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Drum voices on the stave - Drum notation explained

Updated: May 4, 2022

Todays brief drum blog is to give you a quick overview of the most common notation symbols used when writing or reading a drum chart. You can refer back to this page time and time again as we start to discover all of the voices around the kit over the upcoming lessons.

I have written all the notes as quarter notes, and while not designed to be a great sounding exercise, it can be handy to play it as such, so you start to develop your hand-eye coordination. It's a good practice for making your hands do what your eyes are reading from the chart. This will come in very handy for all upcoming lessons.

Pay particular attention to the ghost notes and accents. We will look at these in a lot more detail in another lesson. With these notes, it's less about what you play and more about how you play it. The ghost note is played at a very low volume, usually on the snare drum, giving a nice 'texture' to your playing. The accent on the other hand is the opposite. With the accent you're striking the drum harder than usual to make that particular note stand out.

If there's anything else you would like to see on this drum blog, or would like any help with specific topics or questions, please leave a message in the comments below and I'll do everything I can to help.

If you're keen to become a better drummer, check out the other free resources and drum lessons on my website. You'll finds lots of hints and tips and great new content added weekly.

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