Drum Set Notation in Logic
Sam's Handy Guide to
Berklee-style Drum Notation
in Logic Pro 8
I figured that since I've spent hours pouring through the Logic manuals to try and figure
out how to get Logic to write and play drum notation correctly, I should share it with
others so they don't have to go through the pain-staking process themselves.
In this tutorial, I'll go through how to map your drums to display on the correct line and
play the right note at the same time. This will allow you to do most specific three-part
Let's get started:
First, make two more tracks for your drums (three if you need kicks over time).
Next, you'll need to open your "environment" window.
Once in the environment window, make a new mapped instrument.
Close the window that pops up. We'll deal with that later.
Next, go back to your arrange window (the one you start with) and right click (or ctrlclick) on one of your drum tracks to change it to be the mapped instrument track.
Double-click the name "(Mapped Instrument)" to rename it "Drums"
Do the same with your other track renaming it "Drums Playback" and assign it a
software drum sound by clicking on the "setting button" on the left panel.
Also, you're going to need to set the notation style to "Drums" for both tracks. To do this,
open the instrument tab on the left and use the style popup menu.
Change it to "#Drums"
Next, we need to cable the mapped instrument to the software instrument so that we
can get playback from the score. To do this open up the environment window again.
Grab the small triangle at the top-right of the Drums icon and drag it over to your Drum
Click "Remove" when prompted to.
You've now successfully cabled your mapped instrument to a sound-producing device.
Go back to the Arrange window and create a new region in your "Drums" track. Doubleclick the region to open the piano roll editor.
Create triggers for the sounds you want to use. Some of the keys will be labeled on
screen, but you should be getting sound feedback for the rest to tell which is which.
Realistically, these are all the notes you will need for basic drumset notation (with some
Next, open the score editor at the bottom of the window. You'll see all of your notes
spread across the measure.
Of course, none of these notes are in the right places, so we have to fix that. Go back to
the Environment window and double-click the "Drums" mapped instrument. You should
get a window that looks like this:
Scroll down to where the drum notes are and position your score and mapped
instrument so you can see both.
Next is fairly easy. Adjust the note head styles and relative position (they are all popup
menus) until the notes in your score are on the correct lines. Also, change the grouping
(last column) on the pedal high hat (G#1) to "kick" so the stem goes the right way in the
end. Don't worry about the rests and other stem directions yet. It should look like this
when you're done:
Close the mapped instrument window and go back to the arrange window. Open the
Staff Styles from the Layout menu.
Since you're on the drums track, "#Drums" should be the style selected already. If not,
select it from the dropdown menu at the top left. Scroll all the way to the right of the
window so you can see the drum groupings.
To separate the feet from the hand parts, click the "2" on the voice column on the Snare
row. Then click the "0" on the Kick row. Change the stem direction to "down"
Close the staff styles window. Go to Layout > Score Sets
Now go to New > New Complete Set
Name the new set whatever you will remember. Next, select the playback track and
delete it using the delete key.
You can edit this more for your other instruments, but this will do for now (make sure to
do this after you've added all your other instruments to your score so you don't have to
do this all over again).
Close the Score Sets window and select your new set from the top-left corner of the
You're done. You can now write specific three-part notation with proper playback and
notation. You can also add fills and other improvisation on the playback track that won't
interfere with what is written on the notation track.