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Re: percussion notation issues

From: Graham Percival
Subject: Re: percussion notation issues
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004 17:21:38 -0800

I don't know anything about percussion notation, but this might be of interest
to lilypond-devel as well.
- Graham

On 22-Dec-04, at 6:50 AM, Bruce McIntyre wrote:

Hello all.

I've just finished reading through Norman Weinberg's _Guide to
Standardized Drumset Notation_ published by the Percussive Arts Society
(1998). I've put up a synopsis of some of the more important points at

Note the numbers on the toms. If you need to describe music for 3 toms,
use toms 1, 2 and 3.  If you want 6 toms use toms 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.
The pitch of each tom is governed by its height as in normal music--tom
9 is higher than tom 1; tom 10 lower.

The notation conventions recommended by Mr Weinberg have been adopted by Modern Drummer Magazine, the various PAS publications as well as publishers
such as audiograffiti
berklee and others.

Lilypond's drum notation is missing a few features to implement this

1.  Rimshot notation (where a \ overlays the notehead)

2.  Crosstick notation (circle surrounding notehead).

3.  The "ghost" note, where the notehead is in parentheses.

        This can be implemented by molecule call backs, but looks kludgy
        at the moment.

4.  Lilypond's naming conventions don't support enough instruments:

        10 toms are needed (I personally don't own that many!)
        2 hihats
        2 rides
        3 crashes

5.  Some symbol shapes are wrong:
        The triangle should be equalateral with the base parallel with
        the staff lines. Here noteheads-d1do and noteheads-d2do would

        The symbol for a minim or semibreve cymbal should not be an open
        'x' but an open diamond, somewhat like that used for harmonics.

6.  Lilypond lacks the mallet symbols as well as the bell/edge
center/edge symbols.

        Personally I find Norman's Bell and Edge symbols ugly. The
        latter especially is frustrating as it projects out to the right
        of the note colum.

        Rod Morgenstein in his _Drum Set Warm-Ups_ follows this scheme,
        but uses cross with circle surrounding for a cymbal bell
        indication. Often drummers will alternate between ride cymbal
        bell and normal strokes every other quaver or semiquaver.
        Morgenstien's scheme is much less cluttered-looking than
        Weinberg's when this is notated.

I hope this email provides some ideas for future improvements to our beloved


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