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Flam Tap Warm-up

Flam tap is one of my favorite rudiments, I often use it to end a phrase or for transitions.
This Flam Tap warm-up is based on this rudiment and applies it to grouping. I use sixteenth notes, grouped in sequence by 2, 3, 5, 7, and then back to 2.

This exercise is very useful to get acquainted with odd groupings in even subdivisions and helps to hear and recognize small odd rhythmic cells.

Here are the exercise and the full score:

Did you like this post?

Then make sure to check this one out >>>

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How to practice POLYRHYTHMS

In this article, you’ll learn what polyrhythms are and how you can effectively practice them. You will learn how to get an overlaid rhythm with a step-by-step system that will teach you how to handle the main subdivisions.

The word polyrhythm indicates the simultaneous use of two or more rhythms not perceived as deriving from one another.

Yes, because it is possible to overlay different rhythms at the same time and switch from one to the other without losing the grounding to the original one.

In order to obtain a polyrhythm, two factors have to interact: subdivision and grouping. When applying a different grouping to a certain subdivision, a new pulse comes out. If played alone, that pulse sounds independent, but actually, it maintains a strong relation to the core rhythm.

In the next video, I explain how to get an overlaid rhythm. The system is pretty simple but requires good practice in order to be mastered.

Check it out:

Now that we know how to get an overlaid rhythm, we can build a practice routine. To do this, we go to our best friend: the practice pad! It’s a perfect way to get acquainted with a new challenge.

In the video below, I merged two topics. Since we need to choose 1 grouping and with that go through different subdivisions, I decided to use groups of 4 and to play them with a paradiddle sticking. Of course, you can choose every combination you like the most. Personally, I recommend picking one from ex. 1 to 8 from the almighty Stick Control.

The next step was choosing the subdivisions. I chose 16th notes, quintuplets, sextuplets, and septuplets.

This exercise has the following form:

  • 1 bar 16th notes with single strokes
  • 2 bars of the same with paradiddle sticking
  • 1 bar quintuplets with single strokes
  • 2 bars of the same with paradiddle sticking
  • 1 bar sextuplets with single strokes
  • 2 bars of the same with paradiddle sticking
  • 1 bar septuplets with single strokes
  • 2 bars of the same with paradiddle sticking

This is the result:

Now that you know how to proceed, you’re free to explore further with other subdivisions.

Keep up the good work and hit me up for feedback or questions.




The Beginner’s Guide to Journaling

In this beginner’s guide you’ll find everything you need to learn to start journaling. Tips, names and hacks for your first journal.

Oscar Wilde, Queen Victoria, Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Victoria Woolf, Franz Kafka, Marcus Aurelius, Eugène Delacroix, Winston Churchill, Leonardo Da Vinci, Ludwig van Beethoven, Ernest Hemingway. What do these amazing people have in common? Not only the talent and the beauty they donated to the world but a simple habit.

Journaling. Yes, that’s right. All of these people would spend time writing down ideas, thoughts, reflections, in some cases multiple times a day.

In this article, you’ll learn what journaling is and how you could use it to improve your life.

I. Journaling in History

The word journal comes from the late Middle English, which in turn comes from the Old French jurnal, from late Latin diurnalis: belonging to the day.
The primordial use of a journal was in fact recording daily activities or data, which otherwise were hard to be tracked or memorized.
As time went by, not only activities and data were recorded, but also thoughts, ideas, and reflections.
Charles Darwin started his journal at the age of 29. The first thing he did was writing down everything he could remember about his life up to that point.
Thomas Edison recorded details about his everyday life, also some who might look insignificant (buying candies in a candy shop for instance). At the same time, he used to record and brainstorm his ideas.
Mark Twain had a section in his journal where he would write down dirty jokes.
Beethoven wrote everything he wished he would have said in a previous conversation. He always carried the journal with him, even when out drinking. Just in case he would be hit by a good idea, he would toss it down with a few words in order to be able to work on it later.
Benjamin Franklin used his journal to keep track of his progress.
Marcus Aurelius would start the day with a reflection in order to depict how his day would look like.
Seneca would journal in the evening, reflecting on how the day went and what could have gone better.

II. How to use journaling as a beginner

As you see, there are tons of different uses you could make, but all of them points out to the same direction: clarity.
By writing down what is going on in your head, you verbalize it and give it shape. The thoughts are then clear and visible, and the cloud of (destructive) feelings that thoughts bring with them finally vanishes.
As reported from The Daily Stoic, Eugène Delacroix described this really explicitly:

“My mind is continually occupied in useless scheming…They burn me up and lay my mind to waste. The enemy is within my gates.”

And again:

“I am taking up my Journal again after a long break. I think it may be a way of calming this nervous excitement that has been worrying me for so long.”

 Most of the people are intimidated by keeping a journal for several reasons. Some think that it shows weakness, in the context of a society that wants you always strong and with no flaws. The truth has never been so far from reality. Everyone, even the coolest or toughest person on earth has his or her moments of weakness, trouble, fear and uncertainty. Simply because it’s part of being human.

The biggest benefit you would gain by starting journaling would be becoming aware of what your hidden side looks like. It might look like opening Pandora’s box, that’s true. But truth is, that Pandora’s box is open anyway, and each one of us finds his or her way to cope with it. It could be sporting, using drugs, or alcohol. It could be being violent and aggressive. It could be looking for distractions to keep your mind busy.

Or it could be facing the problem by analyzing it as closely as possible.

As I said before, by writing down thoughts and emotions they become tangible. This process can be painful in some cases, but the good news is that it gets better as time goes by. Why? Because you experience that 99% of what has been torturing you actually…doesn’t exist. Or that the fears or feelings you feared can be broken down in a way that makes them easier to be assimilated.

John Dewey explains it way better than me:

“We don’t learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience”

By constantly recording the recurring thoughts you have, your mind makes a clear distinction between what is real and what is just projection, anticipation.

 Some people are intimidated because keeping a journal might look like a heavy task to carry on. So far, we know that there are several reasons to keep a journal. Furthermore, there are several techniques and tips to do it.

III. How do you start journaling?

As for everything else: start small.
Why should you think of journaling as filling dozens of white pages? You can begin with 1 line per day, where you jot down what hit you or what you have to do.
You could keep track of something, be it your workouts, your diet, the books you read.
You could review the day, reporting what happened, what you did, and what you could have done differently.
You could set a timer. For instance, 5 minutes a day. No matters what, you have five minutes to journal.
As a variation, you could set a timer and write down your stream of consciousness. Just write down everything through your head. Don’t care about the mistakes of any kind. No one but you will be reading this.
You could write down 3 things you’re grateful for. You could never imagine how powerful a gratitude journal can be.

IV. How often should you update your journal?

An important part of creating a new habit is of course consistency. By doing something more and more you optimize the process and optimize the results. It’s true for journaling as well, but it’s not engraved in stone. You can also sit down and write once in a couple of days, or once a week if you want to be more structured.

Truth is that a journal is a tool, and everyone uses it in his or her best possible way. Just experiment and find yours.

V. What to use

Here as well, there’s no given rule for what you should be using. A white piece of paper? An old notebook? Why not digital?

Here are some ideas, a starting point. Just experiment and find which one works best for you.







The 5 minutes Journal app

Bullet Journal

Journaling beginner’s guide. Conclusions

Journaling is one of the most powerful tools we can use to clear our minds, enhancing our health and our productivity. A lot of illuminated minds had this habit and used it in several ways.

Getting started is easier than you think. Get rid of the idea that you should be filling dozens of pages. Everything can be adjusted to your own needs and goals.
No one else but you will read it, so be gentle with yourself and don’t care too much about mistakes, grammar, or form. If you really care for it, it will get better anyway.

If you liked what you read, check out this article!



Gardiner Strube, Drum and Fife instructor
Gardiner Strube, Drum and Fife instructor

National Association of Rudimental Drummers

With my article “A brief history of the Drum in Europe” we covered more or less 8000 years of history of our instrument from 6000 BC to the XXth century. With this article, we step into our “modern” history. Let’s see what it’s all about.

National Association of Rudimental Drummers - N.A.R.D.

A bit of a frame

One cool thing about culture is that it travels unnoticed adapting itself to a new environment. That’s what happened with the Drum tradition, going from the British Isles to America.

In 1778, three years after the beginning of the War of Independence, Baron Friedrich von Steuben published “Regulations for the Order and Discipline for the troops of the United States”. This came as a direct amendment of President George Washington, in order to regulate and train the revolutionary troops. This work is one of the first containing a list of rudiments and military drum calls in America.

16 January 1812 Charles Ashworth publishes “A new useful and complete system of Drum Beating”, a collection of all rudiments, drum calls, and camp duties in use by the US navy. Here is to find a list of 28 rudiments with several common traits with the “modern” rudiments, as for example starting with the left hand.

Did you know?

This is the first time that the word rudiments appears on a book. On page 3 Ashworth writes: “Rudiments for drum beating in general”

In 1862 George B. Bruce and Daniel D. Emmet publish “The Drummers’ and Fifers’ guide” and seven years later in 1869, Gardiner Strube writes “Drum and Fife instructor” on behalf of the National Guard of the States of New England.

A common trait of these works was the tendency to standardize the number and style of the rudiments. In chronological order, several drummers made their contribution: in 1886 John Philip Sousa writes “The trumpet and drums” and in1925 Sanford Moeller releases “The Moeller Book: the Art of Snare drumming”.


In order to see this question solved, we need to wait until 1933, when 13 drummers gathered and gave birth to the National Association of Rudimental Drummers.


In 1932 thirteen well known teachers, composers and performers met during the American Legion National Convention. William F. Ludwig, one of the founders said about the meeting:

«We talked and played the rudiments six hours well into the morning. But we felt that we had saved the drum rudiments by adopting a practical set of rudiments without deviation from any of the then recognized and established methods. »

They were concerned that the style of rudimental drumming – as they learned it from Civil War
veterans – was slowly getting lost.
The members recognized Strube’s work as a valid starting point. They worked it out, adding the
long roll and get to a list of 26 rudiments.
The first 13 rudiments are called “essentials” and the second 13 “auxiliary”. Together they form
the 26 American Standard Rudiments.

Here’s the list of the 26 rudiments:

National Association of Rudimental Drummers: the original founders

HARRY THOMPSON – Prominent Chicago drummer, instructor, arranger and composer of special drum corps music.

GEORGE A. ROBINSON – Prominent theater drummer, instructor and composer.

BILL FLOWERS – Expert in rudimental instruction. Winner of national and state rudimental contests.

BILL KIEFFER – Drummer with the U.S. Marine Band and judge in both the National Legion Individual Drumming and Drum Corps contests held in Chicago.

BILL HAMMOND – Pittsburgh, PA. Snare drummer of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Expert rudimental instructor for all types of drummers — dance, theater, grand opera and symphony.

JOE HATHAWAY – Corps instructor and winner of American legion 1932 Championship in individual drumming.

LARRY STONE – Instructor, teacher and composer of many instruction books. Snare drummer of

Boston Opera Co. and Boston Symphony Orchestra.

ROY KNAPP – Studio drummer of Radio Station WLS and prominent Chicago drum instructor.

WM F. LUDWIG – Former snare drummer of Chicago Grand Opera Co. and Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Renowned drum manufacturer/proprietor – Ludwig & Ludwig (est. 1910), W.F.L. Drum Company (est. 1937), Ludwig Drum Company (est. 1955).

HEINE GERLACH – Four times National Champion Drummer of American Legion Contest.

BURNS MOORE – Timpanist of New Haven, Connecticut Symphony Orchestra. Prominent as a drum instructor throughout the New England States. Drum judge and corps instructor.

BILLY MILLER – Prominent theater drummer of Chicago, drum teacher and composer of drum corps marches.

ED STRAIGHT – Chicago’s most popular theater drummer and composer of many instruction books.



Officially NARD was disbanded on December 31, 1977, but the legacy and the passion written in the hearts of the members and the passionate drummers kept the flame burning.

On December 31, 2008 (75 years after the foundation!) something incredible happened:


«It is with great pleasure that we, the surviving members of N.A.R.D., reactivate the National Association of Rudimental Drummers for all to enjoy and play a role in maintaining the history & integrity of the Art of Rudimental Drumming. »


Today it’s still possible to become a NARD member. You can find conditions and instructions at



Percussive Arts Society is on its way with a list of 40 rudiments. There will be discussions about the names of the rudiments, the list will be changed.

What hit me and filled me with admiration for him, was a paradigm shift brought by Mr. John Pratt:

"« Drum rudiments are exercises. The rudiments of drumming are Strokes! »


Thanks for reading my article, if you found it useful or would like to send tips, please get in contact!

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Freddie Hubbard transposed on Drums!

Freddie Hubbard is one of my favorite trumpet players. I love his sound and the way he builds phrases. He’s can play long notes carrying you somewhere else or can hit you like a shotgun would with lots of notes always perfectly paced and quantized

I transcribed and transposed on drums the trumpet solo of the tune Asiatic Raes, from the album Goin’ up.

His approach in the solo is rhythmic with a reiterated start on the offbeat. Very inspiring.

I started transcribing other instrumentalists’ solos in order to get another approach on drums and improvisation. By transposing on drums a phrase conceived with another instrument – thus another mechanic – we are forced to search for creative solutions.
At the same time, it makes us think as a melodic instrument. As a consequence, the drumset becomes a percussive instrument with a low and high register, as we go from the bass drum to the cymbals.

In this video I focused on the time feeling, trying to emulate Hubbard’s phrasing.

Check it out: 

Here is the transcription from min. 00:38 

Asiatic Raes – Drums transcription

Seymour reads the constitution, Brad Mehldau trio
Seymour reads the constitution, Brad Mehldau trio

3 lessons from Brad Mehldau

Who says that drummers should only learn from drummers? Checking out the masters is very important, of course, but there’s a bunch of stuff we can learn from other instrumentalists. As the great Max Roach used to say, form in improvisation is crucial, as well as motivic development. The drumset doesn’t have a definite pitch, but still, we can give the idea of a melody by going from the lower sounds (bass drum) to the highest (hi hat) with everything in between. This opens up a whole new world, for we start thinking melodic.

Here are 3 lessons I learned from Brad Mehldau.


What does Motivic Development mean?

As Josh Gottry in his Motivic Development Handout explains:

 A motive is the smallest recognizable musical idea
Repetition of motives is what lends coherence to a melody                                                                                – A figure is not considered to be motivic unless it is repeated in some way.
– A motive can feature rhythmic elements and/or pitch or interval elements
– Any of the characteristic features of a motive can be varied in its repetitions (including pitch and                rhythm).

Once we have a motive, we can generate melodic material by using several techniques:

  • Repetition: the motive is played again at the same pitch level.
  • Transposition: the motive is played again at a different pitch level. This can be:
    • Exact: intervals retain the same quality and size
    • Tonal (diatonic): intervals retain the same quality but not the same size. This varies according to the tonality.
    • Sequence: transposition by the same distance several times in a row. This can be:
      • Exact
      • Tonal
      • Modified
      • Modulating
  • Fragmentation: utilizing one portion of the motive to generate new melodic material.
  • Augmentation: the motive is played with longer rhythmic values.
  • Diminution: the motive is played with shorter rhythmic values.
  • Inversion: the directions of the intervals (of the motive) are reversed.
  • Retrograde: the motive is played backwards.
  • Extension: Repetition of parts of the motive with small changes to make it longer.


By using these techniques, we can potentially create infinite material.

Now you would be asking: “yes, but why should we know this as drummers? Why is this important for us?”

The answer to this question is to hear in every solo of Max Roach, or Jeff Hamilton, or Ari Hoenig, just to mention a few. For all these masters, a drum solo is based on the transformation of a melodic fragment played on the drums and further developed. The (infinite) drum technique that they have serves them to work that way. It’s never the other way around. Personally, I believe this is the trademark that distinguishes the master from the professional.

And if we need to learn to play melodically, why don’t we learn directly from who always plays melodically? If you think about it, other instrumentalists play rhythmic patterns as well as we do, but with a pitch.

My approach to listening changed completely, as much as my drumming did. By experiencing music in this way – even more when playing live – we get a deeper contact with the other musicians, we synchronize on the same frequency, or maybe the same pitch 🙂

Transcribing solos from other instrumentalists forces us to face challenges on our instrument that wouldn’t show up otherwise. The mechanic behind a saxophone solo is completely different from ours. The time feeling is different from what we’re used to. Usually, we can’t drag or lay back or push. A piano player could. We play our instrument with four limbs and that means orchestrating, for we have several timbres available. The trumpet doesn’t.

I analyzed one of my favorite tunes of my hero Brad Mehldau with Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballard: Seymour reads the constitution.

The self-titled album was released in 2018 by Nonesuch Records. If you didn’t do it yet, go check it out!! (Click on the image for Spotify link)

Seymour reads the constitution, Brad Mehldau trio

In this video I transcribed Brad’s solo from min. 2:57 to 3:57 and orchestrated it on 4 drum pads. As the solo goes on, you’ll be able to see the various techniques described at the beginning of this article.



You don’t need to show off everything you have. A lot of notes can impress a beginner and that only for a short time. If not contextualized, people will have quickly enough. Brad starts with 3 notes. He elaborates them and plays with all the elements he has available. The listener wants more and eventually, he gives them more.


How does a dialogue go? You begin with one sentence, usually short. Then comes the answer. From that answer comes a new question. You add more details and get more specific, as your sentences get longer. Again, an answer comes. And so on and so forth.

When you use this in music, you become understandable even if you play complicated harmonies or melodies.


Music is not the notes, but the silence in between.

So stated Mozart. I would trust him.

We always feel the need to fill every single space given with mindless notes. Often, we even force that space. If you think about it, how tough is that? Once more the example of a dialogue: what would you think of someone who keeps talking and not listening to what you say? You didn’t even finish your question and the other person starts talking about something completely different.

Check out the music sheet and count the rests Brad plays. This has a key role in the building up of the solo.

Take the time and give music the time. More contextualized and pertinent ideas will generate from this.


Thanks for reading this article, I hope it can inspire you to think out of the box and shift your approach. I’ll come back with more articles about improvisation, but for now…let’s enjoy this one!

About Birthdays, Time and Drumming

35 years. Wow, that’s something. You can recall something happened 25 years ago, and 25 years is already a lot.
1826 weeks and 3 days ago I came to life. I’ll think about this when I see a fully packed week ahead of me.
12785 days ago I started this journey. It’s funny, this doesn’t seem like much to me. Maybe because we tend to live each day thinking about the next one. How many days can I recall of these 12785? How many days did I really “live”?
306840 hours. Ok, this sounds like a lot, but still, it’s hours we’re talking about. Is it really so heavy to wait for one more hour when you need to do something? How many hours have I spent doing what I really love?
18,410,400 minutes. How many minutes have I wasted worrying, being mad, trying to control what’s out of my reach? How many have I spent loving and making people around me happy? In the end, this is the only thing that will stay after we’re gone.
1,104,624,000 seconds. How many seconds did I use to make good decisions? How many seconds did it take to tell kind words to people around me? And how many seconds to tell kind words to me?
Time was here before me, time will be hereafter me. I used to be terrified of time, and sometimes I still am. How do you see life:
“Today is one day more” or “Today is one day less”?
Maybe that’s what drives me in playing drums. By subdividing and directing time, I have the feeling that I can control it. And maybe I really do. As far as I am allowed, I do my best to create something beautiful with that time.
Live, love and spread the beauty.
"How many seconds did I use to make good decisions? How many seconds did it take to tell kind words to people around me? And how many seconds to tell kind words to me?"

Schilling, prayer for the bernese, battle of laupen

A brief history of the Drum in Europe

In the collective imagination, everyone knows how a snare drum looks like. My curiosity led me to find out how we got here, getting to know more about the repertoire and the use of this surprising instrument. Through my research, I’ll cover a timeline going from prehistory to the XX century. I decided to keep it limited to Europe, as I will make a dedicated post about American history.

Are you curious about when the whole drumset was invented? Don’t miss this article!

Let our trip begin!

A Drum's history

Listed in the family of membranophones, the drum is one of the first musical artifacts in human history. Archeological finds date it back to 6000 BC in areas of today’s China. Its function was linked to non-vocal communication, with an important role in religious contexts. The first specimens of metal drums date back to the Bronze Age and were found in the area of today’s Vietnam. The Dong Son drums (expression of the homonymous culture that flourished in the 3rd century BC) testify a very high level of craftsmanship. The Ngoc-Lu drum, found in 1893, reveals a tympanum with three concentric panels decorated with pictures of animals and humans who appear to be performing a ritual.

The first contact with Europe comes through Greece, where the instrument known as Danbara in the ancient Persia, was imported with the name of tympanon. It will be known in the Roman culture as tympanum. Arab culture was among the first to use drums in the military field, with specialized departments who would give orders through predetermined patterns.

With this new role, the drum enters once more in Europe during the Middle Ages, when the Arab invade and conquer Spain in the VIII century AC. The Cantigas de Santa Maria, a collection of Spanish monophonic songs commissioned by king Alfonso X of Castile, shows miniatures depicting, among other musicians, two Pipe and Tabor players.

The first years of the Early Middle Ages mark the coming of an important figure, the Pipe and Tabor player. He would play a three-hole flute with one hand, and a drum with the other. Lincoln Cathedral offers one of the first sculptures of these performers.

Descendants of Pipe and Tabor are the Fife and Drums, shown for the first time on the Basel city chronicles, in 1332. The difference is given by the Fife, which is a six-hole transverse flute made of metal. In the 14th century the Old Swiss Confederacy was fighting for independence from the Habsburg empire. The Battle of Laupen (21 June 1339) is the very first certified use of Fife and Drums as specialized corps in the Swiss army. Their duty was to set the marching time as well as to communicate tactical placements through predetermined rhythmic codes.

Given the great effectiveness of the war tactics, other kingdoms started hiring swiss mercenaries. In order to transfer knowledge and repertoire, all known rudiments were collected and notated, including the results of the meeting of two different drum cultures.

Over time, the repertoire gradually lost its military significance becoming a popular custom. Erasmus of Rotterdam wrote to his friend Valerius on September 26, 1529:

“In Basel the drums are heard not only in war but at weddings and on holidays too, indeed even in the churches, and the children run in the streets and the young brides dance to their sound”.

The importance of the drums in Basel’s culture is confirmed from the tradition of the Fasnacht, Basel’s three days carnival that takes place the Monday after Ash Wednesday.

Orchesographie – Methode et Theorie

In 1589 Thoinot Arbeau writes an essay in the form of a dialogue between pupil and teacher, where he explains how and what a drummer should play and how a dancer should dance. For the drummer, he indicates rhythmic figures and main strokes, for the dancer steps and movements. It’s the first time that we see an accurate transcription of a drum part. In addition to the notation, Arbeau adds also syllables tan indicates 1 stroke, tere 2 strokes, fre 4 strokes.

Bradley Spinney in his work Instruments and Drumming, made a transcription in modern notation of 4 tables (click on the slide to enlarge the pictures).

As specified by Arbeau himself, the very last stroke of each sequence had to be played with a perfect unison. The further development of this stroke will lead to the use of a grace note, that we know as flam, as already written in Spinney’s transcriptions.

In this same work, we have the first mention of an instrument which is slightly different from the Tabor. Arbeau mentions a drum which has two snares on one of the two heads. The embryo of the snare drum is just born.

Pistofilo Bonaventura – Il Torneo

Another cornerstone in our research is the manuscript “Il torneo di Bonaventura Pistofilo Nobile Ferrarese dottor di legge e cavaliere. nel Teatro di Pallade dell ‘ordine Militare, et Accademico . . .“, written by Pistofilo Bonaventura and published in 1627. The document was a collection of laws for a tournament of knights coming from all over Europe. Nevertheless, it contains a section with clear examples of drum techniques and drum sheets, both for the drummer and the knight that should have clear how to interact with the drum. Being this tournament “international” Bonaventura highlights the characteristics a drummer should have:

The drummer should generally be witty, lively, practical, and experienced. He should have the ability to play in the style of all nations and should be familiar with all the different “sonatas” used in war, such as the one used in reveille, assembly, dismiss . . . . retreat, burial of the dead, ordering, and entering into battle. […] Because the knights entering the field can be from different nations, and since the mercenary soldiers used often follow different disciplines, a wide range of formations exist when entering the battle field. These include crosses, triangles, half moons, and so forth. The drummer has to be proficient in the beats and styles of all prominent nations, including Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Poland, and Turkey.

As well as in Arbeau, Bonaventura uses syllables to name the strokes (ta, pa, ra) and indicates the sticking by using stem down for the right hand and stem up for the left. This choice could be given from the way drummers used to carry the drum while marching or walking. It would be presumably along the left side and in order to play the drummer should use a matched grip on the right hand and a sort of traditional grip on the left. In this way, also visually, the right hand would be the lowest and the left the highest.

Main European drum traditions

From the XVI century, the Scottish, English and French drum traditions became more and more relevant.

In France a new denomination was introduced, caisse claire and caisse roulante. In 1705 Andrè Phillidor releases “Partitions de plusieur marches et batterie de tambour”, a collection of marches for drums, oboe and fife. The level went so high that in 1754 the book “L’instruction de Tambours et diverse batterie de l’ordonance” was released. It contained instructions to tune drums, tips for technique and a collection of 12 pieces for drums and fifes.

With Napoleon and the renown Garde Républicaine (1802), the dexterity of the drummers rises up even more, due to the long duration of military service.

Important in this period are the works of Alexandre Raynaud, who collected and transcribed the repertoire of the time, among which we remember “Le 3 Dianes”, “La Marche du Pere Lafon”, “La Tordue” e “Le Rigodon”.

The snare drum in the XIX and XX centuries

In the XIX century the snare drum was part of the instruments of the classical orchestra. In 1817 Gioacchino Rossini uses the snare drums in the overture of La gazza ladra. Given the military tradition, they were used to depict the return from war of Giannetto, one of the main characters. For the first time in history, drums and percussions were used as integral part of the composition, not anymore as a signal for the begin of the Opera. At this point the notation gets updated. The right hand is now written in the first space (F) and the left in the last (E). Rolls are written in the third space (C). This method was not so efficient and was slowly abandoned. All the notes are now written on the third space and the stems indicate the sticking.


It was a pretty long journey, wasn’t it? Hundreds of years in just a few lines. I hope you found this article interesting and stimulating. Going deeper in the history of this beautiful instrument taught me so much! It changed my approach, making me more aware of what I was playing but most of all…WHY!

p.s. I wrote an article about NARD and the history of drums in the USA. Check it out!

If you want to know more, hit the contact button, give me a call or send me an email! Stay in Touch!