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3 must-know compositions to start with traditional rudimental drumming

Rudimental drumming comes in many different forms and traditions. It can sometimes be very refreshing to throw yourself into a new style or tradition, to broaden your knowledge and to continue developing yourself. Starting a new style or tradition can also be a bit overwhelming: you don't know where to start. This blog will help you get started with traditional rudimental drumming. The style of The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps and of the Connecticut Patriots, which we previously made a video about. The style of fife and drum corps which are strongly traditionally related to the trommler und pfeifercorps from Switzerland, but definitely not the same. This blog will help you get started with three compositions that are typical for this style. They are certainly not for the beginner drummer. If you already have some chops, but want to try a new style, this blog is for you.



Connecticut Halftime

The Connecticut Halftime snare drum solo is an interesting solo to start with. This solo contains many of the rudiments that are so incredibly characteristic of this style of drumming. Starting with the seven stroke roll at the beginning of each line. Although this seven stroke roll is written as an 8th note and you would expect a five stroke roll, it is traditionally played as a seven stroke roll beginning with the left hand and ending with the right hand.


One supposes that this originated from the Swiss flammed five stroke roll that many compositions begin with. The Americans may have misread this and made it a diddle instead of a flam: resulting in the seven stroke roll. Another special feature of this seven stroke roll is its quantization. If you were to fully quantize the seven stroke roll, the check would be a sixteenth-note triplet, ending exactly back on the downbeat. Traditionally, however, the seven stroke roll is played a fraction beyond the downbeat, giving the entire composition just a little more swing.


Furthermore, you also encounter many drags in the Connecticut Halftime, for example in the drag paradiddle no 2 or the ratamacues. Depending on where a particular fife and drum corps is located in America, these drags are interpreted differently. Some groups play the drag very very tight, as close as possible to the note that follows. Other fife and drum corps play the drag a bit more smoothed out, or slurred, between the two notes.


All the rudiments together give the Connecticut Halftime a traditional cadence. The rudiments together really make music and a kind of swing is created, where you feel an emphasis especially every two beats.


The rudiments together really make music.

This composition is often played at march tempo. As such, it is not the most challenging composition from this list, but it is primarily an exercise to train your endurance. It is a challenge both to keep your diddles and drags consistent, and to keep your mind focused and pay close attention to repetitions, tempo and rhythms.





Crazy Army

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If you're a drummer, chances are you've heard of the traditional snare drum solo Crazy Army. This solo is a classic in the drumming world, known for its groovy feel and creative use of rudiments.


Crazy Army was composed by Ed Lemley, and it was written years after the Connecticut Halftime solo. While the Connecticut Halftime solo places an emphasis on the downbeat, Crazy Army takes a more laid-back approach, with a groove that is sure to get your foot tapping.


One of the standout features of Crazy Army is its use of the Flamacue, a rudiment that involves a nice contrast between the gracenote and accent on the second partial of a sixteenth note pattern. This rudiment is used to great effect in the solo, adding energy and interest to the piece. In addition to the Flamacue, Crazy Army also makes use of several other rudiments in creative and varied ways.


One of the things that sets Crazy Army apart from other snare drum solos is its lack of strict quantification. Rather than following a strict metronome, the solo allows for variations in tempo and accents, giving it a more organic, groovy feel. This freedom to play with tempo and accents is part of what makes Crazy Army such a fun and engaging solo to play.


Rather than following a strict metronome, the solo allows for variations in tempo and accents.

Crazy Army has been performed and recorded by drummers around the world, and it even made an appearance on Steve Gadd's recording of the Legend of the One Eyed Sailor by Chuck Mangione. Whether you're a seasoned veteran or just starting out on your drumming journey, Crazy Army is a solo that is sure to challenge and inspire you. So grab your sticks and get ready to go crazy with Ed Lemley's classic snare drum masterpiece.




The Adventures of Joe 90

If you're becoming a fan of traditional rudimental snare drumming, you'll definitely want to check out The Adventures of Joe 90. This solo, composed by Ross Andrews and Brian Pentony, both members of the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps at the time, was written years after the classic Crazy Army solo.


The Adventures of Joe 90 was written with the goal of improving the quality and performance level of the ensemble. It's a solo that has been performed by drummers and drum groups around the globe, and has become a kind of common language for drummers involved in traditional rudimental drumming. In fact, the owners of our company, Rudimental Drummers, have their roots in this solo - they first tried to play it back in the day, and that's actually where the journey of Rudimental Drummers started.


This solo has become a kind of common language for drummers involved in traditional rudimental drumming.

One of the special features of The Adventures of Joe 90 is its use of visuals and sticktricks to make the snare drumming more attractive. These elements add an extra layer of interest and excitement to the solo, making it not just a treat for the ears, but for the eyes as well. In addition to the snare drumming, the bass drum part also adds a lot of groove to the solo, making it a pleasure to both listen to and watch.


Overall, The Adventures of Joe 90 is a must-play for any drummer interested in traditional rudimental snare drumming. So grab your sticks and get ready to embark on an adventure with Ross Andrews and Brian Pentony's classic solo.






In conclusion, whether you are a beginner or an experienced drummer, the world of traditional rudimental drumming is a vast and endlessly fascinating one, one that will challenge and inspire you for years to come. By diving into the style of The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps, the Connecticut Patriots and many more, you have taken the first step on a journey of musical exploration and enrichment of this new style. The compositions of The Connecticut Halftime, Crazy Army, and The Adventures of Joe 90 are just a small sampling of the incredible variety of rhythms, rudiments and techniques that await you. As you continue to study and practice, you will gain a deeper understanding of the music and its cultural significance, and you will find that you are able to express yourself in new and exciting ways. The beauty of any art form is that it helps you to explore the depths of yourself and the world around you, and traditional rudimental drumming is no exception.

Embrace the journey and enjoy the ride.

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