Score excerpt

As you can see in the picture, the fourth line is marked S.D. with a few notes.

What is the meaning of S.D.? And what are these notes (Do, Re, Mi…?) and how are they to be played?

I know it is for orchestra but I want to understand it. I am trying to play the music on piano and keyboard

  • 2
    S.D. is Snare Drum. The notes mark strikes on the drum. In arranging you might try to use some sort of fitting harmonic notes or chords to mark the rhythm.
    – Lazy
    Sep 21, 2023 at 9:48
  • 5
    @Lazy that should have been written as an answer, not as a comment
    – Arsak
    Sep 21, 2023 at 10:18
  • 1
    As a score, it's unusual because all the parts are in concert pitch - they have the same key signature. It's more common for orchestral scores to be transposing scores rather than concert pitch. But this makes them harder for a pianist to perform from the score because you need to transpose back to concert pitch. Sep 21, 2023 at 11:49
  • Standard Deviation :-) . I'm JOKING!!! Sep 22, 2023 at 18:47

2 Answers 2


S.D. is side, or snare drum. Not particularly as part of a drum kit, but used as a separate percussion instrument. The clef shows that it's percussion - no F- or G-clef.

Because snare is an untuned percussion instrument, there are no particular pitches sounded - it just gets played, in time, as stated on that line of music. You won't be able to emulate this on piano, although you could find 'snare drum' on a keyboard, and layer the notes shown into the mix. They are played on beats 2 and 3 in each bar.

  • 4
    "You won't be able to emulate this on piano" - hit the lid of the piano with a broom ;) Sep 22, 2023 at 15:05

What Tim said. In general, a one-lined staff like this is used for unpitched percussion where pitch is simply not an applicable category. The closest way to emulate this on an acoustic instrument (piano, guitar...) would be to slap the wooden case with your palm. If you don't insist on using the piano for it, you could slap your leg, or tap your foot on the ground, etc. On an electric keyboard, you can play it with a key if you set the instrument mode accordingly.

  • 1
    I think OP wants to arrange the piece for piano, which doesn't mean playing all the notes literally as in original. Sep 21, 2023 at 14:56
  • 2
    @user1079505 They didn't ask how they should change it; they asked what it is. I'm guessing they're most likely to just leave this part out and if anything, do with the chords from the guitar line as they're supposed to be played at the same beats. But in any case the choice will be theirs.
    – Divizna
    Sep 21, 2023 at 19:29

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