Composing with drums

Flat allows you to write scores for any unpitched sets of instruments, from a triangle part to a full drumset.

Adding drums

When you create a new score, you will find the unpitched instruments in the “Percussion” section. It contains both individual instruments, like “Finger Snap”, and full sets like the “Drum Set” or the “Hip-Hop Set”.

When you want to add an instrument to an existing score, you will also find the unpitched instruments in the “Percussion” section.

Adding notes in percussion parts.

In a percussion part like a drum-set, each instrument is associated with a line/notehead combination. For instance in our HQ Drum-Set, the Floor Tom is associated with the normal notehead in the second line. The Crash Cymbal is on the 5th line, with an “X” notehead.

Floor Tom and Crash Cymbal

Adding notes with the mouse

When you place the cursor over different lines, a tooltip will show the available instruments at the line/space where the mouse cursor is.

Drums tooltip when hovering the staff

Then you can click to add a note, then adjust the notehead in the toolbar.

Click to add unpitched note

Adding notes with the drums-pad

When the note cursor is inside one percussion part, the piano keyboard will be replaced by a drums-pad, that will show all the instruments available in the edited part.

You can then click on the different buttons in the drums-pad to add or remove notes.

Drums-pad input

Using keyboard shortcuts

On the tooltip that appears when you hover the staff, or on the drums-pad, along with the instruments is displayed the keyboard shortcut that you can use to input the corresponding note.

Here you need to press “S” to add a note for the Cowbell

Keyboard shortcut on tooltip

And you need to press “G” to add a note for the Low Tom Keyboard shortcut on drums-pad

You can also display a cheat sheet to have the list of instruments, their staff placement, the shortcuts, and the possibility to hear the sounds of the different instruments. You can even export it to a printable format!

Display drums cheat sheet

Copy/paste on drums

When copying notes from one percussion part to another, the result will depend on the layout of the staff you paste into.

For single-line parts like the triangle or the hand-clap, the system will first try to respect the line/notehead: the note in the middle line for the incoming content will be assigned to the middle line on the destination staff. Then it will try to match instruments from the incoming content to the destination staff.

For multi-lines parts like the drum-set, the system will first try to match the instruments. Then it will try to match the line/noteheads.

Custom percussion set

If you want to use your own set, so you can select the instruments you want, and put them at the line/noteheads you want, you can create a custom drumset.

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