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Dictionary Definition

rudiments n : a statement of fundamental facts or principles [syn: basics]

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  1. Plural of rudiment.

Extensive Definition

A rudiment is one of a set of basic patterns used in rudimental drumming. These patterns form the basic building blocks or "vocabulary" of drumming, and can be combined in a great variety of ways to create drumming music.
There have been many attempts to formalize a standard list of snare drum rudiments. The National Association of Rudimental Drummers (NARD), an organization established to promote rudimental drumming, put forward a list of 13 "essential" rudiments, and later a second set of thirteen to form the original 26. Finally, the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) reorganized the first 26 and added another 14 to form the current 40 International Drum Rudiments.

The 40 P.A.S. International Drum Rudiments

Single stroke rudiments

The single-stroke roll consists of alternating sticking (i.e., RLRL, etc.) of indeterminate speed and length.

Multiple bounce roll rudiments

Double-stroke rudiments

The double-stroke roll is a rudiment consisting of alternating diddles (i.e., RR, LL, etc) of indeterminate speed and length. There are 10 official variants of the double-stroke roll (see below). The double-stroke roll is often played in the open, closed, open format; starting very slowly, gradually accelerating to maximum speed, then gradually slowing down again.

Diddle rudiments

In percussion, the paradiddle is a rudiment consisting of a four-note pattern of the form RLRR or LRLL.
Continuously playing alternating drags (or diddles) results in a double-stroke roll.
A similar rudiment is the ruff, which is a note with three grace notes, but they are usually alternated
|- |Single Drag Tap ||A single drag tap is two alternating notes where the first note has drag grace notes and the second is accented. |- |Double Drag Tap ||A double drag tap is a single drag tap with another grace note drag before it. |- |Lesson 25 ||A lesson 25 is three alternating notes where the first note has drag grace notes and the third is accented. |- |Single Dragadiddle ||A single dragadiddle is a paradiddle where the first note is a drag. |- |Drag Paradiddle #1 ||The first drag paradiddle is an accented note followed by a paradiddle with drag grace notes on the first note. |- |Drag Paradiddle #2 |||The second drag paradiddle is two accented notes followed by a paradiddle with drag grace notes on the second accented note and the first note of the paradiddle. |- |Single Ratamacue ||A single ratamacue consists of four notes where the first note has drag grace notes and the fourth is accented. |- |Double Ratamacue ||A double ratamacue consists of a single ratamacue with a drag before it. |- |Triple Ratamacue |||A triple ratamacue consists of a single ratamacue with two drags before it. |}

Historical organization

The thirteen "essential" rudiments

  1. The Long Roll
  2. The Five Stroke Roll
  3. The Seven Stroke Roll
  4. The Flam
  5. The Flam Accent
  6. The Flam Paradiddle
  7. The Flamacue
  8. The Ruff
  9. The Single Drag
  10. The Double Drag
  11. The Double Paradiddle
  12. The Single Ratamacue
  13. The Triple Ratamacue

The second thirteen rudiments

  1. The Single Stroke Roll
  2. The Nine Stroke Roll
  3. The Ten Stroke Roll
  4. The Eleven Stroke Roll
  5. The Thirteen Stroke Roll
  6. The Fifteen Stroke Roll
  7. The Flam Tap
  8. The Single Paradiddle
  9. The Drag Paradiddle #1
  10. The Drag Paradiddle #2
  11. The Flam Paradiddle-diddle
  12. The Lesson 25
  13. The Double Ratamacue

The last fourteen rudiments

More recently, the Percussive Arts Society added 14 more rudiments to extended the list to the current 40 International Drum Rudiments. Note that the ordering was completely changed during this last re-organization, so these numbers won't match those above.
  • 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 Triple Paradiddle
  • The Single Paradiddle-Diddle
  • The Single Flammed Mill
  • The Pataflafla
  • The Swiss Army Triplet
  • The Inverted Flam Tap
  • The Flam Drag
  • The Single Dragadiddle


  • (1812) A New, Useful, and Complete System of Drum Beating by Charles Ashworth
  • (1815) The Art of Beating the Drum by Samuel Potter
  • (1861) The Drummers' and Fifers' Guide by Bruce Emmett
  • (1869) Strube's Drum and Fife Instructor by Gardiner A. Strube
  • (1886) The Trumpet and Drum by John Philip Sousa
  • (1935) Stick Control by George Lawrence Stone
  • (1942) Modern Interpretation of Snare Drum Rudiments by Buddy Rich
  • (1945) The All-American Drummer by Charley Wilcoxin
  • (1959) 14 Modern Contest Solos For Snare Drum by John S. Pratt
  • (1979) The Technique and Mechanics of Rudimental Snare Drumming by Ken Mazur
  • (1992) The Drummer's Rudimental Reference Book by John Wooton
  • (2004) The Beat of a Different Drummer by Dominick Cuccia

Notable contributors

Hybrid rudiments

Over the years, many other rudimental patterns have been informally identified and given creative names, although most of these are based upon the original 40. They are commonly known as "hybrid rudiments" or "hybrids," and are especially common in drumlines and drum corps. A few notable examples are the herta, which is a drag played with alternating sticking, and the cheese, a diddle with a grace note.


rudiments in German: Rudiment (Schlagzeug)
rudiments in Italian: Rudimento
rudiments in Japanese: ルーディメンツ
rudiments in Finnish: Rudimentit

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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