Since the onset of our Rudimental Symposium series, we’ve had several requests to supply some information on the interesting Swiss Rudiments. Though the American and Swiss rudiments have great similarities, the Swiss system – as you will see – presents a considerably greater problem in terms of precise and uniform execution by a line of drummers as opposed to the 26 standard rudiments established by the American NARD.
The rudiments below are just a few examples of some of the more popular Swiss rudiments which have been absorbed by the American corps drummer to some degree. Though the actual Swiss notation is different from ours, I’ve used the standard American system in the examples to simplify things.
Basically, the Swiss rudimentalist uses flams in unusual and difficult places within the rudiment; places that most American drum corps players would avoid since a uniformity of execution becomes considerably more difficult to attain. There is also a marked difference between the American cadence which is usually between 128 and 132 beats per minute, and the Swiss cadence which is about 90 per minute. The slower cadence, of course, allows for the execution of more complex rudimental patterns. Let’s look at a few examples:
The Swiss triplet is perhaps the most commonly used Swiss rudiment in the American drum corps. The rudiment is similar to our Flam Accent, however notice the double sticking on the first two notes of each triplet.
American corps drummers use a rudiment called a Patti-Fla-Fla which also has Swiss origins.
The Swiss also use a 5 and 7 stroke roll which is different from ours. Notice the inclusion of the flam on the stroke just prior to the final note of the roll.
The Swiss rudimental system is certainly complex, presenting some very unique execution problems. This article is in no way meant to be a complete treatise on the subject, however, for those who asked – I hope it has given you somewhat of a better understanding and insight into the Swiss system of rudimental drumming.