Drum Set Notation in Sibelius: Part 3

In this blog post I’ll give you a few more tips on fully notated parts. We’ll cover a couple of plugins and a built-in feature that will really speed up your workflow the next time you are creating fully notated drum set parts.

Duplicate rests

You’ve probably run into something like this. Notice how you’ve got rests that you want to keep in each voice, but there are three rests that, if removed, will really tidy up this drum part.

A really helpful plugin for dealing with rests is Hide Duplicate Rests.  You will need to install the Hide Duplicate Rests plugin. If you go to the tab File>Plug-ins>Install plug-ins>Show all plug-ins>Notes and rests>Hide Duplicate Rests.

You could just select the rests in one of the voices and use Home>Edit>Hide or Show and hide them. For one instance of a rest, this is an easy enough way to do it. But when you have a lot of rests and want to hide them in one move, Hide Duplicate Rests will complete the task much faster.

For the example above, select the measures and run the Hide Duplicate Rests plugin. The window for the plugin will come up—I generally use this setting for the plugin:


Quick kick drum part

Generally many of the aspects of a good drum part are dictated by what the kind of groove is being played by the bass and comping instruments. In many rock and funk grooves, the kick drum is duplicating the rhythm played by the bass or at least outlining the accents of the line. A plugin that can make quick work of creating this type of kick drum part is a very versatile plugin called Make Pitches Constant. You’ll find it in Note Input>Plug-ins>Notes and rests>Make Pitches Constant.

Here’s a sample bass line:

Now copy that bass line into the drum set staff.

Select the bars and open the Make Pitches Constant plugin. Set the parameters of the plugin as I have below. You only have to set the parameters in the top half of the window. This is a very versatile plugin, and in an upcoming blog post I’ll show you where that bottom half comes in handy. Click “OK”.

So now you have this:

Only one more step. This kick drum part is in voice 1, and you’ll want to send it to voice 2. Easy fix! Select the measures and go to Note Input>Voices>Swap 1 and 2 or you could use the keystroke Shift V. Now your kick drum part is in voice 2. Now you are ready to go into voice 1 and create the appropriate high hat and snare parts.


Here’s an idea, use Ideas panel!

You’ve spent a lot of time inputting detailed drum set parts. The number of times I’ve written this drum pattern is probably in the thousands:

What if there was a way to quickly grab this pattern—fully notated—and paste it in, whenever you need it? There is, via the Ideas panel which you will find in View>Panels>Ideas or with the keystroke Option Command I.

With the Ideas panel open, select the bar or bars in your score with the drum pattern you wish to save. On the Ideas panel, click on the Capture Idea icon. You will now see your pattern in the Ideas panel. To paste it somewhere else in your score, select the idea and click on the Copy icon.

Then select the bar where you’d like it go and then either click on the idea Paste icon or use the standard keystroke for paste, Command V.

Next we want to make it easy to find the “idea” in any score you are working on. Select the drum pattern idea you’ve captured and click the icon for Edit Idea Info.

A new window will open. You can set the name and tags. I would suggest “drums, style (rock), high hat” and then your initials—make sure you leave a space between tags. “OK” out of this window. To be able to access this from all your scores, you will need to do the following: with the idea still selected, go to the bottom of the window and click on the Add to Library icon.

When you want to add this to a score, open the Ideas panel, click on the Library tab at the top. In the search box, type in your initials, and the list will now be filtered to just your ideas. If you type in your initials and drums, just your drum ideas will show in the list.

Here’s a video showing the process.



You will also want to select the Library tab and type “drums” into the search box, to see all the great default drum patterns that ship with Sibelius | Ultimate!

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