3.5.6 Percussion in MIDI

Percussion instruments are generally notated in a DrumStaff context and when notated in this way they are outputted correctly to MIDI channel 10, but some pitched percussion instruments, like the xylophone, marimba, vibraphone, timpani, etc., are treated like “normal” instruments and music for these instruments should be entered in a normal Staff context, not a DrumStaff context, to obtain the correct MIDI output.

Some non-pitched percussion sounds included in the general MIDI standard, like melodic tom, taiko drum, synth drum, etc., cannot be reached via MIDI channel 10, so the notation for such instruments should also be entered in a normal Staff context, using suitable normal pitches.

Many percussion instruments are not included in the general MIDI standard, e.g. castanets. The easiest, although unsatisfactory, method of producing some MIDI output when writing for such instruments is to substitute the nearest sound from the standard set.

Known issues and warnings

Because the general MIDI standard does not contain rim shots, the sidestick is used for this purpose instead.

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