if it does move.

While doing this, I found a great free drum VST –¬† Those are the drums you here in the wav I recorded for this.

This is a good explanation of drum notation, and they also include a PDF.

A google search.

Notes from a Reaper/Kontact Factory Library drums session (Pop kit):




Music: drums and MuseScore

Ref the previous post about inconsistencies in denoting drum types, I wondered how MuseScore would do it.

It took me a wee while to remember even how to use MuseScore. In summary:

  1. Become a member
  2. Download MuseScore
  3. Start MuseScore
  4. File/open… .mid files are one of the supported types (which assumes that you have previously exported your drums from your DAW as a midi file). Call this tab A
  5. At this point, you have a score (in tab A) in non-Drum mode. So you have to File/new/(choose instrument)pick instrument as DrumSet. Call this tab B.
  6. In tab A, do (Ctrl-A) (PC) to select call the notes and copy to clipboard
  7. In tab B, go to the front of the stave and paste.
  8. That should give you something like this in tab B, where the call-it II symbol denotes that it is a drum score, the F, in treble clef terms, is a bass drum, and the C is a snare drum. And, for me that is good enough.

The midi is here.

Music: drum notation

Thanks to Wikipedia for this contribution on drum notation – really useful. As an example..

(Both by Hyacinth at the English language Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Hm, hang on… so even in the above we have some disagreement about what is what (e.g. the “crotchet” dissecting line 3, which is one case is a snare… else a tom?). And then when you include this picture from the evidently now-defunct, you get more disagreements (e.g. the position of the ride (cymbal))…

Hm, maybe better off sticking to Midi.