What’s the drum notation symbol that I’ve circled in the attached image? one bar of drum kit notation

5 Answers 5


Drum notation seems fairly whimsical. Certainly the 'X' means a cymbal of some sort. The notation I use, which is not universal (there probably isn't such a thing!) is hi-hat (stick) where a G note is above the stave; ride cymbal where A is (above), and crash where B is above that. Obviously all treble clef.

The closest I can get is cross stick, but that's 'X' on the D line.

The 'o' and '+' indicate open and closed hi-hat respectively, so logic says that the 'X' in the E space must be hi-hat in this incarnation.

It seems that everyone has their own drum notation - some don't even use a stave - but with a bit of intuition they're all playable - with guesswork thrown in...

Other references - bass drum is generally in F space at the bottom, and the snare on middle B line, although here, it's probably the dot on the C space. For me, the spaces are all for toms, which makes it an easy read.

  • Thx. I’m personally not a drummer myself. I was just transcribing the above drum pattern and the specific drum beat that I mentioned wasn’t on any chart that I saw when I first tried to find it. The closest I found was the snare. I did see it here - encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/… to be honest but I think I got confused because of the + and O above the chart. Sep 29, 2018 at 7:23

That looks like an open hat to me

  • 2
    I agree. It looks like the hi-hat is noted in the top space, with "+" for closed and "o" for open.
    – Tom Serb
    Mar 1, 2019 at 16:53

Looks like a cymbal note to me. That's the cymbal note notation I see in Musescore. Perhaps the clearest tell that the X-headed note is for cymbals is the word "splash" (for splash cymbal) just before one such note.


That's a rim shot on the first tom. I'm a drummer I do drum set and marching band snare.

  • How could the "o" or "+" symbols apply to a rimshot? These are usually used for open and close on a hi-hat. Jul 17, 2022 at 4:40

Very late answer, but I have seen this before in some basic rock exercises and it meant to hit the stick on the rim of the high tom.

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