Magic Henry’s Music Notes

Musical Terms For Reading Music
On Drums

Have fun jamming along with the band and improving your ability to read music at the same time, using this introductory guide covering the basics – Henry

The stave (indicated by blue) is made up of 5 lines. Each line and space corresponds to a voice of the drum set

The neutral clef (red):  This symbol is used for untuned percussive instruments, a drum set in this case.     

Metronome Mark:

Indicates the speed of music in beats per minute.


Play louder

cresendo greater


No crash


A short phrase of transition acting between sections.

Segno sign: 

Italian for ‘sign’ – is used as a navigation marker. The instructional ‘dal Segno’ or  ‘D.S. al Coda’ signifies go back to the ‘Segno’ sign and when the ‘al Coda’ or to Coda, sign is reached,  jump to the final ‘Coda’ sign.


Continue in a similar way but vary the patterns slightly.

Coda sign:

‘Italian for tail’ – is used as a navigational marker and indicates the final part of the tune. The instruction ‘al Coda’ or ‘to Coda’ directs the performer straight to the ‘Coda’ sign. (See the definition of ‘Segno’ for more info)


Extend the part in a stylistically appropriate manner.


Piano soft

Mezzo piano: moderately soft

Mezzo forte: moderately loud

Forte: loud

Dynamics or expression marks are written under the stave.