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In percussion music, a rudiment is one of a number of relatively small patterns which form the foundation for more extended and complex drum patterns. The term "rudiment" in this context means not only "basic", but also fundamental. While any level of drumming may, in some sense, be broken down by analysis into a series of component rudiments, the term "drum rudiment" is most closely associated with various forms of field drumming, also known as rudimental drumming.
Rudimental drumming has something of a flexible definition, even within drumming societies devoted to that form of drumming. For example, the longest running website on rudimental drumming defines it as "the study of coordination," whereas the Percussive Arts Society defines rudimental drumming as a particular method for learning the drums—beginning with rudiments, and gradually building up speed and complexity through practicing those rudiments. (An analogy might be made to learning the piano by first learning scales and arpeggios, as opposed to beginning by learning to play a full piece of music from start to finish.)
- 1 History
- 2 Terminology
- 3 40 P.A.S. International Drum Rudiments
- 4 Historical organization
- 5 Notable contributors
- 6 Hybrid rudiments
- 7 In popular culture
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
The origin of snare drum rudiments can be traced back to Swiss mercenaries armed with long polearms. The use of pikes in close formation required a great deal of coordination. The sound of the tabor was used to set the tempo and communicate commands with distinct drumming patterns. These drumming patterns became the basis of the snare drum rudiments.
The first written rudiment goes back to the year 1612 in Basel, Switzerland. The cradle of rudimental drumming is said to be France, where professional drummers became part of the king's honour guard in the 17th and 18th centuries. The craft was improved during the reign of Napoleon I. Le Rigodon is one of the cornerstones of modern rudimental drumming.
There have been many attempts to formalize a standard list of snare drum rudiments. American rudimental manuals start prescribing rudimental exercises at least as far back as 1810 with David Hazeltine's book. Charles Stewart Ashworth was the first person to label them as "Rudiments" in 1812.  Several more manuals of note were printed between 1812 and 1870, including those by Rumrille and Holton (1817), Bruce and Emmitt (1862), Col. H. C. Hart (1862), and Gardiner Strube (1870). John Phillip Sousa also addressed the topic in 1886 along with Sanford Moeller in 1925. The National Association of Rudimental Drummers, an organization established to promote rudimental drumming, organized a list of 13 essential rudiments, and later a second set of 13 to form the standard NARD 26 in 1933. This was largely based on Strube’s 25 rudiments from 1870, with a single addition. In the 20th century there were several notable variations and extensions of rudimental drumming from teachers like Charles Wilcoxon and Alan Dawson, whose "Rudimental Ritual" was popular at Berkley School of Music in the 1970s. In 1984, the Percussive Arts Society reorganized, and reinterpreted, the NARD 26 and added another 14 to form the current 40 International Snare Drum Rudiments. Currently, the International Association of Traditional Drummers is working to once again promote the 1933 NARD 26 list (1870 Strube list of 25 plus 1) of rudiments.
Today there are four main rudimental drumming cultures: Swiss Basler Trommeln, Scotch Pipe Drumming, Anglo-American Ancient Drumming, and American Modern Drumming (or DCI hybrid drumming). Other organized rudimental cultures include the French, Dutch, German, and Swiss (non-Basel, poorly understood outside of Switzerland) systems. There is occasional mention of a possible distinct historic Spanish culture, though its actual difference from nearby French drumming is not widely discussed.
- Single stroke
- A stroke performs a single percussive note. There are four basic single strokes.
- Double stroke
- A double stroke consists of two single strokes played by the same hand (either RR or LL).
- A diddle is a double stroke played at the current prevailing speed of the piece. For example, if a sixteenth-note passage is being played then any diddles in that passage would consist of sixteenth notes.
- A paradiddle consists of two single strokes followed by a double stroke, i.e., RLRR or LRLL. When multiple paradiddles are played in succession, the first note always alternates between right and left. Therefore, a single paradiddle is often used to switch the "lead hand" in drumming music.
- A drag is a double stroke played at twice the speed of their context in which they are placed. For example, if a sixteenth-note passage is being played then any drags in that passage would consist of thirty-second notes. Drags can also be played as grace notes. When played as grace notes on timpani, the drag becomes three single (alternating) strokes (rlR or lrL).
- A flam consists of two single strokes played by alternating hands (RL or LR). The first stroke is a quieter grace note followed by a louder primary stroke on the opposite hand. The two notes are played almost simultaneously, and are intended to sound like a single, broader note. The temporal distance between the grace note and the primary note can vary depending on the style and context of the piece being played.
- Drum rolls are various techniques employed to produce a sustained, continuous sound.
40 P.A.S. International Drum Rudiments
Rudiments according to the Percussive Arts Society. There may be as many as 1000 distinct rudiments worldwide, but these 40 are the current American standards, referred to as “international” because they mix rudiments traditionally used in Anglo-American drumming with several drawn from the Swiss Basel drumming tradition. They were compiled by a committee led by Jay Wanamaker in 1984.
Single stroke rudiments
The single-stroke roll consists of alternating sticking (i.e., RLRL, etc.) of indeterminate speed and length.
|Single stroke roll||Evenly-spaced notes played with alternating sticking. Though usually played fast, even half notes with alternating sticking would be considered a single stroke roll.|
|Single stroke four||Four notes played with alternating sticking, usually as a triplet followed by an eighth note (as in the picture) or as three grace notes before a downbeat (like a ruff)|
|Single stroke seven||Seven notes played with alternating sticking, usually as sextuplet followed by a quarter note|
Multiple bounce roll rudiments
Double stroke open roll rudiments
There are 10 official variants of the double-stroke roll.
|Double stroke open roll (long roll)||Like the single-stroke roll, usually played fast, but even when played slowly, alternating diddles are considered a double stroke roll. Played so each individual note can be heard distinctly.|
|Five stroke roll||Two diddles followed by an accented note|
|Six stroke roll||Unlike most other double stroke rudiments, the six stroke roll begins with an accented single note. It is followed by two diddles and another accented note.|
|Seven stroke roll||Three diddles followed by an accented note|
|Nine stroke roll||Four diddles followed by an accented note|
|Ten stroke roll||Four diddles followed by two accented notes|
|Eleven stroke roll||Five diddles followed by an accented note|
|Thirteen stroke roll||Six diddles followed by an accented note|
|Fifteen stroke roll||Seven diddles followed by an accented note|
|Seventeen stroke roll||Eight diddles followed by an accented note|
|Flam||Two taps (a grace note followed by a full volume tap) played very close together in order to sound like one slightly longer note. In the Hudson Music DVD Great Hands For a Lifetime, drummer Tommy Igoe describes flams as "the easiest rudiment to play wrong" and goes on to say "...think of the syllable 'lam'. It's one syllable. 'Flam' is still only one syllable, but it's slightly longer." This is a good way for a beginner to conceptualize a "correct" flam.|
|Flam accent||Alternating groups of three notes of the form [flam – tap – tap]|
|Flam tap||Alternating diddles with flams on the first note of each diddle|
|Flamacue||A group of four notes and an ending downbeat, where the first note and the down beat are flammed, and the second note is accented|
|Flam Paradiddle||A paradiddle with a flam on the first note. Also known as a "flamadiddle".|
|Single flammed mill||An inverted paradiddle (RRLR, LLRL) with a flam on the first note of each diddle|
|Flam paradiddle-diddle||Alternating paradiddle-diddles with flams on the first note of each|
|Pataflafla||A four-note pattern with flams on the first and last notes|
|Swiss Army triplet||A right hand flam followed by a right tap and a left tap, or (using a left hand lead) a left hand flam followed by a left tap and a right tap. It is often used in the place of a flam accent, since repeated flam accents will have three taps on the same hand in a row, where repeated Swiss army triplets only involve two taps on the same hand.|
|Inverted flam tap||Alternating diddles (offset by one sixteenth note) with a flam on the second note of each diddle. Also known as a "tap flam".|
|Flam drag||Alternating groups of three notes of the form [flam – drag – tap]|
|Drag (half drag or ruff)||Two diddled grace notes before a tap, which is usually accented|
|Single drag tap (single drag)||Two alternating notes where the first note has drag grace notes and the second is accented|
|Double drag tap (double drag)||A single drag tap with another grace note drag before it|
|Lesson 25 (two and three)||A lesson 25 is three alternating notes where the first note has drag grace notes and the third is accented|
|Single dragadiddle||A paradiddle where the first note is a drag|
|Drag paradiddle No. 1||The first drag paradiddle is an accented note followed by a paradiddle with drag grace notes on the first note.|
|Drag paradiddle No. 2||The second drag paradiddle is two accented notes followed by a paradiddle, with drag grace notes on the second accented note and the first note of the paradiddle.|
|Single ratamacue||Four notes where the first note has drag grace notes and the fourth is accented|
|Double ratamacue||A single ratamacue with a drag before it|
|Triple ratamacue||A single ratamacue with two drags before it|
(NARD Standard 26 American Drum Rudiments of 1933)
Thirteen "essential" rudiments
- The double stroke open roll
- The five stroke roll
- The seven stroke roll
- The flam
- The flam accent
- The flam paradiddle
- The flamacue
- The drag (half drag or ruff)
- The single drag tap
- The double drag tap
- The double paradiddle
- The single ratamacue
- The triple ratamacue
Second thirteen rudiments
- The single stroke roll
- The nine stroke roll
- The ten stroke roll
- The eleven stroke roll
- The thirteen stroke roll
- The fifteen stroke roll
- The flam tap
- The single paradiddle
- The drag paradiddle No. 1
- The drag paradiddle No. 2
- The flam paradiddle-diddle
- The lesson 25
- The double ratamacue
Last fourteen rudiments
In 1984, the Percussive Arts Society added 14 more rudiments to extend the list to the current 40 International Snare Drum Rudiments. The ordering was completely changed during this last re-organization.
- The single stroke four
- The single stroke seven
- The multiple bounce roll
- The triple stroke roll
- The six stroke roll
- The seventeen stroke roll
- The triple paradiddle
- The single paradiddle-diddle
- The single flammed mill
- The pataflafla
- The Swiss Army triplet
- The inverted flam tap
- The flam drag
- The single dragadiddle
This section needs additional citations for verification. (July 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- John S. Pratt: author, composer, arranger, former U.S. Military Academy instructor, founder of the International Association of Traditional Drummers (IATD)
- Charley Wilcoxon: instructor, author, and teacher
- Dante Agostini, French instructor, author and teacher
- Dr. Fritz R. Berger, inventor of the Berger-Notation, Basel, Switzerland
- J. Burns Moore: instructor, author, and teacher
- Sanford A. Moeller: rudimental champion, author, teacher, drum builder
- George Lawrence Stone: instructor, author, and teacher
- Earl Sturtze: instructor, author, and teacher
- Les Parks: instructor and arranger, Sons of Liberty Fife and Drum Corps, Hawthorne Cabaleros, Garfield Cadets
- Fred Sanford: instructor and arranger, Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps
- Ralph Hardimon: instructor and arranger, Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps
- Marty Hurley: instructor and arranger, Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps during the 1970s and early '80s
- Paul Rennick: instructor and arranger, Phantom Regiment Drum and Bugle Corps: 2003–2010, Santa Clara Vanguard 2011–present
- Scott Johnson: instructor and arranger, Santa Clara Vanguard 1990-1993, Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps 1994–present
- Peter Sapadin: instructor and teacher, Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps
- Grant Caldwell: instructor and arranger, Carrollton High School and Blue Knighs Drum and Bugle Corps
- James Campbell: instructor and arranger, The Cavaliers Drum and Bugle Corps
- Dennis DeLucia: instructor and arranger, Bridgemen Drum and Bugle Corps
- Chris Romanowski: instructor and arranger, Atlanta CV Drum and Bugle Corps
- Thom Hannum: instructor and arranger, Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps
- Charley Poole, Jr. instructor and arranger, 27th Lancers Drum and Bugle Corps
- Frank Arsenault: contributor to the selection of the standard 26 rudiments, and a nationwide American teacher known for his official recording of The 26 Standard American Drum Rudiments and Selected Solos
- William F. Ludwig: organizer of and contributor to the selection of the standard 26 rudiments, owner of Ludwig Drum Company
Over the years, many other rudimental patterns have been informally identified and given creative names, although most of these are based upon the original 40. They are commonly known as "hybrid rudiments" or "hybrids," and are especially common in drumlines and drum corps. A few notable examples are the "Herta" which is a drag played with alternating sticking (famous examples include the chorus fills by Dave Grohl in "No One Knows" by Queens Of The Stone Age, or the intro by Carter Beauford in "Drive In Drive Out" by The Dave Matthews Band), the "cheese", a diddle with a grace note, and the "eggbeater", a five-tuplet with the sticking "rrrll"; these hybrids have themselves given way to more innovative and arguably more difficult hybrids; the "cheese invert" (an inverted flam tap with cheeses instead of flams) and the "diddle-egg-five" (a paradiddle-diddle followed by an eggbeater and two diddles, one on each hand). Other notable hybrid rudiments with interesting names include: "book reports", "ninjas", and "flam dragons", formerly known as "double flam drags". Hybrid rudiments are becoming increasingly important to a marching percussionist's rudimentary vocabulary.  The Drum Rudiment Bible written by D. Mark Agostinelli contains 500 drum rudiments, including a large collection of hybrid rudiments. Encyclopedia Rudimentia, written by Ryan Alexander Bloom, is also a large resource, containing over 850 total rudiments and roughly 550 hybrid rudiments.
In popular culture
A snare-cowbell paradiddle is featured on Skid Row's song "Monkey Business" (at the 2:55 mark). Aerosmith's "Walk this Way" features ride cymbal bell fills that are reminiscent of paradiddles. Buddy Holly's hit "Peggy Sue" features paradiddles all the way through. The dance in "Gangnam Style" is a paradiddle. The song "Vasoline" performed by drummer Eric Kretz of Stone Temple Pilots is another example of a song's drum groove that is strongly based from a single paradiddle. Paradiddles can and are often utilized in drum fills just as with drum grooves. An example of this can be found in Dire Strait's song "Sultans of Swing", around the three quarter mark of the song's completion. Pop singer Meghan Trainor makes reference to different rudiments in the lyrics to her song "Bang Dem Sticks" such as paradiddles, triplets and double strokes. The rudiment flam accent is featured in the blast beat known as the "Dirk Blast" and pops up in many songs played by drummer Dirk Verbeuren of Soilwork and Megadeth fame. 
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- Bloom, Ryan Alexander. Encyclopedia Rudimentia. Hudson Music, 2019.
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- The Company of Fifers & Drummers
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- German Site for Drum Rudiments- Videos included.