Adding a drum set

This song did not originally include any percussion, but in order to demonstrate how Dorico handles percussion kits including drum sets, in this task you will add a hypothetical drum set to the project.


You are in Setup mode (press Ctrl/Cmd-1).


  1. Press Shift-P to add a new solo player and open the instrument picker.
    • You can also click Add Solo Player Add Solo Player button at the bottom of the Players panel at the bottom of the Players panel.

  2. Enter drum into the instrument picker search box.

    Instrument picker filtered by the search term "drum"

  3. Make sure Drum Set (Basic) is selected, then click Add or press Return.
    • New players are added below all other players. However, to follow both score order conventions and a common preference of keyboard players to have the piano at the bottom of the ensemble when they read from the score, you need to move the drum set above the piano.

  4. Click and drag the drum set player until the insertion line is above the piano.

    Drum set player being dragged up the Players panel

  5. Release the mouse to move the drum set player to the position of the insertion line.

    Drum set player in its new position above the piano player

    • Because bracket grouping is set to Small ensemble for the full score, the drum set is now included in a bracket with the other instruments. However, it is preferable to make a distinction between pitched and unpitched instruments in the score.


      You can change bracket grouping for each layout on the Brackets and Braces page in Setup > Layout Options (key command Ctrl/Cmd-Shift-L).

  6. With the drum set player selected, click Add Group Add Group button at the bottom of the Players panel at the bottom of the Players panel.


You have added a solo player, assigned a drum set to them, changed their position in the score, and put them in their own group to separate them from the other players’ bracket.

Drum set player in their own group with their staff now outside the bracket in the score


The voice is in its own group for the same reason.

In Dorico, a percussion kit is a set of multiple unpitched percussion instruments that can be presented in different ways: each instrument on its own line, in a grid, or on a five-line staff. The same percussion kit can appear on a five-line staff in the full score but with single-line instruments in the part layout.

You can identify percussion kits by their green instrument labels in Setup mode.

Percussion kit instrument label
  • If you click the arrow Arrow icon in instrument labels that appears in the instrument label when you hover over it and choose Edit Percussion Kit, you open the Edit Percussion Kit dialog where you can edit various aspects for each presentation independently, such as the voice for each instrument when using the five-line staff presentation.

  • You can change the presentation type used in each layout in the Percussion section of the Players page in Setup > Layout Options.