7 Best Drum Notation Software Apps (Drum Transcription Tools)

7 Best Drum Notation Software Apps (Drum Transcription Tools)

If you want to write down some drum parts, you’re going to need good music notation software. Over the years, I’ve tested out several different options. 

Some of them are much trickier to use than others, but the catch is that the more complex ones allow you to do a lot more. 

The best tools take much longer to learn, but it’s worth putting in the time. However, many drummers just want to jot ideas down quickly, so it’s better to use simpler tools. 

So, here’s a list of drum transcription tools that range in difficulty and quality. I’ve personally tried all of them before, so I’ll share all of my thoughts behind what they offer. 

Groove Scribe

Groove Scribe - Drum Notation Software Apps

Groove Scribe is undoubtedly one of the best apps that has ever been made for drummers. That sounds quite intense, but I absolutely mean it when I say that. It’s not exactly a full drumming transcription app, but it’s a tool that allows you to easily write out short drumming ideas. 

The beauty of it is that you don’t need to understand how to read music to write drum parts out. It shows a grid with a set subdivision, and then you just fill in notes on that. When you do that, it automatically writes out the drum notation for it. 

You can then loop whatever you’ve written out so that you can practice along with the audio. I’ve done this so many times in the past when trying to perfect a complex drum part. I’ll start really slow and then gradually speed up as I go. 

The only downside of this app is that you can’t write more than about four bars at a time. This means you can’t transcribe full songs. 

It’s more designed as a quick idea tool, and then you can share the link with people for them to see the ideas. 

This app would be my top recommendation for drummers who struggle to read notation. It makes it so easy to write out short drum parts, and you can learn more as you go along. 


Aered Music Editor - Drum Notation Software Apps

Aered is another seriously easy notation app to use. This one is a full-on notation app, so you can write out full songs for the drums. It’s not as easy to use as Groove Scribe, though, considering that you need to have a better understanding of how to write drum parts out. 

However, it has a simple point and click design that makes notating parts a lot quicker than most other full notation apps. 

This is my go-to app when I want to write something out quickly and then convert it into a PDF or PNG. 

The only big drawback that I’ve found is that you can’t do time signatures with 8 or 16 as the pulse. So, you can’t write drum parts in 7/8 or 13/16, for example. That may not be an issue for many drummers, so I’d definitely recommend this app over more complex ones due to how simple it is to use. 

It’s technically free software, but the creators encourage you to pay an option fee when you get it. I’ve gotten so much value from this app over the years that I highly recommend paying a few dollars!  


MuseScore Drum Notation App

Up next we have MuseScore, which is arguably the top free notation app available at the moment. Compared to the two apps that we’ve looked at so far, MuseScore offers a lot more. 

It’s regularly used by musicians to create full scores for multiple different instruments. Regarding drum notation, it lets you write a lot more because it offers more features. 

The top thing I love about MuseScore is that it gives you more control over how your drum notation looks. You can change whether stems go up or down, for example. You can also choose which notes are grouped, whereas the previous apps do that for you without you getting to choose. 

The big downside of MuseScore is that inputting notes can be incredibly complicated. I’ve just found that writing out a few bars of groove takes a lot longer. However, things tend to go faster once you’ve got those down and can just duplicate parts. 


Sibelius - Drum Notation Software Apps

Sibelius is one of the big options regarding music notation apps. I’d liken it to Premiere Pro for video editing. It’s used by industry professionals to transcribe music for every instrument you can think of. 

It’s the first app that I’ve mentioned so far that you need to pay for. The price is about $200 once-off, which I think is incredibly reasonable when you consider how much the app offers. 

It’s another majorly complicated notation app, but I found writing out drum kit parts to be slightly easier than MuseScore. You also get more features than you’d likely ever use, which I really enjoy. 

I’m not someone who spends a lot of time writing out full drum parts. But if that was your full-time job, you’d definitely want to use something like this over MuseScore or Aered. 


Sound Slice Drum Notation Software App

Soundslice is an incredible piece of music software. While it works as a notation tool, it doubles as a slow-downer and part remover. 

So, you can put songs into it to isolate and break down the drum parts. You can then write those out after clearly hearing what they sound like within the mix. 

This makes it the perfect app for drummers that want to notate parts from songs that already exist. 

I heard that Drumeo uses this app for their play-along library. They have almost every song that you can think of on there, and Soundslice was the main tool to create that. 

There are a few pricing plans for various uses, but the one that applies to solo drummers costs $5 per month. 


Musink - Drum Notation Software Apps

Musink is yet another great notation app for drummers to use. This was actually my go-to app before I started using Aered. 

It’s really intuitive, and inputting drum notation is quite simple. While you can use the app to write parts for a few instruments, it’s mainly designed for drummers to use. That’s why writing drum parts on it is simpler than many other apps. 

There are a few payment options, with the free one being what I used to use. Musink Lite has more than enough for what most of us need, in my opinion. 

However, if you want more features like better MIDI and priority email support, you can pay $4.99 per month or $80 once-off. 


Finale - Drum Notation Software App

Finale is my final notation software recommendation, and it’s a big one. If Sibelius is like Premiere Pro, then Finale would be like Davinci Resolve for video editing. It’s another industry-standard option that so many professionals use to write out music sheets. 

It costs $299, making it about $100 pricier than Sibelius, but I honestly think it’s a bit easier to use. If that’s important to you, then it’s worth paying the higher price. 

I’ve also heard a lot of people saying that Finale is the most powerful transcription software available. I haven’t been able to test that myself, but with drummers like Peter Erskine using it, I’d assume that it’s true! 


To recap all of those options, you have a choice between Sibelius and Finale for the most powerful apps. 

I don’t think most drummers need those, though. You could save a lot of money by choosing MuseScore, Aered, or Musink. Soundslice is also a fantastic choice if you want to transcribe drum parts from popular songs. 

If you just need to lay out quick ideas, Groove Scribe is the best pick!

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