How do I know which key to press on my keyboard to get the kick drum or the cymbals for example ?


3 Answers 3


General Midi specifies a mapping. Roland's GS standard adds to it as does Yamaha's XG standard. Your exact keyboard (and possibly drum preset itself) may vary.

see http://pianocheetah.com/midi/drum.html and wikipedia:

Drum midi map from wikipedia


Pretty much all electronic instruments today follows the "General MIDI" standard which includes a definition for which notes should control which type of drum sound.

You can read about it on Wikipedia or on the official MIDI site's General MIDI Level 1 Percussion Key Map. This site lists the corresponding keys in a more human readable way. Let me repeat the list:

    Note    Drum Sound
    ====    ==========
    B0      Acoustic Bass Drum
    C1      Bass Drum 1
    C#1     Side Stick
    D1      Acoustic Snare
    Eb1     Hand Clap
    E1      Electric Snare
    F1      Low Floor Tom
    F#1     Closed Hi Hat
    G1      High Floor Tom
    Ab1     Pedal Hi-Hat
    A1      Low Tom
    Bb1     Open Hi-Hat
    B1      Low-Mid Tom
    C2      Hi Mid Tom
    C#2     Crash Cymbal 1
    D2      High Tom
    Eb2     Ride Cymbal 1
    E2      Chinese Cymbal
    F2      Ride Bell
    F#2     Tambourine
    G2      Splash Cymbal
    Ab2     Cowbell
    A2      Crash Cymbal 2
    Bb2     Vibraslap
    B2      Ride Cymbal 2 
    C3      Hi Bongo 
    C#3     Low Bongo 
    D3      Mute Hi Conga 
    Eb3     Open Hi Conga 
    E3      Low Conga 
    F3      High Timbale 
    F#3     Low Timbale 
    G3      High Agogo 
    Ab3     Low Agogo 
    A3      Cabasa 
    Bb3     Maracas 
    B3      Short Whistle 
    C4      Long Whistle 
    C#4     Short Guiro 
    D4      Long Guiro 
    Eb4     Claves 
    E4      Hi Wood Block 
    F4      Low Wood Block 
    F#4     Mute Cuica 
    G4      Open Cuica 
    Ab4     Mute Triangle 
    A4      Open Triangle
  • please be sure to understand my question ( I have a little doubt ) : I know that keys on keyboards are associated to drum instruments. What I care about is Which Pad of my Roland TD-9K (Or other electronic drumset) will be triggered when I plug a MIDI keyboard to it. :) Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 16:17
  • I don't have a TD-9K or other electronic drum set, but I find it hard to believe that Roland would have set up the triggering of sounds in another way than according to the General MIDI. Further I believe it's the sound module rather than the pads that produce the sounds. Each pad will likely just send the MIDI information corresponding to the appropriate key as listed above. I.e. you shouldn't need the pads when connecting a keyboard to the sound module. (But you probably understood that. :-) Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 17:06
  • indeed, definitely understood that :). It will eventually take less room than the usual setup ;). And your assumption regarding Roland's choice makes sense. I'll just have to check now ! Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 17:31

In general, you can program your electronic drum kit and individual drum pads to assign any MIDI note that you want to any drum pad, and also to map or associate any drum sound that you want to any drum pad and to any MIDI note. It is up to you to make these assignments yourself.

If you want to know what MIDI notes and which sounds are assigned to which pads on your MIDI drum device by default when it comes from the factory, then the obvious answer is to read the owner's manual that came with your electronic drums. It will have a chart in the back listing all this.

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