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Paul M Burke 09-17-2018 05:32 AM

How many lines?
Should snare scores be written on one line, or two?

One line for each hand?


CalumII 09-17-2018 08:21 AM

Re: How many lines?
Traditional percussion practice is to notate scores on one line for each instrument, with sticking indicated where necessary.

The Swiss invented a notation with notes on two lines for left and right hands, which was adopted by Alex Duthart and is pretty universal in pipe bands these days.

Paul M Burke 09-17-2018 08:26 AM

Re: How many lines?
Ah, right. That explained why the massed band score is on one line and our drummers can't read it. They want two lines.

Is there a conversion???


Pete Walen 09-17-2018 08:34 AM

Re: How many lines?
Depending on the particular model/convention, above the line is right hand, below the line is left, if that helps...

Paul M Burke 09-17-2018 09:50 AM

Re: How many lines?
Thanks. Yes that helps.


CalumII 09-18-2018 05:22 AM

Re: How many lines?

Originally Posted by Paul M Burke (Post 1331257)
Is there a conversion???

Not directly, because sticking is to some extent discretionary. My honest reaction is to tell them they should be able to read the rhythm perfectly well and proceed with common sense from there, rewriting if necessary. I presume we're talking non-pipe-band-massed-band here, so the drumming is unlikely to be especially complex.

Paul M Burke 09-19-2018 12:46 AM

Re: How many lines?
Mostly stuff from the REMT, Belfast and Basel.

I'm sure they could watch it on YouTube.

I ask more for my own curiosity, as I suspect that the inability to read the score is a little deeper than the number of lines. :whistle:


3D Piper 09-19-2018 04:43 AM

Re: How many lines?

I ask more for my own curiosity, as I suspect that the inability to read the score is a little deeper than the number of lines.
Yes, I had that problem as well when I first started. Coming from a treble clef world, the drumming clef was a strange language. I've never seen a two-line drumming clef before, but Pete is correct with right above/left below (I tell the kids 'raised above the line is right hand, lower than the line is left hand). Hash marks on the tail mean rolls, and combination of rolls are usually written with the heads tied together.
I think the main problem you will have is most Scottish snare drumming scores are written in short hand notation, so not all of the actual strokes are written down (that is called expanded notation).


CalumII 09-19-2018 12:54 PM

Re: How many lines?
You might be right Paul - thing is with drummers so many are used to working with only one leading tip that that corps' working practices can be very idiosyncratic.

Alba2usa 10-11-2018 01:16 PM

Re: How many lines?
Hi Paul, if I could offer this on the background of interpreting pipe band snare drumming notation, a wee bit long but for those interested…

Whereas a lot of drummers know already that it was the late great Alex Duthart that popularized the mono linear form of notation in pipe band snare arrangements: R-above, L-below the line. Although he didn’t invent it, rather he utilized some of the Swiss style notation. Alex always gave credit to the great Basel Drummer Dr. Fritz Berger who came up with the mono-linear notation for snare because in Swiss drumming the snare is the principal instrument and the fife is the accompaniment (behind the drummers: :-)

However, what's not generally known is that the Swiss Drumming Clubs are every bit as competitive as pipe bands, in fact, so much so that their drumming arrangements were often written in codes that only drummers in each club could understand! The origin of this was, Switzerland being a neutral country for hundreds of years during European wars, so Swiss drummers were often hired by other European armies as signalers before the advent of the bugle.

Consequently a culture evolved in Basel where each club would have peculiar cyphers to pass on their drumming signals! This developed into drumming competitions where they played with Fifes with complicated drum arrangements. In the early 1900’s Dr. Berger made the leap to standardize their notation. He came up with a way to minimize the amount of hieroglyphics on the page but still make sense and convey all the information required to play each score.

In the 1960’s Dr. Berger visited Alex at his house in Wishaw and the two sat all night trading stuff. Subsequently Alex utilized those parts of Berger’s style of notation that suited his own now evolving snare arrangements for pipe band arrangements.

Disclaimer: Alex gave credit to Jimmy Catherwood as the first Scottish drummer to visit Basel and adopt some of their rudiments, but as Alex said "Jimmy didn't write it the same as they did, he interpreted what he heard and changed it to suit the pipes". Alex went further and adopted some of their notation. (One of his fav' things to do was sit and play Berger's scores).

Anyone that is familiar with Swiss notion knows there are many more aspects to Berger’s notation than just the use of the single line that you don’t see in the pipe band snare arrangements and getting into explaining it here would be way too lengthy, it's out there for all to see and or study.

Suffice to say, Alex came up with a short-hand way of notating the simplest and easiest form to sight-read quickly his own evolving complex snare style, a kind of ‘hybrid’ between Swiss, Rudimental and studio percussion charts. The studio session drummer knows that the studio drum charts are usually very spare and rely on a drummers knowledge of time sigs, grooves, breaks and progressions, the various kit drums and cymbals noted on diff’ lines on the staff.

Remember that simultaneous to this, Alex was re-inventing the modern pipe band snare drumming style, so he elected to only use those aspects of Berger's Swiss mono-linear notation that suited him.

The generally accepted use of hash marks in the stem of a roll denotes the duration: 2 hash marks thru' the stem denotes less than a quarter note value: e.g. 16th note roll, an 8th note or dotted 8th note roll. 3 hash marks thru’ the stem denotes a quarter note value or greater, longer roll.

(Almost never used but a single hash mark through the stem denotes a 32nd note single buzz, not to be confused with a drag).

As Alex said himself, reading is an extra tool in your box, if you want to be a complete drummer. The average guy can learn to read drum charts pretty quickly 'if’ they apply themselves. ‘If’ is the biggest word in the English language.

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