Drum notation software

Mastiff

Senior Member
Anything new in this arena that people like? The last thread on the topic is fairly old. Personally, I'm looking for something simple to quickly record grooves, fills, or practice ideas for reference. The learning curve on many is pretty steep, especially since drum notation is a simple subset of what many people are trying to do. I'm pretty happy with Aered, but I'm not sure if it is under development anymore, so I don't want to get too invested. Lilypond looks interesting, but has not graphical interface.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Dorico? Last time I checked it out it was very new but version 2 has been getting good press. Dorico is made by Steinberg and the development team are the team that were made redundant by AVID. Glad to say that it in no way resembles Sibelius, which is a steaming turd in my (sadly extensive) experience.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Noteflight has been very good. $50 per year. Straight forward user interface. Web app; nothing to install.
 

Mastiff

Senior Member
Noteflight looks interesting. I was able to enter some stuff pretty quickly without too much frustration. Kind of reluctant to spend the money for the premium version when I literally care about none of the features they offer in premium except not being limited to 10 files... might still be worth it though.

I wasn't aware that audio playback appears to be a major driver for these pieces of software. Not just notation at all.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Noteflight looks interesting. I was able to enter some stuff pretty quickly without too much frustration. Kind of reluctant to spend the money for the premium version when I literally care about none of the features they offer in premium except not being limited to 10 files... might still be worth it though.

I wasn't aware that audio playback appears to be a major driver for these pieces of software. Not just notation at all.
The next step up from Noteflight is Sibelius, which is the gold standard. But that’s about $600, and installed on one machine.

There is no product directly aimed at, or designed for, drummers, that’s any good, that I’ve seen. Finale is terrible. Musescore and others are okay, but Noteflight has the most features and best interface for a good price.

You can use layers to create, for example, a hi-hat abs snare part on top, and a bass drum part on the bottom. This is a real pain to do in lots of programs.
 

Mastiff

Senior Member
I was playing with Noteflight a bit more and the interface is slightly harder than Aered (which is designed from drums incidentally), at least if I'm doing it right. As an example, for a typical groove, it's handy to lay down the hi-hat or ride pattern and then insert the snare and bass where they go. Aered allows this, but it looks like Noteflight requires you to manually change the value of notes (say, an 8th) to make space for notes that go in-between.

I'm going to play a bit more though, because the on-line mode works for me, and it looks to be used by lots of people and actively supported.

I'm going to check out Lilypond too.
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
The new free version of Sibelius (Sibelius First) includes drum notation with X’s and such. You are limited to four parts per score (quartets) and limited quintuplets and such, but more than enough features for writing drum parts.

You can save scores, print, export pdf, etc.

Edit: Sibelius First allows two layers (voices) on a staff, useful for hihats on theupper part and snare & bass on the lower part. (Full Sibelius allows four voices per staff.)
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
The problem with Sibelius is that it's Sibelius.

I have developed a burning hatred for that bloody program over the last few years. To the point where I (successfully) argued with Avid that it was not fit for purpose under the Consumer Right Act...
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
The problem with Sibelius is that it's Sibelius.

I have developed a burning hatred for that bloody program over the last few years. To the point where I (successfully) argued with Avid that it was not fit for purpose under the Consumer Right Act...
Interesting - its the choice of 99% of high school and university composition students where I live. Like any powerful programme you get used to how it works, and get quicker at finding the features that you use the most.

Of course, it was originally developed for Publishers, with their own house styles and font and spacing preferences. But very few musicians bother with that side of tne programme. I like the new free version though, still quite powerful at no cost.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
We have 25 licences at work, too. I'm always looking for alternatives (Musescore really is rather good, incidentally) but two generations of teachers have been using it, so it's rather ingrained.

My issue was very specific and to do with keyboard mapping. I'm 'that guy' that uses a Dvorak keyboard and Sibelius can't remap the keys. It is the only commercial piece of software that I've come across in years that doesn't support remapping. Musescore does. And that's FOSS!
 

Rochelle Rochelle

Senior Member
Aered is such a simple and intuitive program that I used for a little while but it lacks some major features I wanted and development basically stopped several years ago. It's a shame as it had so much promise.

I do use Finale Printmusic which is basically Finale with some random features removed that make it frustrating to use sometimes, but it was a whole lot cheaper and I make do.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I was playing with Noteflight a bit more and the interface is slightly harder than Aered (which is designed from drums incidentally), at least if I'm doing it right. As an example, for a typical groove, it's handy to lay down the hi-hat or ride pattern and then insert the snare and bass where they go. Aered allows this, but it looks like Noteflight requires you to manually change the value of notes (say, an 8th) to make space for notes that go in-between.

I'm going to play a bit more though, because the on-line mode works for me, and it looks to be used by lots of people and actively supported.

I'm going to check out Lilypond too.
It's worth mentioning that Noteflight handles other instruments pretty darn well, for $50 per year. I've done horn arrangements, full scores, created little loops (with click) for personal practice, and so on.

At the beginning, I thought I'd just be using it for drums. Man was I wrong.
 

Terry Branam

Official DW Chief Transcriber
I've tried them all, and for me Finale is still number one. It's a matter of getting accustomed to the software and figuring out how to get it to do what you are asking of it.

I have been using Finale since 1998 and I'm still learning things!

Best of luck!
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I've tried them all, and for me Finale is still number one. It's a matter of getting accustomed to the software and figuring out how to get it to do what you are asking of it.

I have been using Finale since 1998 and I'm still learning things!

Best of luck!
I only know one other person who uses Finale, and he has been a beta tester since the late 90s.

Everyone else uses something else.
 

notvinnie

Senior Member
I've tried them all, and for me Finale is still number one. It's a matter of getting accustomed to the software and figuring out how to get it to do what you are asking of it.

I have been using Finale since 1998 and I'm still learning things!
I use Finale too, and I find it extremely frustrating some times. Nesting polyrhythms is pretty much impossible. Even dealing with triplets is a pain. It's as if you have to "trick" the software to get it to enter what you really want.

Eg: 3 quarter note triplets starting on beat 3 of a bar of 4/4, with the last quarter note triplet broken up into two eighth-notes.
 

Mustion

Senior Member
I only know one other person who uses Finale, and he has been a beta tester since the late 90s.

Everyone else uses something else.
I've been using Finale for years and simply can't use anything else. Everybody I know uses Sibelius and when I tried it myself I went running back home. Too bad, because Sibelius has some features that blows Finale out of the water... but the Finale way of doing things is just too ingrained...
 
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