Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Is It a 5 Stroke Ruff or a Single Stroke 5?

So when I posted the lesson a few days ago on "5 Stroke Roll Around the Drumkit", there was a bit of confusion on my Facebook page from a question (Go here to check out the original discussion)...but it actually led to a really great discussion, one where I learned a bit of history about the rudiments (rolls in particular) that I didn't already know...and any time I can learn something new, I think it's a cool thing.

Here's the question that sparked the debate:

"Stephen, is that a 5 stroke roll and a 5 stroke ruff you're playing? There is a difference."

From my understanding of the modern 5 stroke ruff, no, it wasn't what I was playing. So after we batted back and forth for a second, some of the peeps that watched the lessons started chiming in...they wanted to know the real answer.

Anytime I'm confronted with something that confuses me, or gives me pause, I go digging for info. The fact is, I rarely care about being right...I just want to understand the topic being discussed...especially in this instance. So I spent an hour or so digging, trying to find out what he was talking about. and here's what I came up with...(part of this was in the original discussion, so it's written in a discussive tone).

"After having time to sit down, dig through my massive amount of percussive literature and dig on reputable sites online, this is what I've discovered. There has long been a discussion among professionals, both in NARD (National Association of Rudimental Drummers) and in PAS (Percussive Arts Society), over correct definitions of rudiments, should there be 26? 40? 120?, what makes something a rudiment, should it be called a ruff or a single stroke roll? (for a great article on this, check out the April 2005 edition of Percussive Notes, which is the journal of PAS) other words, we're talking about the same concept here (that being a 5 stroke roll played with singles, or a single stroke 5 versus a 5 strok ruff). The problem comes in the terminology.

Let me explain what I mean...I finished my music degree approximately 5 years ago. The director of Perc. studies was Dr. John Wooton (Click on his name to find out a bit more about of "The Drummers Rudimental Reference Book" and his newest one "Dr. Throwdown's Rudimental Remedies"). I have never heard a single stroke 5 referred to as a 5 stroke ruff, even taking from someone such as Dr. Wooton. Hence me referencing it as a hybrid (part of the earlier conversation I didn't include)...and you're right Matt, it's not a hybrid at all. This DOES NOT mean the 5 stroke ruff does not exist.

Originally the Single Stroke 5 was referred to as a 5 Stroke Ruff. The term "ruff" however, is no longer currently used to denote the single stroke roll, at least not in modern drumming camps. Check out the PAS website, you'll be hard pressed to find anything on there referring to "ruff" as a modern term applied to the single stroke roll. This happens with some words in the drumming community...take the NARD notation of "The Ruff" go here and scroll to #8, which was actually the rudiment I think about when you mention "ruff" (Matt, go here to see what I've seen as a 5 stroke ruff before, only example I could find of it notated how I've seen it)

now go here and scroll to #31. You'll see that what is referred to as "The Ruff" on the NARD site is referred to as a "Drag" on the PAS site. You'll also see that NARD calls one of the rudiments a "Single Drag" and PAS calls it a "Single Drag Tap", the only difference being that one is notated as quarters and the other as eighths, which is insignificant...who's right? THEY BOTH ARE!!! It's essentially the same rudiment. If you looked at a 5 Stroke Ruff and a Single Stroke 5, they will look the same.

Matt is also correct in his reference to Buddy Rich's book "Buddy Rich's Modern Interpretation of Snare Drum Rudiments"--printed in 1942 originally. It in fact DOES show the ruffs separately from the rolls of the same length. However, they are notated the same, accented the same and should sound the same. This might be why most more modern resources don't mention the ruff, or do so passingly. It got to be a very confusing term...and an easy fix was to call a ruff a drag, and to notate "single" within the name of a roll when referring to any denomination of single stroke roll.

So what have we learned here...

-That I need to be frickin' clearer when I post a lesson, lol!

-That Mr. Patella is right...there is a such thing as a 5 stroke ruff and his explanation of that rudiment was correct. That being said, it's the same thing as a Single Stroke 5, just different terminology.

-That this is a hot topic among not just the people on this post, but between the professionals at NARD and PAS. The rudiments are still being debated endlessly.

-That I shouldn't quickly call something a hybrid just b/c I haven't heard of it (although most of the times they are hybrids when I haven't heard of them)

And while we're on the topic of rudiments...

Click here for the PAS 40 Official Rudiments

...and here for 128 Hybrid Rudiments

Sorry, that got long winded...I just wanted everyone to understand what I now understand. Thanks Matt for bringing a bit of history to my awareness and letting me know the original and proper definition of the 5 stroke ruff. I hope this cleared up any confusion.

Please, all of you rudiment buffs weigh in if you'd like...I'm no expert in this area, this is just what I dug up in my research...and I'm very open to being told I'm wrong about things.


Anonymous said...

that was good info.thanks.i have a question that I can not find an answer to.are there different names for a single four with a triplet feel and a single stroke four with a straight feel,seems like there should be??7 stroke,9 stroke...

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