Drum rudiments origins


Sticking Control and the 40 Rudiments


First and foremost is stick control.   Being able to handle the sticks so that they make the patterns and noises you want.  Single and double stroke rolls, ruff, rhumbas and more rolls.  To do this you need to know the Basic Drumming Rudiments.


The First 26
In 1933 a group of drummers in Chicago Illinois formed the National Association of Rudimental Drummers. They originated (13) thirteen basic roll patterns to function as a guide in teaching beginning drummers. They called these rolls 'The Thirteen Essential Rudiments of Drumming'. Later, they designed an additional (13) thirteen rudiments, which brought the total to (26) twenty-six.


The American public school system adopted these 'rudiments' as the teaching standard nationwide for elementary, high school and college drum cores.


In addition the original 26 rudiments years later an additional 14 were added bringing the total to 40 Drum Rudiments.   I break down the 40 rudiments plus a few additional not included the Very Cool Para-triplet VCP and Flam & /or Ruff a Para-Triplet combinations.  It is really a hybrid layering of the rudiment combinations.


I like to think of the rudiments as the alphabet of drumming technique.  By first learning these rudimentary beats and their sticking patterns, you will develop the ability to take those ideas and make up new rhythmic beats and can repeat these patterns in a variety of ways.


The Rudiments and Fills.  Knowing the different rudiments Ruff, Flams, Power Rolls etc. will help you when you go to play a drum-fill.  Being able to execute these figures and use them in the context of a drum-fill, is another important reason to know your rudiments.


I break the 40 rudiments down into Seven (7) Sections. 

One, Basic sticking - accents, the flam, ruff, drag, single & double stroke rolls. 
Two, Double Stroke Rolls 5 – 17.  (rrll or llrr)

Three, The Ratamacue, Double, triple, w/flam etc. 

Four, The Paradiddles (rlrr or lrll) para para, & para para paradiddles, flam, ruff & lesson 25. 

Five, Ruff Stroke Rolls, 4 -10 plus extended rolls and ruffs. ( rrL or llR ) and ( LRLRL OR RLRLR)

Six, Triplet Rolls, Swiss Triplets and Ratamacue (RLR LRL)

Seven, Para Triplets combinations.   (LRL LRL RRL RLL)


Practice by going through each line carefully and slowly following the sticking patterns and always practice both left & right handed versions of the patterns.  Good Luck!


Suggested listening for this section is the Power Snare Beats list in the back of this book. This music use of the snare beat to establish the rhythm of the music.

Next.....sound examples of the 40 Rudiments.

A rudiment is one of a set of basic patterns used in rudimental drumming. These patterns form the basic building blocks or "vocabulary" of drumming, and can be combined in a great variety of ways to create rhythmic patterns drumming music.

There have been many attempts to formalize a standard list of snare drum rudiments. The National Association of Rudimental Drummers (NARD), an organization established to promote rudimental drumming, put forward a list of 13 "essential" rudiments, and later a second set of thirteen to form the original 26. Finally, the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) reorganized the first 26 and added another 14 to form the current 40 International Drum Rudiments.

The origin of snare rudiments can be traced back to Swiss mercenaries armed with long poll arms. The use of long pike in close "hedgehog" or Phalanx formation required a great deal of coordination, and tabor's ability to cut through battlefield noise was used to set the tempo and communicate commands to pikers. Short sustain sound produced by tabor drum allowed to produce easily distinguished patterns which were used to convey different formation commands. These drumming patterns-commands became the basis of the snare drum rudiments.

The first written rudiment goes back to the year 1610 in Basel, Switzerland. The cradle of rudimental drumming is said to be France, where in the 17th/18th century professional drummers became part of the King's honour guard. The craft was perfected during the reign of Napoleon I. The march Le Rigodon and his different interpretations in the 18th century is one of the cornerstones of modern rudimental drumming (among others the "two level"-playing).

The "buzzer-drums", later called "tambours" (French) came originally from Turkey to Europe during the crusades. Later other drums came with the Turkish wars in the 17th century.

The turkish origin of Tabor is highly questionable for following reasons: the Tabor or "tambour" word comes from Latin "drum", the tabor drum was use by Swiss and German mercenaries several centuries earlier, and the crusades were over before Turkish conquest started. There are a number of examples of medieval taborers in buildings of the era, for example Lincoln and Gloucester cathedrals, and Tewkesbury Abbey, which predate Turkish wars by at least several hundred years. The use of Pipe and Tabor was wildly spread in Ireland, Scotland, England, France and on Iberian Peninsula, areas not affected by Turkish wars.

Today there are 3 main Rudimental Drumming cultures: Swiss Basler Trommeln (probably the highest level of all), Scottish Pipe Drumming, and American Drumming.

Rudimental Drumming - Joachim Fuchs-Charrier

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