Research Survey - Snare Drum Project

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Orchestral players play what’s written. If there are two grace notes, you play two. If three, you play three. What I’m saying is never done is some kind of pressed buzz of indeterminate number of bounces. The actual sticking of a drag is pretty much always the same as rudimental playing. A 4 stroke ruff/drag (3 grace notes) can either be played RLLR/LRRL or just alternating RLRL/LRLR.

I’ve had several conductors try to get me to play ruffs with a pressed buzz instead of just a double stroke. THAT’S not correct, stylistically. Performance practice in the orchestral world is universal in that regard, I assure you. I went to school with a guy who got his undergrad at Cleveland with Yancich/Weiner, and I studied with the guys in the Dallas Symphony. In addition, I also went to school with guys who got their undergrads at New England Conservatory with Vic Firth, and Indiana with Gerry Carlyss. NOBODY plays ruffs with pressed buzzes. Lol
and I am not saying that you are incorrect with the way you play them...I am saying that assuming that it is done exactly the same everywhere is not correct. I know what I have been told, what I saw, and what I heard. It may have been wrong, but it is what happened, and accepted at the time or in the situation.

It would be like me saying that all drummers play traditional grip; across the board; without fail; in every situation...no matter what. Anyone who doesn't is wrong and stupid. Anyone playing matched is not a drummer

In the end, I am prepared to play them either way, as well as 3 and 4 stroke rolls etc...it will not shatter my world if a conductor asks me to do it in a certain way...hell, if I "had an issue" with what conductors ask me to do as a percussionist, my head would have blown up 20 years ago...
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
funny, cause the Cirone book is one that first comes to mind where I heard orchestral players buzz the drag...
I never studied with him, but a bunch of my instructors and other students I was around did-- as did my professor, Charles Dowd, who also studied with Saul Goodman, and who was a master concert snare drummer in his own right. It doesn't get any more authoritative than that-- though there are certainly other interpretations. It's kind of ridiculous to say NOBODY plays multiple bounce drags/ruffs, when clearly they do.

Just to be clear, I'm talking about this kind of drag-- called a ruff in my community. With the embellishment as a multiple bounce stroke, despite the written sticking. We also never played them alternating.

drag.png

used in corps/competitive situations as well, especially for textural effects; did you use them closed regularly when you marched?
In corps it was fairly rare; the timing of the embellishment would be unmetered, and much tighter than on concert snare. Usually on quieter, non-rudimental passages-- same way we used multiple-bounce rolls. Much more common were drag passages, with isolated 32nd note doubles in a texture of running 16th notes. Those were always notated as 16th notes with a slash on them-- never with the type of notation above.
 
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Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I never studied with him, but a bunch of my instructors and other students I was around did-- as did my professor, Charles Dowd, who also studied with Saul Goodman, and who was a master concert snare drummer in his own right. It doesn't get any more authoritative than that-- though there are certainly other interpretations. It's kind of ridiculous to say NOBODY plays multiple bounce drags/ruffs, when clearly they do.

Just to be clear, I'm talking about this kind of drag-- called a ruff in my community. With the embellishment as a multiple bounce stroke, despite the written sticking. We also never played them alternating.

View attachment 97114



In corps it was fairly rare; the timing of the embellishment would be unmetered, and much tighter than on concert snare. Usually on quieter, non-rudimental passages-- same way we used multiple-bounce rolls. Much more common were drag passages, with isolated 32nd note doubles in a texture of running 16th notes. Those were always notated as 16th notes with a slash on them-- never with the type of notation above.
yeah...that is how I/we use them in our drumline...like, I would never have them play like that in regular "through the drum" type stuff, but in soft passages, or for effect, we do it that way all the time.

drag or ruff....

just this past year, in our state for high school solo and ensemble, we came up with a standard to always call them drags now. The word "Ruff" is not used when we do rudiments for solo and ensemble. We had to make this because most of the judges are over 65, and would call out "ruff", and since the PAS list does not use that term, it would freak kids out...my kids learn them as both, since I think they should, but A LOT of the kids doing solos don't have a private instructor...they just have a non-percussionist band director who throws the rudiment list at then and says "go"

over the past 10 or so years, this was always a big point of contention "in the room"
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
I have literally never seen an orchestral snare drummer buzz a drag. Nobody. I challenge anyone to find me even one principal percussionist in a full-time orchestra who does this. Lol
 
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