Developing Tomorrow's Drumming by Studying the Past
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Introduction. The master thesis Transmissions of Paradiddles in Jazz and Rock Drumming, A Historical Study (Kayser, 2009) concluded that several paradiddles (specific combinations of single and double strokes) used in military drumming in the 18th and 19th centuries are still in use by today's jazz and rock drummers, though applied in new ways to the drum set.The Aim of the Study. The purposes of this article is to uncover connections between old military drumming of European-American heritage and drum set playing, and to see if learning from centuries of drumming heritage could also be a way to move ahead and develop the art of drumset playing.Materials and Methods. In the present article three drum beats, played by three world famous drummers, have been analyzed using the paradiddle and Baton Mesle drum rudiments as analyzing tools.Results. Gene Krupa used paradiddles derived from military drumming in his basic drumbeat for ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’. Steve Gadd used variations of the Single Paradiddle in his drumbeat for ‘Late in the Evening’. Drummer Virgil Donati developed the art of drumset playing further by playing two different paradiddle patterns of different lengths simultaneously.Conclusions. The three drummers of choice for the present article have all used sticking patterns of European-American military drumming heritage as building blocks to create new and original rhythmic patterns on the drumset. Studying older drumming patterns and practices could be one methodical approach to contemporary music pedagogy in the field of drumming, and a way to achieve a sustainable development of the art of drumset playing.
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