Notation Software and Not Using Percussive Arts Society Notation

WonderMonkey

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I'm not quite sure how to ask this so I'm not quite sure how to search for it.

The book my instructor uses does NOT use standard Percussive Arts Society notation. For example, the closed hi-hat in the image immediately below (PAS Notation) is in one place and in the image below THAT it is in another. I'm looking for a software package that I can use the non-PAS notation. If the software comes out of the box with PAS and I can change it with reasonable effort, that's fine. Did I ask clear enough or is this confusing? Hopefully, those that use notation have run into this before and know what I'm talking about.

Sibelius_drum_legend.png


Drum_legend_example.png
 

Hop

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Is there something about the PAS version of the notes that you don't prefer? Is the stem direction in the example or the position on the staff?
The stem direction can be affected by the position on the staff so your transcription may not look like the example.
I think you should look at the features for the software to see how much 'useful' customization can be done.

For example, if you want to adjust the position of an instrument on the staff, the editor can give you the flexibility like in the "Aered" product.
Here's a link: https://aerodrums.com/aered/

Here's a pic from the Aered Manual:

Notation Key.JPG
 

rsq911

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Finale will do exactly what you want.
You can change noteheads and positions, reassign sounds, etc…
 

WonderMonkey

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Is there something about the PAS version of the notes that you don't prefer? Is the stem direction in the example or the position on the staff?
The stem direction can be affected by the position on the staff so your transcription may not look like the example.
I think you should look at the features for the software to see how much 'useful' customization can be done.

For example, if you want to adjust the position of an instrument on the staff, the editor can give you the flexibility like in the "Aered" product.
Here's a link: https://aerodrums.com/aered/

Here's a pic from the Aered Manual:

View attachment 539110

It's not that I don't like it, it's that the instructional book that my instructor works out of has the non-PAS version. I went looking and most books have the PAS version, and the rest don't. It just so happens that the Tommy Igoe book is using non-PAS and I'd like to be consistent when I'm notating fills and such that my instructor gives me.

I'll look at the Aered product because it's doing what I'd like to be able to do in software. I have used Guitar Pro for a long time (former crappy guitar player here) and the only reason I won't continue is that I can't figure out how to do non-PAS. If I don't find a software I'd like to move to, I'll have to jump into the GP forums and ask, but I'd like to explore software that is more drum friendly and not just some I'm comfortable with.

Thanks for the input!
 

WonderMonkey

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Finale will do exactly what you want.
You can change noteheads and positions, reassign sounds, etc…

Thanks. I have Finale loaded and have been playing with it for the last day. I'll dig in and see how to reassign things there.
 

Hop

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It's not that I don't like it, it's that the instructional book that my instructor works out of has the non-PAS version. I went looking and most books have the PAS version, and the rest don't. It just so happens that the Tommy Igoe book is using non-PAS and I'd like to be consistent when I'm notating fills and such that my instructor gives me.

I'll look at the Aered product because it's doing what I'd like to be able to do in software. I have used Guitar Pro for a long time (former crappy guitar player here) and the only reason I won't continue is that I can't figure out how to do non-PAS. If I don't find a software I'd like to move to, I'll have to jump into the GP forums and ask, but I'd like to explore software that is more drum friendly and not just some I'm comfortable with.

Thanks for the input!

Another choice is Musecore, which seems to get fairly good reviews and is free/open source... here's a link: https://musescore.org/en
 

WonderMonkey

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Another choice is Musecore, which seems to get fairly good reviews and is free/open source... here's a link: https://musescore.org/en

I tried it out but couldn't figure out how to reassign. I'm sure it does, but I didn't want to spend hours on each software package if someone here happened to know right away. I wasn't sure how to search for what I wanted so I was spinning down a hole.
 

Hop

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Looks like it's pretty easy to change the attributes (how that note will appear) and the position on the staff....
Here's a vid tutorial:

 
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dcrigger

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I'm not quite sure how to ask this so I'm not quite sure how to search for it.

The book my instructor uses does NOT use standard Percussive Arts Society notation. For example, the closed hi-hat in the image immediately below (PAS Notation) is in one place and in the image below THAT it is in another. I'm looking for a software package that I can use the non-PAS notation. If the software comes out of the box with PAS and I can change it with reasonable effort, that's fine. Did I ask clear enough or is this confusing? Hopefully, those that use notation have run into this before and know what I'm talking about.

View attachment 539084

View attachment 539085
I think the thing is - PAS long ago offered up this as proposed "standard notation" and the reality would seem to be that hardly anyone has ever adopted it. In a nutshell - there is no real standard. There are many common practices that tend show up a lot. First would be the decades old practice of putting the snare on the 3rd space up. And I can tell - after decades of reading drum parts professionally - I can't say that I've ever seen anyone notate the snare on the middle line - ever! Snares and crossticks literally always share the same 3rd space up - with an X head for cross stick and a regular head for snare.

Similarly - diamond head for open hat? Not that I've ever seen. Open and closed hats continue to be notated with + and o regardless of PAS' " standard.

As for notation software - most come with ways of adjusting this as many have described. Is it a pain - yeah. Because again - there's no standard. Though when searching for notation software - the thing I would be most concerned with is the ability to have both a stems up layer and stems down layer on a single staff. Because for me, it is impossible to properly notate drums without that ability. To write drum set charts (as opposed to transcriptions) the ability to mix "slash" notation with regular notation is essential as well.

Maybe you already have - but if not... if it were me I would ask your instructor if his specific notation "key" is actually required for whatever he's asking you to do.

Which BTW - what is he asking you to do? :)
 

ARGuy

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That snare drum on the middle line notation, along with putting a tom in the 3rd space, would disqualify it for me. As dcrigger said, there is no real standard for drum set notation, but one thing that has been consistent is the placement of the snare drum on the 3rd space. Virtually every piece of music I've read in my life - concert band, Haskell Harr, big band, pit orchestra - has had the snare drum in the 3rd space, and I can't see any good reason to make the exception the rule.
 

WonderMonkey

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I think the thing is - PAS long ago offered up this as proposed "standard notation" and the reality would seem to be that hardly anyone has ever adopted it. In a nutshell - there is no real standard. There are many common practices that tend show up a lot. First would be the decades old practice of putting the snare on the 3rd space up. And I can tell - after decades of reading drum parts professionally - I can't say that I've ever seen anyone notate the snare on the middle line - ever! Snares and crossticks literally always share the same 3rd space up - with an X head for cross stick and a regular head for snare.

Similarly - diamond head for open hat? Not that I've ever seen. Open and closed hats continue to be notated with + and o regardless of PAS' " standard.

As for notation software - most come with ways of adjusting this as many have described. Is it a pain - yeah. Because again - there's no standard. Though when searching for notation software - the thing I would be most concerned with is the ability to have both a stems up layer and stems down layer on a single staff. Because for me, it is impossible to properly notate drums without that ability. To write drum set charts (as opposed to transcriptions) the ability to mix "slash" notation with regular notation is essential as well.

Maybe you already have - but if not... if it were me I would ask your instructor if his specific notation "key" is actually required for whatever he's asking you to do.

Which BTW - what is he asking you to do? :)

Thanks for that insight.

The book we are using to learn grooves is Tommy Igoe's Groove Essentials and uses the non-PAS notation. My instructor isn't asking me to write any notation, I'm doing that on my own. Trying to transcribe songs, add fills to the grooves I'm learning, etc. I could do all that on normal paper, but I like to use software as I'm used to doing that with Guitar Pro for guitar. I'd like to use the same notation method as we use in my in-person sessions so I don't confuse myself.
 

WonderMonkey

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That snare drum on the middle line notation, along with putting a tom in the 3rd space, would disqualify it for me. As dcrigger said, there is no real standard for drum set notation, but one thing that has been consistent is the placement of the snare drum on the 3rd space. Virtually every piece of music I've read in my life - concert band, Haskell Harr, big band, pit orchestra - has had the snare drum in the 3rd space, and I can't see any good reason to make the exception the rule.

You are right! What I'm using has the snare drum on the 3rd space. The image I put on my post was from a different source and I didn't notice that.
 

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The PAS notation _sucks_. I also hate any notation that requires ride and hi hat to be differentiated only by what line/space they're on, because often drum charts aren't written on on full 5-line staff paper. I always use an X notehead for hi hat (with a "○" above for open, or a "∅" above for half-open/sloshy), and a regular/full notehead for ride (with a "•" above for bell). This lets me sketch out grooves on a napkin if necessary -- no lines needed: If it's at the bottom of the sketch, it's kick (or hh foot, if it's an "X" notehead), if it's in the middle of the sketch, it's a snare, if it's at the top, it's a ride if it's a full notehead, or hats if it's an X.
 

dcrigger

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Thanks for that insight.

The book we are using to learn grooves is Tommy Igoe's Groove Essentials and uses the non-PAS notation. My instructor isn't asking me to write any notation, I'm doing that on my own. Trying to transcribe songs, add fills to the grooves I'm learning, etc. I could do all that on normal paper, but I like to use software as I'm used to doing that with Guitar Pro for guitar. I'd like to use the same notation method as we use in my in-person sessions so I don't confuse myself.
Two thoughts -

1. I would suggest being as open as you can for variations in this - because that's the reality in the world at large. I know folks that went all through school never playing anything other than engraved manuscript and now after school, when confronted by anything looking hand-written (even perfectly, with a hand written style computer font) struggle reading it. My point - getting used to variation is a good thing.

2. A teacher once suggested that I work on taking ideas and exploring them, by purposefully creating as many variations that I could come up with. And I asked him if, as part of this process, I should write them down as I came up with them - to keep track of them, document them, etc... And his response was basically "Absolutely not. The idea was to work on increasing my functional vocabulary. The vocabulary in my mind, ready to use as I'm playing. Vocabulary written down on paper at home serves no real purpose - and the time spent actually writing it would be far better spent simply creating more stuff.

Personally I'm very visual - so the desire to notate everything comes natural to me. But playing drums is primarily an aural thing... and our ability to react and express ourselves is primarily a real time activity. Anyway I would caution about spending too much time documenting things.... and for instance, I would be incredibly surprised if documenting drum ideas on paper by hand isn't (at least) twice as fast as doing it on the computer. (I've been using Finale for years - and it takes at least 4 times longer). So unless you are creating parts for others to read - or writing a book. Absolutely go with whatever is fastest - no matter how much nicer the computer stuff looks. If you can read it... that's all that counts.... besides not wasting time.

My two cents...
 

dcrigger

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That snare drum on the middle line notation, along with putting a tom in the 3rd space, would disqualify it for me. As dcrigger said, there is no real standard for drum set notation, but one thing that has been consistent is the placement of the snare drum on the 3rd space. Virtually every piece of music I've read in my life - concert band, Haskell Harr, big band, pit orchestra - has had the snare drum in the 3rd space, and I can't see any good reason to make the exception the rule.
Since posting, I've been thinking about this and remembered.... "Oh yeah, I'm a PAS member! I should check their website regarding their PAS standard. And the fact is - I can't find the key the OP posted on their site anywhere. I found Norman Weinberg's article on the subject. And while there are things he suggested that have never been universally adopted - moving the snare drum off of the 3rd space was not one of them.

Again - I see no evidence of anything he suggested every being adopted by the world at large - but all in all, in a fundamental way, it is very much based on what's common.

So OP - where did you find that PAS key? Not saying you didn't find it - just curious as to where.
 

Rich K.

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When teaching kids (and adults) to read, I always explained that drum notation isn't codified, and they might experience other books or band charts that didn't have everything in the same place as their first book.
I'm pretty sure they all zoned out when I told them.
 

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Two thoughts -

1. I would suggest being as open as you can for variations in this - because that's the reality in the world
Two thoughts -

1. I would suggest being as open as you can for variations in this - because that's the reality in the world at large. I know folks that went all through school never playing anything other than engraved manuscript and now after school, when confronted by anything looking hand-written (even perfectly, with a hand written style computer font) struggle reading it. My point - getting used to variation is a good thing.

2. A teacher once suggested that I work on taking ideas and exploring them, by purposefully creating as many variations that I could come up with. And I asked him if, as part of this process, I should write them down as I came up with them - to keep track of them, document them, etc... And his response was basically "Absolutely not. The idea was to work on increasing my functional vocabulary. The vocabulary in my mind, ready to use as I'm playing. Vocabulary written down on paper at home serves no real purpose - and the time spent actually writing it would be far better spent simply creating more stuff.

Personally I'm very visual - so the desire to notate everything comes natural to me. But playing drums is primarily an aural thing... and our ability to react and express ourselves is primarily a real time activity. Anyway I would caution about spending too much time documenting things.... and for instance, I would be incredibly surprised if documenting drum ideas on paper by hand isn't (at least) twice as fast as doing it on the computer. (I've been using Finale for years - and it takes at least 4 times longer). So unless you are creating parts for others to read - or writing a book. Absolutely go with whatever is fastest - no matter how much nicer the computer stuff looks. If you can read it... that's all that counts.... besides not wasting time.

My two cents...
at large. I know folks that went all through school never playing anything other than engraved manuscript and now after school, when confronted by anything looking hand-written (even perfectly, with a hand written style computer font) struggle reading it. My point - getting used to variation is a good thing.

2. A teacher once suggested that I work on taking ideas and exploring them, by purposefully creating as many variations that I could come up with. And I asked him if, as part of this process, I should write them down as I came up with them - to keep track of them, document them, etc... And his response was basically "Absolutely not. The idea was to work on increasing my functional vocabulary. The vocabulary in my mind, ready to use as I'm playing. Vocabulary written down on paper at home serves no real purpose - and the time spent actually writing it would be far better spent simply creating more stuff.

Personally I'm very visual - so the desire to notate everything comes natural to me. But playing drums is primarily an aural thing... and our ability to react and express ourselves is primarily a real time activity. Anyway I would caution about spending too much time documenting things.... and for instance, I would be incredibly surprised if documenting drum ideas on paper by hand isn't (at least) twice as fast as doing it on the computer. (I've been using Finale for years - and it takes at least 4 times longer). So unless you are creating parts for others to read - or writing a book. Absolutely go with whatever is fastest - no matter how much nicer the computer stuff looks. If you can read it... that's all that counts.... besides not wasting time.

My two cents...
As to #2, while I understand the reasoning for your teacher’s comments, I’ve always found it very helpful to notate something. The act of writing out (often physically with a pencil) is generally enough to commit the piece to memory. Beyond that, I could often “see” that chart in my head and call it up whenever I wanted.
 

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As to #2, while I understand the reasoning for your teacher’s comments, I’ve always found it very helpful to notate something. The act of writing out (often physically with a pencil) is generally enough to commit the piece to memory. Beyond that, I could often “see” that chart in my head and call it up whenever I wanted.
Oh yeah - as for charting out new pieces, I totally agree - and never approach it any other way. And yes, same for me, often that process gets way down the path to memorizing the whole thing - but if not, I'm often left only barely needing to read it.

But what I was referring to about documenting variations of ideas - not in chart or sketch form, but as complete notation. Like coming up with a fill idea, then exploring many similar variations, spun off that original idea. The idea was that taking to time notate all of those variations was time wasted - if working on writing a book for others sure, but the exercise was to come up with a bunch of variations to work on and memorize - but rather the ability to make up variations as needed on-the-fly. A skill we use all of the time, when not playing pieces by rote - or note-for-note.

But no, I'm anti-writing things down at all, where it comes to learning arrangements new to me.
 


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