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Updated: May 3, 2023

This blog post will show you how to read and write multiple endings in drum sheets, drum scores or drum transcriptions. This is very convenient to save up lots of space while writing music and gets used quite often.


Multiple endings are a musical notation used to indicate different endings to a section of music. They are denoted by bracketed numbers above the music staff, with each number corresponding to a different ending.

In this example, the section of the music has two different endings, labeled "1" and "2." That means you play through the section of music twice, playing ending 1 the first time and ending 2 the second time.

first and second ending

As you can see, this saves you lots of space. Without the use of multiple endings, the section would look like this:

first and second ending (written out)


In theory, you can add an endless amount of different endings to a section of music. You can also make the alternate endings longer than a single bar by putting more music in the brackets. Check out the following example, it should be pretty self explanatory:

multiple endings 1

It's also allowed to play an ending multiple times, this is indicated by the number in the brackets. In this case, the first bracket gets played three times and the second bracket gets played the fourth time. This automatically means that the section of music is repeated four times total:

multiple endings 2


Here's a little exercise for you. What would be the shortest possible way to write down the following sixteen bars of music?

multiple endings demonstration

The most obvious solution would probably the following, easy to read and only half as long:

multiple endings solution 1

But we can make it even shorter by using multiple endings. Check it out:

multiple endings solution 2

Is it really short? Yes. Is it still easy to read? Well, depends. Some writers use stuff like this more commonly, other writers try to avoid the more complex possibilities of multiple endings when writing drum scores.

PRO Drumsheets strives for the best compromise between saving space and readability. That means we probably won't use complex multiple endings like the last example in our drum sheets. However, there's nothing wrong with having the ability to read and write multiple endings as a musician.

Feel free to comment if you have further questions. PRO Drumsheets also offers some FREE Stuff so you can see how multiple endings are used in actual drum scores.

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