A Drumming question

from a newbie drummer


Could someone through some light on a couple of points in http://www.vicfirth.com/education/rudiments/04multiplebounceroll.html that are puzzling me:-

1. What is the meaning of those notes with the lines through their tails?

2. When it says eg “mm=50-75”, I assume this means “measures per minute” but what constitutes a measure?

Thanks guys

Mike F

btw any recommendations for drumming forums would be welcome

The notes with the slanted lines through them and tied to the next note are rolls. mm is another way of saying bpm. Since these are 4/4 one quarter note gets one beat – m.m.=100-150 means set the metronome anywere from 100 to 150 bpm.

The notation on some of the notes with slightly shortened lines through them that aren’t flags is a way to notate buzz rolls, or scrubbing of the note instead of a precise single stroke. So in the last example there are a set of triples in the first measre that are single strokes. In the second measure each stroke is a slight buzz making it a triple rol – let the stoke bounce into the head slightly. I’m not sure that’s exactly what they mean, but that is one meaning.

The differece in a normal roll and a buzz roll is that a normal roll may be only a strike and a single bounce (three hand movements for a five stroke roll and the stick only hits the head five times) while a buzz roll is faster (smoother sounding) and each hand movement may cause the stick to bounce multiple times (usually two or three bounces per hand) on the head for each hit, so for a given time there may no more hand movements but the stick hits the head many more times and the roll sound smoother and faster.

I did quich seach and found this. There’s LOTS of site out there but most didn’t seem that useful.


Thanks Phoo,

To be honest, I hadn’t even noticed the “funny” shortened lines.

The thing I’m not sure about is the meaning of the number of lines (ie the diagonal slashes). In the middle of the last example there is a tied pair of quarter notes; the first one has three “slashes”. Does this indicate that 8 32nd notes are played followed by the tied note? Or does it just mean literally three extra notes?



Might I direct you to the PAS web site for the complete list of the 40 international drum rudiments. There are several types of playing a roll as Phoo mention with the multiple bounce, single, double, and triple stroke being the basis of each roll. Techinically, when playing a 5 stroke roll one would use a double stroke as its base. (YOu play two strokes right, two strokes left, and one stroke right) But depending on what the music calls for, you may go multiple bounce to sound less machine gun and more smooth and count each multiple bounce as a double stroke. Don’t get too wound up on notation here. There are sublties to each rudiment that are not that easy to notate. It is best to find a video of rudiments to know what it sounds like and just use the notation as a reference. For instance, it is much easier to understand a grace note once you hear it rather than try to read it. Look at all the flam rudiments and you’ll see what I mean.

The tied quarter notes in the last example is a roll that lasts for a full beat and ends with a single hit on the next quarter note. Rolls that aren’t tied like that actually end just before the next note. Think of rolls as sustained notes in other instruments. The page is showing how tempo affects a roll and how it maybe played differently depending on the tempo, though it may be written the same, as in the tied quarter notes examples.

Learning the rudiments – how they are written and how they sound – is a great way to learn drums. They can be translated into almost anything, and they will eventually become licks that are played without thinking what they are. They are the basic syllables of drumming.

Thanks Guys!