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Encyclopedia > Drumroll

A drum roll is a method a percussionist employs to produce a sustained sound on a drum. Rolls are used on other percussion instruments as well, such as the marimba and xylophone to sustain the sound, where it can be likened to tremolo on string instruments. Percussion instruments are music instruments played by being struck, shaken, rubbed or scraped, hence the percussive name. ... // The Marimba The Modern Instrument The marimba is a musical instrument in the percussion family. ... Xylophone in Bali 1937 The xylophone (from the Greek meaning wooden sound) is a musical instrument in the percussion family which probably originated in Indonesia (Nettl 1956, p. ... Tremolo is a musical term with two meanings: A rapid repetition of the same note, a rapid variation in the amplitude of a single note, or an alternation between two or more notes. ... A string instrument (or stringed instrument) is a musical instrument that produces sound by means of vibrating strings. ...


The snare drum roll

The most common snare drum roll is the closed roll. The open roll (or "double-stroke roll") is played with double strokes alternating between the left and right hands; the closed roll or multiple-bounce roll is produced by applying slightly more pressure to the fulcrum upon impact which allows for the stick to bounce many times on the drum head. One stick hits the head slightly before the other bouncing stick is pulled up from the head. This produces a near continual sound when the technique is mastered. The snare drum or side drum is a tubular drum made of wood or metal with skins, or heads, stretched over the top and bottom openings. ... Look up Fulcrum in Wiktionary, the free dictionary Fulcrum may refer to one of the following. ...

Other than the open, double-stroke roll there are many other rolls and rudiments that sound like rolls when they are played fast enough (like the freehand technique or single paradiddle). In the table below, lower-case letters represent grace notes (drags, flams etc) and hyphens represent rests. The freehand technique is a unique method used by percussion to produce a fast drum roll with a single hand. ... A paradiddle is a special drum sequence that alternates between left and right hands in striking the rhythm. ...

Rudiment Sticking pattern
Single-stroke roll RLRLRLRLRL
Double-stroke roll RRLLRRLL
Triple-stroke roll (or French Roll) RRRLLLRRRLLL
Single paradiddle RLRR LRLL
Double paradiddle RLRLRR LRLRLL
Five-stroke roll RRLLR-LLRRL
Seven-stroke roll RRLLRRL- LLRRLLR-

Also, the six-stroke roll, perhaps a misleading name, is often used in snare solo situation. It has four variations; each is a quarter note in length and consists of two double strokes (RRLL) and two singles (R L). Doubles:

Six-stroke rolls

The timpani roll

Rolls on timpani are almost exclusively single-stroked. Due to the instruments' resonance, a fairly open roll is usually used, although the exact rate at which a roll is played depends greatly on the acoustic conditions, the size of the drum, the pitch to which is it tuned and the sticks being used. Harder mallets require a faster roll to sustain the sounder, as do higher pitches. In the end, it often comes down to the discretion of the timpanist. A drum stick or drumstick is an item used to hit percussion instruments, including but not only drums, to produce sound. ... In music, pitch is the perception of the frequency of a note. ...

The keyboard roll

These are similar to the timpani rolls in that they are done nearly the same way and are both single-stroked. Yarn mallets usually can be rolled much more easily on a marimba than plastic ones can be on a xylophone, because the extra reverberation of a marimba will mask the silent gaps between strokes. For this reason, the rolls can be much slower and still effective. But for xylophone and orchestra bells a much swifter roll is required, especially for rubber or plastic mallets. A bass mallet used with orchestra bells will add extra vibration to aid in the smoothing of the sound. Glockenspiel The Glockenspiel (German, play of bells, also known as orchestra bells and, in its portable form, bell lyra or bell lyre) is a musical instrument in the percussion family. ...

To get these faster rolls, percussionists (keyboard, snare and timpani) all often use the muscles of their fingers instead of those of the wrists. The fingers have a shorter rotation length and can move faster with less effort than the wrist. Finger muscles are usually not as well developed, so percussionists, especially of the middle or high school age, will be seen twirling or rolling their sticks and mallets through their fingers rapidly. This differs in some way from the twirling majorettes perform.


In most recent music, all three types of rolls are notated as tremolos, with slashes through the note stem. However, in some older pieces, as well as some recent timpani music, timpani and keyboard rolls are notated as trills. Tremolo is a musical term with two meanings: A rapid repetition of the same note, a rapid variation in the amplitude of a single note, or an alternation between two or more notes. ... A timpanist in the United States Air Forces in Europe Band. ...

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Symphony No. 103 (Haydn) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (387 words)
Joseph Haydn's Symphony No. 103 in E flat major is often called the "Drumroll Symphony", after the long roll on the timpani with which it begins.
The "Drumroll" Symphony was premiered on March 2, 1795 as part of a concert series called the "Opera Concerts", at the King's Theatre.
Since its premiere the "Drumroll" Symphony has been a favorite among Haydn's symphonies, and it is frequently performed and recorded today.
  More results at FactBites »



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