The Ruff

KenDoken

Junior Member
I keep getting conflicting information on the ruff rudiment.

Is it a ghosted didldle?
Is it singles??
both answers seem to be right for different people

What's your take on the ruff?
 

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It is a drag. A grace note like a flam. It is not a diddle as in the RR or LL of Diddle Rudiments. Those are primary notes each having equal time value to the other notes in the rudiment. Regardless of relative dynamics or spacing of the drag from its primary note, the drag rrL or llR has the same time value together of the primary note without the drag. I.E if I play RLRL and you play llRrrLllRrrL together, we should still be in perfect time on the primary notes tempo. Same if I play Flams and You play drags together. Not true if you play a Drag instead of a diddle in a paradiddle. There is also some confusion on the Single Four stroke roll which is also known as a 4 stroke ruff. It is not a triplet and a 1/4. It has the total time value of 1/4 or however you break it down. 4 stroke is great for fills.
 
The name of that has shifted a little bit-- a lot of people are calling it a drag. And there's always a lot of debate about them.

In my circles, they're called ruffs, and played with an unmetered multiple bounce stroke as the embellishment-- both in corps and in concert snare drum. The main note lands on the beat-- in rhythm-- the embellishment lands ahead of the beat. I don't think I ever played them alternating-- that's more of an old school rudimental thing to me. Very tight/short in corps, a little fuller in concert SD-- relative volume openness/closedness all subject to interpretation for the situation.

Totally different from drags as we played them in corps, played as a metered 32nd note double stroke, at full volume. Ruffs are an embellishment on a single note, corps drags of that type would be part of a run of 16ths.

Four stroke ruff is played as singles, with the grace notes basically as soft as you can make them.

I got that from Charles Dowd, who was taught by Tony Cirone, and both of whom were taught by Saul Goodman. All my corps instructors were in the Fred Sanford school of corps drumming, and Sanford also studied with Cirone. All of them had a lot of reach as teachers, so that's got to be a consensus among some large number of professionals. There are other opinions-- a lot of people now say it calls for a double stroke as the embellishment. I think the only time I was ever instructed to play them that way might have been on a field drum or tenor drum, in a percussion ensemble setting.
 
I know things "evolve," but it's kind of a shame that the names have been changed and/or reused and reassigned. It really causes undue confusion.

If you look at the NARD list of the original 13 rudiments, there is something called "The Single Drag," which is what the PAS now calls "Single Drag Tap."

Meanwhile, the PAS does in fact have a rudiment that they are now calling "Drag"...except it is what NARD called "The Ruff."

And then there is something that drummers traditionally called "4 Stroke Ruff"...which was 4 single strokes. The last one was accented and the first 4 were embellishments with no precise time value. That seems to now be represented in the PAS list as a true triplet rhythm called "Single Stroke 4."

If you're getting confused reading this, it's not your fault. I'm getting confused just trying to write it!
 
The name of that has shifted a little bit-- a lot of people are calling it a drag. And there's always a lot of debate about them.

In my circles, they're called ruffs, and played with an unmetered multiple bounce stroke as the embellishment-- both in corps and in concert snare drum. The main note lands on the beat-- in rhythm-- the embellishment lands ahead of the beat. I don't think I ever played them alternating-- that's more of an old school rudimental thing to me. Very tight/short in corps, a little fuller in concert SD-- relative volume openness/closedness all subject to interpretation for the situation.

Totally different from drags as we played them in corps, played as a metered 32nd note double stroke, at full volume. Ruffs are an embellishment on a single note, corps drags of that type would be part of a run of 16ths.

Four stroke ruff is played as singles, with the grace notes basically as soft as you can make them.

I got that from Charles Dowd, who was taught by Tony Cirone, and both of whom were taught by Saul Goodman. All my corps instructors were in the Fred Sanford school of corps drumming, and Sanford also studied with Cirone. All of them had a lot of reach as teachers, so that's got to be a consensus among some large number of professionals. There are other opinions-- a lot of people now say it calls for a double stroke as the embellishment. I think the only time I was ever instructed to play them that way might have been on a field drum or tenor drum, in a percussion ensemble setting.

I think the European orchestras should be the final arbiter of this, because their percussion performance tradition is less broken. Do we have any European concert-trained players
 
Confused I am.

The Ruff/Drag difference is confusing as hell. I always thought they were the same thing but might rework the Ruff as a dirty Flam

The 4 stroke Ruff is a completely different concept to the the Ruff as an adornment ??
 
Confused I am.

The Ruff/Drag difference is confusing as hell.
It's only confusing if you try to find consistency in the naming. As we've pointed out, the naming is filled with inconsistencies. It's probably too late for us to undo that at this point.

But if you put aside the naming issue, and just look at those figures that you've posted, aren't they quite clear in terms of what to actually play?

The first one you posted has a double stroke grace note followed by a primary note.

The second one is all singles with a specific time value.

Practice both of those rhythms. Why not? They're both valuable. If you're ever looking at a percussion score of some sort, and you see one of those 2 rhythms written, just play it. It only gets confusing if you start worrying about what it's called.
 
And then there is something that drummers traditionally called "4 Stroke Ruff"...which was 4 single strokes. The last one was accented and the first 4 were embellishments with no precise time value. That seems to now be represented in the PAS list as a true triplet rhythm called "Single Stroke 4."

Right, I don't get what they're up to with that. The four stroke ruff is a thing, it's all over percussion literature, it is not the "single stroke 4" as PAS illustrates it.

I think the European orchestras should be the final arbiter of this, because their percussion performance tradition is less broken.

I don't agree with that, the correct answer is just what modern professionals do, there's no "original" thing that would supersede that. I'm not even sure how mature a thing concert percussion was before the 20th century.
 
Right, I don't get what they're up to with that. The four stroke ruff is a thing, it's all over percussion literature, it is not the "single stroke 4" as PAS illustrates it.



I don't agree with that, the correct answer is just what modern professionals do, there's no "original" thing that would supersede that. I'm not even sure how mature a thing concert percussion was before the 20th century.

Ravel and the Russians wrote all kinds of ruffs in their music, and m pretty sure there was an accepted way to execute that among European percussionists at the time….no doubt that tradition has been passed down, I would guess
 
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@KenDoken , This is the notation I learned as a Ruff rudiment; not what is pictured in the "B" example, which is just two sixteenths and an eighth note.

Whether it's called a ruff or a drag (not being snarky here), the important thing is to know how to play it when the figure shows up in a piece of music.
 
I keep getting conflicting information on the ruff rudiment.

Is it a ghosted didldle?
Is it singles??
both answers seem to be right for different people

What's your take on the ruff?
I was originally taught (by my first drum teacher, who was using the NARD rudiments list) that a ruff consists of a primary note preceded by two soft grace notes played as a double stroke (i.e., llR or rrL). When (a few years later) I got the Buddy Rich Modern Rudiments book (written by Henry Adler), Adler defined all ruffs as short single stroke rolls. Using his nomenclature, a three stroke ruff would be lrL or rlR, and a drag (or maybe he calls it a half drag) is llR or rrL. The NARD list first came out in 1933, and Adler's book came out around 1941, I think; my guess is that these two naming traditions go back years before that, and both NARD and Adler had some historical precedent for how they named things. But it's possible that Adler came up with his definition by himself, and did it to make the naming of things more consistent. Personally, I prefer the Adler method to the NARD one, because of this consistency. In the ebook to Tommy Igoe's Great Hands for a Lifetime DVD, Igoe also defines ruffs as short single stroke rolls; Igoe's father Sonny Igoe was a student of Henry Adler, so perhaps that's where he got it from.

So I side with Adler and PAS in called llR or rrL a drag. That said, I think PAS's "single stroke four" is dumb; they should just call it a four stroke ruff.
 
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I personally don't care how you define a ruff, I was taught that ruff rudiments are single strokes followed by a main note, and for me it will stay that way.

I think that's what was taught by people I studied with like Ralph Humphrey or Joe Porcaro.

Tommy Igoe says ruff rudiments are single strokes, and Bruce Becker as well.





Here is the only expert I found saying who says a ruff is two double strokes plus one.
That's the world famous Expert Village ;-)

 
asked Harvey S. Whistler
he's 242 and doesn't look a day over 198
he wrote the 26 Rudiments in 1968 (actually 1931 but he hates to give away his age)
and left me these
harvey 001.JPGharvey 002.JPGharvey 003.JPGharvey 004.JPGharvey 005.JPG

no. 8 Ruff
no. 9 Single Drag
no. 10 Double Drag
no. 12 Single Ratamacue
no. 13 Triple Ratamacue
 
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good ole Harvey..

harvey 006.JPGharvey 007.JPGharvey 008.JPGharvey 009.JPGharvey 010.JPG


no. 22 Drag Paradiddle No. 1
no. 23 Drag Paradiddle no. 2
no. 25 Ratatap
no. 25 in another form Ratatap
no. 26 Double Ratamacue

that's it in the first 26 said Harvey S. Whistler
 
I personally don't care how you define a ruff, I was taught that ruff rudiments are single strokes followed by a main note, and for me it will stay that way.

I think that's what was taught by people I studied with like Ralph Humphrey or Joe Porcaro.

Tommy Igoe says ruff rudiments are single strokes, and Bruce Becker as well.


I don't understand what you mean by single strokes-- so a "three stroke" ruff would be played rlR?

Also not sure what he's doing in the video there-- some kind of technical pattern, those aren't what I would call classically correct ruffs, with 5-6" grace notes. It's fine, he's got some other purpose there, that's just not how I would tell someone to play a ruff.
 
wouldn't you know it
"Harvey called Harvey called"
and said I should include the two measures of Rudiment no. 23 Drag Paradiddle
because the "sticking" changes

harvey 011.JPG
 
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