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Drum rudiments originated from the need to practice and perfect the various drum codes used to signal troops in camp and field duties. At some point, drummers noticed that all military codes shared a small set of basic rhythmic phrases that could be isolated and practiced until they were mastered. Those rhythmic phrases were the drum rudiments. It wasn't until the 19th century that the word "rudiments" became a staple in the world of snare drumming. It was first used by Charles Stewart Ashworth - Drum Major for the United States Marine Band - when referring to a set of lessons in his book the U.S. Marines duty manual A New Useful and Complete System of Drum, published in 1812. With the advent of the drum set in the 20th century, a big portion of the drumming community began perceiving drum rudiments as being relevant to snare drummers only, since they saw no real value in using them around the drum set. It's this set of misguided notions that we'll address with the free drum lessons from this section. You'll not only learn how to play and practice the 40 drum rudiments to achieve a higher level of mastery over your hands, but also learn how to play them around the drum set with creative drum beats and drum fills. Check the free drum lesson on the single stroke roll to get started.
It was the National Association of Rudimental Drummers (N.A.R.D.) that first put together a set of standard drum rudiments in the 1930s. The 13 Essential Drum Rudiments served as a standard system of drumming for judging drum corps and drummers in rudimental competitions in the United States. The double stroke roll (long roll), the five stroke roll, the seven stroke roll, the flam, the flam accent, the flam paradiddle, the flamacue, the drag ruff (ruff), the single drag tap (single drag), the double drag tap (double drag), the double paradiddle, the single ratamacue, and the triple ratamacue were the patterns chosen to take part in the 13 Essential Drum Rudiments.
On December of 1935, N.A.R.D sent out a bulletin to its 246 members with an updated list of drum rudiments - which included the essential rudiments and thirteen new ones – that they wanted to set as the new standard in the world of rudimental drumming. Although the members favored the list, some requested for the triple paradiddle – one of the thirteen new drum rudiments - to be replaced by the single stroke roll. On February of 1936, 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 single paradiddle, the flam tap, the flam paradiddle-diddle, the lesson 25, the dragadiddle #1, the dragadiddle #2, and the double ratamacue joined the 13 Essential Drum Rudiments, giving birth to the 26 Standard American Drum Rudiments.
Swiss drum rudiments like the Swiss army triplet, the pataflafla and the inverted flam tap became very popular around the late 1950s. This proved to be a very important period of the North American rudimental drumming scene. It highly influenced the big revision of the standard and essential drum rudiments that the Percussive Arts Society (P.A.S.) began in 1979. In 1984, fourteen drum rudiments were added to the 26 Standard American Drum Rudiments, giving birth to the P.A.S. 40 International Drum Rudiments. The new additions to the family were 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 single paradiddle-diddle, the triple paradiddle, the single flammed mill, the pataflafla, the Swiss army triplet, the flam drag, the inverted flam tap, and the single dragadiddle. The 40 drum rudiments were spread through five different families of drum rudiments – single stroke, drum roll, paradiddle, flam, and drag families.
The 13 Essential Drum Rudiments were revamped as well. Nine of the drum rudiments were dropped and three new ones were added in. The double stroke roll, the five stroke roll, the flam, and the drag ruff were kept from the original thirteen. The single stroke roll, the multiple bounce roll, and the single paradiddle were the new entries. These 7 drum rudiments are considered essential since they embody the skills that need to be mastered in order to play the remaining 33 drum rudiments.