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Snare drum rudiments are the basic drum stroke patterns used in playing drums. While there are many snare drum rudiments, there are 40 that are officially recognized by the Percussive Arts Society. These 40 snare drum rudiments are considered essential for all drummers to have in their repertoire. They are broken down into four categories: roll rudiments, diddle rudiments, flam rudiments, and drag rudiments.
Roll rudiments employ the roll technique of bouncing drum sticks on the snare drum head quickly to produce a succession of sustained notes. These snare drum rudiments are delineated into three categories. They are the single stroke roll, which uses alternate sticking to create evenly spaced notes; the double stroke roll, which contains 10 variations of this accented note rudiment; and the multiple bounce roll that produces the most recognizable, buzz type snare roll. This category also includes the triple stroke roll that is played three notes per alternating hand.
Diddle rudiments are composed of the four types of diddles: the single paradiddle, the double paradiddle, the triple paradiddle, and the paradiddle-diddle. A diddle is double-stroke note played with one hand at the end of a rudiment. For instance, a single paradiddle is played with two alternating notes (L, R) followed by a diddle (R, R). On sheet music beneath the notes, it is notated as this: RLRR.
The next of the snare drum rudiments is the flam rudiment. Flams are two notes played in quick succession, with the first tap being softer and the second tap accented. Beginning drum teachers will instruct their students to play the flam as the word sounds, with the “f” being the first tap and the “lam” being the second, stronger tap. Flam rudiments include flams that are joined by paradiddles, as well as by accented strokes.
Drag rudiments are the final snare drum rudiments category. This is an advanced rudiment category that incorporates many of the first three snare drum rudiment types, and it requires strong stick skill and overall mastery of rudiments. Time signature is unique with drag notes, as they are two notes played at double the speed of the rest of the notes in a piece, and at a softer volume. For instance, a single drag rudiment would be played with two quick strokes (RR) followed by one stroke that has half the count of the first two strokes (L), and it would look like this: RR L. Flams and drag rudiments use what are called “grace” notes that serve to introduce other stronger notes.