In this post I demonstrate how to make a drum score for basic snare drum exercises.
The application used is LilyPond.

The version for LilyPond I used is 2.14.2 for Linux. But there is also a Mac and Windows version available.

Edit, compile, view PDF

The process of creating a score exists of 3 steps:

  1. create the score with your favorite text editor
  2. compile it with LilyPond
  3. the compiled output result is a PDF file you can view with your PDF reader

Edit the score

The notation for creating scores with LilyPond is text based, so you can use whatever text editor you like.

\version "2.14.2"

\book {

  \header {
    title = "Drumscores made for Meytal Cohen"
    subtitle = ""
    copyright = ""

\score {

  \drums {
    sn4 r sn r | sn sn sn2 | sn1 | sn2 sn4 sn | \break
    sn4 sn r sn | sn2 sn | sn4 sn r sn | r sn sn2  \break
    sn1 | sn2 sn4 sn | sn sn r sn | sn2 sn \break
    sn2 sn2 | sn4 sn4 sn2 | sn r4 sn | sn1

  \header {
     piece = "LESSON 3, BONUS EXERCISE 1,"


\score {

  \drums {
   sn2 sn4 sn | sn sn sn2 | sn4 sn r sn | sn2 sn | \break
   sn1 | r4 sn r sn | sn2 sn4 sn | r4 sn sn2  \break
   sn4 sn sn2  | sn sn4 sn | sn1 | sn4 sn r sn \break
   sn2 sn | sn4 sn sn2 | r4 sn r sn | r sn sn2

  \header {
     piece = "LESSON 3, BONUS EXERCISE 2,"


By using the syntax \drums { ... } you can use sn for the snare drum, bd (not used in this example) for the bass drum and so on. The vertical | characters are used for readability and represent bar separators.
If we look at the first bar we have sn4 r sn r, which are a quarter note, a quarter rest and again the same notation. If the duration of the notes doesn’t change you only need to mention the note/rest and not the time, so here only for the first note you need to mention “4” for quarter.

compiling the source

Creating the output result in PDF format is nothing more than giving the following command in a terminal:


lilypond is the name of the program is the filename of your created source code with extension .ly

During compilation you will see some output on the console and error messages if there are syntactical errors in your code.

PDF output

If everything goes well, you have a beautiful PDF score.

I was inspired to simulate 2 exercises based on the exercises given by Meytal Cohen. She is a fantastic drummer.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

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