Drum Rudiments





Drum rudiments are the foundation of every fill, pattern or beat you play in your drumming.

Rudiments were often named after their sound, which accounts for some of the unique names. There are 40 rudiments broadly categorized as Single Stroke, Drum Roll, Flam-based, paradiddle and drag based rudiments. They’re the standard basic rhythmic patterns found in Western music.

Origin Of The Rudiment

Charles Stewart Ashworth first defined rudiment¬† as a group of drum patterns and established himself as the “Father Of Rudimental Drumming”. In 1812, he published his drumming manual, “A New, Useful and Complete System of Drum-Beating.”After the turn of the century, Sanford (Gus) Moeller’s book, “The Moeller Book,” published by The Ludwig Drum Company in 1918, led to a spark of¬† interest in rudimental drumming.

Drums In The Military

Rudiments have a history tied directly to use of the snare drum in the military. The Swiss were the first to chronicle the use of drums to signal troops in battle. In the early 15th century, many elite Swiss fighting forces were employed throughout Western Europe as mercenaries. This practice was quickly adopted for use in other European countries.

Baron Friedrich von Stuben, working for the Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1778, wrote “Regulations” which specified drum signals for the Revolutionary Troops. In 1869,”Strube Drum and Fife Instructor.” was published by the National Guard of the New England States.

John Philip Sousa, Director of the U.S. Marine Band, wrote a manual of instruction called “A Book of Instruction for the Field-Trumpet and Drum” in 1880’s. As a result, the book soon became a guide for military drummers in all branches of the armed services and had also a wide civic distribution having contained a collection of drum rudiments.

Drums In Competitions

The American Legion began organizing national contests for the Drum and Bugle Corps, but these competitions are complicated  because of the differences in rudiments published over the past century.

Thus, the most influential drum instructors from across the country came together at the American Legion National Convention in Chicago and created a set of 26 rudiments, spearheaded by the American Legion and the Ludwig Drum Company. Hence, it led to the creation of the organization NARD (National Association of Rudimental Drummers) in 1932.

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