The Rudiments in Percussion and Drumming

Learn about rudiments and their place in drumming! A brief rudiment history.

Put some sizzle in your sticks!!!tm Mastering rudimental drumming can spice up your drum playing so much people will think you are a show off (but they will love it)! Whether you play a drum set or marching percussion, rudiments are powerful tools for playing well. Now, on to the history lesson…

A rudiment is a foundational drum pattern used as an exercise.

Informally it can mean any percussion exercise, but it is most commonly associated with snare drum or tenor drum patterns. Rudiment skills transfer to almost any type of percussion instrument including the drum set (drum kit).

The dictionary defines a rudiment as a fundamental element, principle, or skill, as of a field of learning; often used in the plural.
Rudiment Lists

There have been several attempts to formalize a recommended list of snare drum rudiments, especially among marching band instructors. Sanford (Gus) Moeller’s book, “The Moeller Book,” published by The Ludwig Drum Company in 1918, helped to revitalize rudimental drumming.

From this, the National Association of Rudimental Drummers (NARD) was created. Their meeting in 1933 created a consensus for the 13 essential rudiments and 13 additional rudiments. The National Association of Rudimental Drummers (NARD), an organization established to promote rudiment-based drumming, popularized this list of 26 rudiments.

More recently, the Percussive Arts Society has extended this to a group of 40 “International Drum Rudiments.”

They are as follows:


The Single Stroke Roll*The Single Stroke FourThe Single Stroke SevenThe Multiple Bounce RollThe Triple Stroke Roll

The Double Stroke Open Roll*

The Five Stroke Roll*

The Six Stroke Roll

The Seven Stroke Roll*

The Nine Stroke Roll*

The Ten Stroke Roll*

The Eleven Stroke Roll*

The Thirteen Stroke Roll*

The Fifteen Stroke Roll*

The Seventeen Stroke RollThe Single Paradiddle*The Double Paradiddle*The Triple ParadiddleThe Single Paradiddle-Diddle

The Flam*

The Flam Accent*

The Flam Tap*

The Flamacue*

The Flam Paradiddle*

The Single Flammed Mill

The Flam Paradiddle-Diddle*

The PataflaflaThe Swiss Army TripletThe Inverted Flam TapThe Flam DragThe Drag*

The Single Drag Tap*

The Double Drag Tap*

The Ratatap*

The Single Dragadiddle

The Drag Paradiddle 1*

The Drag Paradiddle 2*

The Single Ratamacue*

The Double Ratamacue*

The Triple Ratamacue*

* Rudiments indicated with an asterisk above are those also found in the NARD list.
Hybrid Rudiments List

There are many Hybrid Rudiments also. It is fascinating to see the evolution of rhythms in percussion. We used to make up patterns to play and amuse ourselves in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

Eventually, people started naming these patterns. Those committed to standardize and formating rudiments attempted to promote technique and uniformity of execution. In the last 20 years or so, people have written and published some great rudimental patterns. I have searched extensively to compile a comprehensive list of hybrid rudiments.

They are as follows:

Alternating 3 stroke Herta4 stroke Herta5 stroke Herta4 stroke Herta (paradiddle sticking)5 stroke Herta (4 stroke sticking)

Alternating single 5

Alternating Single 7

4 stroke Herta w/ upbeat accents

4 stroke herta w/ 2/3 accents

single 5 stoke

Alternating single 5 with upbeat accents

Upbeat rolls

Upbeat single diddles

Paradiddles (several variations)

Double paradiddles (variations)

Paradiddle-diddles (variations)




Upbeat and downbeat Grandmas

Alternating Single hand Tap Drag

Swiss tap drag

Triple stroke tap drag

Non Alternating Paradiddle


Tap Dragadiddle

5 stroke paradiddle

Paradiddle w/ diddle on 4

Slurred 6 stroke Roll

Slurred 5 stroke roll

6 stroke roll

Tap 5 stroke roll

Triple stoke roll (French)

Shirley Murphey


Egg Beaters

Backwards Egg Beaters


4 stroke rolls


Triple flam tap

Flam tap

Quadruple flam tap

Flim flam tap

Swiss Triplet

Swissy flam tap

Left up Swiss,

4 note swiss

Flim-swissSwiss kickOdd3/even 3Flam 3+aSwiss pug

Flam 3-2-1

Flama-flam tap

Flammed mill (variations)

Inverted Flam Taps

Flam Accents

3 note inverts


Triple fubars

Triple Pataflafla


Alternating Swiss triplet

Non Alternating flammed mill

3 note flam-a-cue






Single hand patta fla-fla

Single hand triple patty

Mill fla-fla

Flam Paradiddle






Pata-fla-fla paradiddle

Flam Drags

Flam drag-a-cue


Non Alternating flam drag

Swiss flam drag


Flammed mill drag

Swiss flam drag+flamtap

Swiss flam drag-a-cue

Da-swiss drag

Swiss flam drag w/left up

Cheese flam accents

3 stroke Cheese-a-cue

Da cheese

Flam 5

Flam 5-a-cue

Da flam 5Non alternating cheeseNon alternating flam 5Flam 2/3Alt. Flam 2/3

Single flam drag

Alternating swiss flam drag

Non alternating cheeseadiddle

Cheese inverts

3 stroke cheese inverts

Cheese fubars

4 stroke cheese fubars

cheese chuchuttas

fli-flo cheese

Da chucheese

Non Alternating Cheese chuchutta

Cheese single hand patty

Cheese 5 single hand patty

4 stroke swiss drag

fla-fla swiss drag


Flam drag Paradiddle

Flam 5 paradiddle

Flam 5 superdiddle

Cheese-a-flam tap

Cheese-a-cue flamadiddle

Cheese a diddle (variations)

Cheese 5 paradiddle (variations

Flam a single

Cheese a single

Cheese 5 a single

Flamadiddlediddle (variations)

Diddle a flam tap

Book Reports (variations)

Book Marks (variations)


Funky cheese

Funky cheese inverts

Non Alternating funky cheese

Alternating flam thing

Alternating cheese thing

Alternating cheese 5 thing

Alternating flam 6 stroke thing

Alternating flam 7 swiss cheese

Swiss flam 5

3-2 flam 5

Practical Use

Some rudiments are rather esoteric, such as the Single Flammed Mill and the Ratatap, and are used only in a very small number of drum parts. They can still provide valuable practice to all percussionists, however, as they exercise different degrees of hand-independence and fine stick control.

Others, such as the Flam, Drag, and Paradiddle form the basis of a wide range of rhythms in orchestral, drum-kit, and marching percussion. The Paradiddle in particular is very versatile, forming the basis of many popular music drum fills.

Open, Closed, Open Rudiment Format

When used in auditions for orchestral bands, concert bands, solo and ensemble auditions, and school honor bands, rudiments are almost always performed in an open, closed, open format.

This means one starts extremely slowly, gradually speeding up until the fastest possible individual speed is reached, then slowing again gradually. This is truly artful when done well.

NOTE: We prefer to teach younger students to start at one speed, then stop. Then repeat the process at progressively higher speeds. We do this so younger students will not have as much of a tendency to rush (speed up) when playing their music pieces or follwing dynamics.

Created on 03/25/2006 03:39 PM by adminUpdated on 07/07/2007 05:26 PM by Kay

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