Basically the rudiments used in Pipe Band drumming are the same as the American 26, with a few very interesting variations.


All rolls are played closed or buzzed, although recently the open roll is being employed more.


This roll, apart from its regular form, is used in a unique way. Played hand to hand, the exercise is known as “The Fives” and is the basis of a simple “Strathspey” beating.

Note: The method of writing above and below one line for the snare drum is now widely used. Right hand above the line, left hand below, as in the Swiss style.

Scottish Pipe Band 1


The finished effect of this exercise sounds like a continuous roll, with clean accents coming on each of the four beats in the bar.


Flams are played very closed, in fact, as close as possible without losing the flam sound.


This version uses a reverse paradiddle which makes for greater speed of execution. This is obvious from the metronome marking. It would not be possible to get the same effect with a regular paradiddle.

Scottish Pipe Band 2

Another flam movement uses the same sticking, but the feel is that of a triplet, with the first beat of each eighth-note triplet doubled.

Scottish Pipe Band 3


Drags are also played very closed. There is no double-stroke sound, more of a buzz. In fact, really a “jabbed” effect.


Here, the shortness of the buzz will be apparent. The following exercises are the same as in the flam section.

Scottish Pipe Band 4


The single drag is used to build up another continuous roll effect, giving the impression of an accented shuffle rhythm. Played hand to hand.

Scottish Pipe Band 5

It is started slowly with the drags played open, eventually closed, with the drags buzzed as in “The Fives.”


Employing the double drag, the same roll effect is produced in 6/8 time.

Scottish Pipe Band 6

The sound is of a continuous roll with an accented 6/8 rhythm predominant.

Another way of producing the single drag effect is the use of a Four-Stroke Roll played within a triplet rhythm.

Scottish Pipe Band 7

Notice in Exercise B, the change in notation. This sound is known as the Scottish cut note.

The ability to play five-stroke rolls long and short is another part of this technique.

In the first example, all rolls are the same length and are used to give a syncopated sound.

Scottish Pipe Band 8

Now, by changing the rhythm to a shuffle or dotted feel, it is necessary to play some five-stroke rolls long, and some short. This has a more swinging sound.Scottish Pipe Band 9

Many exercises used would not fit in to the category of one of the 26.

For instance:Scottish Pipe Band 10

The aim, again, is to produce a sound like a continuous roll with a triplet rhythm predominant. This is a very difficult movement.

Finally, an exercise using unusual hand movements to produce a flam accent on the third beat of an eighth-note triplet, finishing with a hand to hand double flam.

Scottish Pipe Band 11

Two excellent sources of information regarding Pipe Band drumming are volumes I and II of the Tutor and Textbook of the Scottish Pipe Band Association. 45, Washington Street, Glasgow, G3, Scotland.

For further studies of accented rolls, see Roll Control by the author of this article. It is published by Belwin Mills Music Ltd., 250 Purley Way, Croydon, CR9 4QD, England.