Practical Guide to 18th Century Drumming
by Ron Aylor
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In actuality, there are but two actions in drumming. Either you strike the drum with the right stick or you strike the drum with the left stick. Over time drummers have created many different combinations of these "two" actions and called them rudiments. There does exist one "rudiment" that can be seen as a combination of all of these. That rudiment is known as the Long Roll. In the Gardner Manuscript, the Long Roll is referred to as the "Gamut for the Drum." It is evident from both the Gardner MS and the Young Drummers Assistant (Longman & Broderip, 1780) that the Long Roll is vital to the development of a drummer. Having perfected the Long Roll, the drummer will have learned the "timing" required to perform the remaining rudiments.
In simple time the Long Roll is nothing more than a double stroke occurring on each "subdivision" of the beat. If you will recall from lesson two, in 2/4 time the beat is a quarter note, the division of the beat an eighth note, and the subdivision of the beat a sixteenth note. By placing a double stroke on each "subdivision", you will see that we have simply divided the "subdivisions" yet again. At this point, the Long Roll can be seen as thirty-second notes. In the illustration below, notes on top of the line are right hand and notes below the line are left hand.
Conversely, in compound time such as 6/8 where the beat is a dotted quarter note, the double stroke would be performed on the divisions of the beat, making the Long Roll appear as sixteenth notes. Usually compound time signatures are beat at M.M.= 120. In the illustration below, notes on top of the line are right hand and notes below the line are left hand.
Practice the Long Roll by starting out at a very slow tempo. Gradually increase the tempo, getting faster and faster; then, gradually reduce the tempo, getting slower and slower. Take care to maintain a balanced sound from each hand, and even spacing of the strokes. Before you begin, determine in what meter you are playing. Remembering that in simple time the Long Roll is played as a "double stroke" on the subdivision of the beat and that in compound time it is played as a "double stroke" on the division of the beat. Always maintain the "counting" as described in lesson two.
Until which time you have a mastery of the Long Roll, do not attempt any of the remaining rudiments. This schedule of progress shall prove to enhance your performance immensely.
©copyright 2001 Ron Aylor