Percussion kits vs. individual percussion instruments

Percussion kits allow you to show multiple unpitched percussion instruments held by a single player at the same time in different ways. Multiple percussion instruments not combined into kits are shown on a single line that only shows the instrument currently being played by default.

One common type of percussion kit is a drum set. A drum set consists of a number of separate instruments mounted together on a frame, and is typically written on a regular five-line staff. Each instrument has its own position on the staff, and sometimes its own notehead type. Similarly, a pair of bongos is a percussion kit by default in Dorico Pro, consisting of the two bongo drums, typically written on a grid with two lines: the smaller drum shown on the top line, and the larger drum shown on the bottom line.

Showing individual percussion instruments separately can be appropriate if a player only has one or two percussion instruments. However, combining percussion instruments into a kit gives you more flexibility over the presentation of music, which you can vary in each layout independently. Kits also give you greater control over the labeling of instruments.

If instrument changes are enabled on the Players page in Layout Options, Dorico Pro changes from one instrument to the next, just as it does for pitched instruments.


Kit instruments in player cards in the Players panel in Setup mode are colored green, whereas individual percussion instruments not part of percussion kits are colored the same light blue as all other instruments.