How To Read Drum Tabs?

Drum tabs are a form of musical notation specifically for drums. They are a popular way to write out drum parts, as they are easy to read and understand. In this guide, we will take a look at how to read drum tabs, and how they compare to sheet music.

Unlike traditional Western music notation, drum tabs are a simplified version of the music. They usually only contain the most basic information and are easy to read. Thanks to our guide, you can learn a little more about them.

How Drum Tabs Are Structured?

Drum tabs are written in a similar way to sheet music. They have a staff with five lines, and each line corresponds to a different drum. The top line is for the high tom, the next line is for the floor tom, the next line is for the snare, the next line is for the hi-hat, and the bottom line is for the bass drum.

Just like in sheet music, each note on the staff corresponds to a certain duration. In drum tabs, this is usually written out as a number next to the note. For example, a dotted quarter note would be written as “1.” A sixteenth note would be written as “e.”

Drum tabs also use time signatures, just like sheet music. The time signature is written at the beginning of the tab, and it tells you how many beats are in each measure. The most common time signature in drum tabs is 4/4, which means there are four quarter notes in each measure.

Drum Roll Notation

The term drum roll comes from the fact that it is a series of repeated drum beats. A drum roll is used to build tension and excitement before something important happens in a musical piece.

What is a drum roll?

A drum roll is a series of drum beats that are repeated many times. A drum roll is also known as a roll, a flourish / a flourish, a rat-a-tat-tat, a rat-a-tat, a rat-a-tat-tat-tat, or a roll call.

How to notate a drum roll?

Drum rolls can be notated by using a special music symbol. The symbol is written above or below the note or rest that you want to precede. If the drum roll is performed on the snare drum, it is written above the note or rest. If the drum roll is performed on a cymbal, it is written below the note or rest. If it is performed on both the snare drum and a cymbal, it is written both above and below the note or rest.

The symbol used to notate a drum roll looks like a letter R with a dot in the center. The roll symbol consists of a letter R with a dot inside of it, then a second letter R with a dot inside of it, then a third letter R with a dot inside of it, then a fourth letter R with a dot inside of it, then a fifth letter R with a dot inside of it, and then a sixth letter R with a dot inside of it.

Repeating Bars

One thing to note about drum tabs is that they usually repeat bars. This means that if you see a bar repeated more than once, you only need to play it once. For example, if a bar is repeated three times, you would only play it three times.

side view of someone playing drums

Drum Tab Legends

In addition to the notes and time signatures, drum tabs also have legends. These are drum set symbols that represent different techniques or sounds. Here are some of the most common legends:

  • The triangle symbol represents the crash cymbal.
  • The square symbol represents the ride cymbal.
  • The dot next to a note means that the note should be played for twice as long.
  • The “x” symbol means that the note should be muted or played softly.
  • The “h” symbol means that the note should be played with a hand-held drumstick.

How do Drum Tabs Compare to Sheet Music?

Drum tabs are a very popular way to write out drum parts, but they do have some limitations compared to sheet music. The main disadvantage of drum tabs is that they don’t notate the pitch of the notes. This means that you can’t tell which drum to play a certain note on.

Another disadvantage of drum tabs is that they don’t notate the duration of the notes. This can be a bit tricky to get used to at first, but you will get the hang of it after a while.

Quickly Reading Drum Tabs

Once you are familiar with the structure of drum tabs and the different legends, you will be able to quickly read them. Here are a few tips:

  • Scan the tab for the time signature and the drum notation key signature. This will tell you how many beats are in each measure and what key the song is in.
  • Look for repeating bars. As we mentioned earlier, if a bar is repeated more than once, you only need to play it once.
  • Look for the crash cymbal and ride cymbal symbols, and listen for the sound of the cymbals to determine where they are.

Do Drums Have Different Drum Сhords?

Drums do not have drum chords in the traditional sense, as they are not instruments that are typically used to play melodies. You can find this information in any drum notation guide. Drums are used to keep time and provide a rhythmic backing for other instruments.

However, there are specific ways to play drum patterns that will add some additional notes to a song. In this article, we’ll show you two different ways to play chords on the drum set.

person is playing drums with electric lights on

1. The Bass Drum

The bass drum is an odd instrument. It is used to keep time, like a metronome, but it can also be used to add bass notes to the song.

A great way to do this is to play the bass drum right on top of the beat. Typically, this means you will play on the 1 and the 3 of each measure.

If a song is in 4/4 time, this means that you will play on beats 1 and 3. If a song is in 6/8 time, you will play on beats 1, 3, and 5.

The important part is that you play on the beat. You can use your feet to keep time (as is done in traditional drumming), or you can use your hands as well.

If you’re using your hands, you can play on the 1 and the 3 of each beat, like you would when playing an actual bass note.

This will make your drumming sound much more like a bass note and less like a drum note.

2. The Snare Drum

two snares and a drum

The snare drum is the most common drum used to play chords and melodies.

You can play snare drum notes on any beat of the measure, just like you would play any other drum.

For example, if a song is in 4/4 time, you can play a snare drum note on the 1 and the 3 of each measure.

You may not want to do this every single time, but you can get creative with your drumming.

For example, you could play on the 1, then 3, and the 5 of the measure.

You can also play on the 2, then 4, and the 6 of the measure.

When you play on the 2, 4, and 6 of each measure, the song will begin to sound more like it has a melody. This is because you are playing a note at the beginning of the measure, another note in the middle of the measure, and yet another note at the end of the measure.

You can also play on the 2, 4, and 5 of each measure or the 2, 4, and 6 of each measure.

This will give the song a slightly different sound and make it more interesting.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with your drumming.

The beauty of the drum set is that you have more than one instrument to play notes. While you will spend the majority of your time playing the kick drum, you can switch it up and play some snare drum notes as well.

Read Them Easy!

Drum tabs are a popular way to write out drum parts, and they are easy to read and understand. In this guide, we have looked at how to read drum tabs, and how they compare to sheet music. We have also looked at how to quickly read drum tabs.

Learning how to read drum tabs for beginners can be a bit tricky at first, but with a little practice, you will be able to read them like a pro. Just remember to take your time and don’t try to learn everything at once. Happy drumming!

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