Beginner Drum Notation Questions

helmetface

Senior Member
So, forgive my ignorance but I feel as though through practice my single and double strokes are becoming much tighter. Speed is not necessarily my goal, but having equal "air space" in between solid hits is.

With that said, I've been working on applying some more advanced(for me) rudiments around the kit, just to spice things up while I practice. And while I can hear the differences in the rudiments, I am not quite sure what some characters mean:

http://www.vicfirth.com/education/rudiments/07fivestrokeroll.php

I am pretty sure I've read somewhere that the two lines through a quaver would translate to it being played as a double, but for example in the alternative way of playing the above 5 stroke rudiment, there are quavers with a single 'slash' through, what does this mean exactly? I've also seen three slashes..

Secondly, what are the "connecting" curved lines connecting two notes beneath them?

Anyhow, I guess I'll get start on those two, I can hear the differences being played, generally. But I want to be able to accurately read these differences and hear them before I play/listen to them.

Thanks for the Elementary help!
 

Fuo

Platinum Member
Hehe, 25 views?

Is it that dumb of a question?
hehe... maybe no one knows for sure... every time I see notation like that it seems to mean something different, but I usually know what it means by the context.

open/closed rolls, buzz/press rolls... basically anything that involves notation and bouncing a stick or a double stroke seems to be nebulous and not very well defined... my its just 'cause I'm kinda new to this too...
 

Wavelength

Platinum Member
I am pretty sure I've read somewhere that the two lines through a quaver would translate to it being played as a double, but for example in the alternative way of playing the above 5 stroke rudiment, there are quavers with a single 'slash' through, what does this mean exactly? I've also seen three slashes..

Secondly, what are the "connecting" curved lines connecting two notes beneath them?
One slash over a note's stem means that you should play two notes using a double stroke within the space of that note. In other words, a "slashed" eighth note is played as two sixteenth notes.Two slashes means you should play four notes using two double strokes. For example, a double slashed quarter note is played as four sixteenth notes.

The curved lines are ties. When notating rolls, a tie is used to reinforce the idea that the preceding roll is to be played to its full measure and connected to the following note.
 

DrumDoug

Senior Member
One thing you will learn over time and by reading a lot of music, is that while there might be standard practices for writing drum notation, there are as many variations on how to write a paticular rhythm as there are composers. Usually, the longer a roll, the more slashes it will have. An eight note roll might have two slashes, while a whole note roll might have three or four. Whether to play them as doubles or buzzes depends on the context. In marching band, you play rolls as doubles unless otherwise indicated. Sometimes buzz rolls in marching music are written with the slashes replaced by little z's or written in italics. Sometimes it's just an instruction on the score that says "closed" or "buzz" over the roll. In concert or symphonic music you play your rolls closed. If the composer wants them to be open, he will usually put an instruction on the score that says "open" above the roll. The curved lines mean the notes are tied together. The first note lasts until the second. If you are a horn player, you hold the note. If you are a drummer, you roll. Just because a roll is an eighth note long doesn't mean it's a 5 stroke roll. At most common tempos it is, but if the tempo is slow enough, a 5 stroke will not be enough notes to give you that sustained sound that a roll is supposed to have. The notes will be too far apart. You might need to change it to a 7 or 9 stroke roll in order to make it flow. When you are playing drumset, whether to play doubles or buzzes is just a matter of what you think sounds best in the paticular situation.
 

helmetface

Senior Member
Thank you for the responses guys!

Cleared things up a lot! I never thought sheet music was so subjective/interpretive/situational haha
 

Numberless

Platinum Member
Yeah, I think that's a common misconception, actually sheet music is constantly evolving to suit the composer's need.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
The slashes are a shorthand way of writing faster rhythms- they mean the exact same thing as the number of flags/beams on a note or series of notes. A whole note, half note, or quarter note with a single slash means that you're supposed to play 8th notes for the duration of the written note's value. Two slashes on those note values would indicate 16th notes, and three slashes would indicate 32nd notes. An 8th note with one slash indicates 16th notes (one beam/flag + one slash = 2 beams); two slashes = 32nds (one beam/flag + two slashes = 3 beams). And of course a 16th note with a slash = 32nd notes.

By convention rolls are notated as 32nd notes in that way, regardless of the actual rhythm or underlying pulsation, or whether the roll is open or closed; what it really means is "play a roll for the duration of this note." Depending on the tempo, you may have to play something faster or slower to make a long tone- that's left to the performer's discretion. As someone else mentioned, in the VF site example of the 8th note roll tied to an 8th note, the roll could be interpreted to be a five stroke, seven stroke, nine stroke, or even an eleven stroke at an extremely slow tempo.

The "connecting curved line" is a tie. It means that you end the roll with a tap on the beat indicated. An untied roll would end with a buzz stroke audibly before the beginning of the next note or rest.
 
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