How To Read Percussion Sheet Music

Want to learn how to read percussion sheet music? This article will help you read percussion sheet music easily without the need of other help aids. You don't have to be a master at reading musical sheet music to read percussion sheet music. In fact, percussion sheet music uses the same musical staff, but doesn't use the same musical notation; it is more like guitar tabs. Each part of the staff represents a drum or cymbal. All the cymbals are designated by an "X" and the drums use regular note symbols. Each space or line represents a certain drum or cymbal.

Things you'll need:

  • Piece of percussion sheet music
  1. Snare drum. The snare drum is considered the most important piece of the drum set. There are two different places where the snare drum is marked on the musical staff. Either on the middle line or the space above the middle line is the snare drum tab.
  2. Bass drum. The bass drum is in the lower space of the musical staff. If there is notation for a double bass drum, it is noted on the imaginary line below the lower space of the first bass drum. 
  3. Hi-hat. The hi-hat can be played using drum sticks as well as using the hi-hat foot pedal. There are two different notations for each. The foot hi-hat notation is located below the lowest line and is marked by an "X" with a tail. The notation for using a drum stick to hit the closed hi-hat is an "X" with a tail just above the highest staff line.
  4. Tom toms. The tom toms are noted on each staff line. The lowest sounding tom tom is on the second lowest line on the staff and the other tom toms are on subsequent staff lines. 
  5. Ride cymbal. The ride cymbal is the space above the highest staff line. It is designated by an "X" with a tail.
  6. Crash cymbal. The crash cymbal notation is an imaginary line above the ride cymbal.
show comments

What Others Are Reading Right Now.