French  Europe (English) 
Online registrationFree updates and downloadHistoryFAQUser forumTechnical support

Percussion notation

Pizzicato Professional includes several tools to write percussion instruments.

First you can select the number of lines in a staff. It is common to write the orchestra percussion instruments on one line. To do that:

  • Select the cursor (arrow tool) and double-click to the right of the percussion staff

  • A combo menu entitled "Number of staff lines" lets you select between 0 and 16 lines

  • The "***" choice of this menu opens a dialog box with which you can select the staff lines to draw. You can for instance have a staff with lines 1, 3 and 5, which means 3 lines with larger space in between, where you can write for example 3 different percussion instruments.

  • Click OK and the staff will be redrawn with the specified number of lines.

  • You can modify the clef using for example the percussion clef (little rectangle). You can place it using the clef tool.

  • If the other staves of the score have a key signature, you can remove that key signature for the percussion staves using the key signature tool. You need to call the key signature dialog box, select the Major C key signature and check the "Only for this staff" box.

Sometimes the notes heads are modified to write the percussions, to distinguish each instrument. The cymbal is often drawn with a cross note. The note head tool can thus be used to personalize the percussion instruments, for one note at a time or for all the notes of one or several measures (Edit menu, Change the notes heads...).

The last point is important only when you want to hear the score with correct percussion instruments. Often, in a synthesizer or a sound card, percussions are assigned to a keyboard key. For example the cymbal, the snare drum, the bass drum,... have each one an equivalent note on the musical keyboard with which to play them. The GM (General Midi) standard assigns in this way a percussion map to specify the instrument corresponding to C, the one corresponding to C #,... Maybe this distribution is practical on the musical keyboard, but if you write then your percussion part on one staff, the score is very difficult to read, because the instruments seem ordered in an arbitrary way (example : a bass drum with 5 additional lines, an instrument with a B flat but very acute,...).

Pizzicato includes a tool to reassign each percussion instrument to a specific line of the staff. In this way, you can specify your notation conventions: if you want for example a low C for the bass drum, an high C for the snare drum, you decide. You can reach the percussion map as follows:

  • Open the instrument view and select the "MIDI Parameters" item in the scroll menu which appears while clicking in the top left corner of this window.

  • The "Pr" column is Percussion. Check it for the staff/staves you want to reassign.

  • A dialog box appears and you can assign a percussion instrument to each note of each octave with a scroll menu.

You can then write your notes as you want and Pizzicato will play the percussions correctly.

These tools help you easily write most percussion parts of a score. For printing and for listening.


Pizzicato Professional

Pizzicato Notation

Pizzicato Composition Pro

Pizzicato Beginner

Pizzicato Keyboard

Pizzicato Choir

Pizzicato Guitar

Pizzicato Soloist

Pizzicato Drums and Percussion

Pizzicato Composition Light

Pizzicato Light

Top of page
© Copyright 2000-2021 - Arpege sprl
All rights reserved for all countries
Pizzicato is a trademark owned by Arpege sprl