When it comes to fully notated drum set parts, all the same attributes apply as for any other instrument in the orchestra. A detailed part includes: notes and rests, dynamics, articulations, and technique instructions. There are specialized procedures used to achieve some of these in drum set and percussion parts in Sibelius | Ultimate. I will assume you are familiar with inputting notes and rests in voice 1 (stems up) and voice 2 (stems down) as well as adding dynamics using expression text and standard articulations (staccato, tenuto, etc.) via the keypad.
After some feedback I’ve received from Part 1 of this series, I want to clarify a few things. Drum set notation is similar to chord symbols, in that defining what is “right” or “standard” varies by genre, publisher, where you studied music, regionally, and many other variations. I studied from the Clinton Roemer book early in my career. I currently refer to the book “Guide To Standardized Drumset Notation” by Norman Weinberg for most conventions. And even at that, I don’t strictly adhere to Mr. Weinberg’s book. For example, I use Style A (sited in my first post), whereas he recommends Style B. In the end, Sibelius | Ultimate will allow you to get your drum set parts looking exactly as needed, adhering to your guidelines. May I suggest that in the end, find what works for you, your clients, and the musicians you serve, and then stay consistent.
Technique indications can expressed with either symbols, text, or lines. Some of the symbols can be found on the keypad. Symbols for open and closed high hats are on Keypad Layout 4. There you’ll find the cross for closed and the circle for open. For rolls, go to Keypad Layout 3. You can apply these symbols in the same manner as any articulation.
Technique symbols that are not on the keypad can be found in the ribbon under Notations>Symbols. Click on the More button, or just type “Z” on your keyboard and you’ll see a menu with all of the symbols. Clicking on All in the upper left corner will show a dropdown menu letting you quickly find percussion symbols.
To apply a symbol, either click a note first and then click on a symbol in the menu, or click on the symbol and then click into the stave where you would like to apply it.
If there is a symbol you use often and you’d like to access it more quickly, you can add up to three user-defined articulations to Keypad Layout 4. For example, the symbol I prefer for half open high hat is a circle with a vertical slash. I use that symbol a lot, so let’s add it to the * key on the 4th Keypad Layout, so I can get to it quickly.
Symbols in Sibelius are either based on a font character or you can import a graphic. First, I’ll need to find or create a symbol. Opening the Symbols menu (Z) and going to round noteheads, the symbol Round half notehead vertical line, looks like a good candidate.
Go the ribbon Notations>Symbols>Edit box. This opens the Symbol Edit window. Scrolling down to Round noteheads, I click on the symbol I’m looking for. Next, let’s do a bit of detective work to find the origins of that symbol. Music font, Special symbols extra, number 101. Knowing this, I can assign this symbol to one of the custom articulation spots. Click OK to get out.