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  • R!Solo: Of the Different Beats of the Drum For Solo Rudimental Snare Drum by Jeff Calissi

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Aug 21, 2021

    The rope drum was considered “the radio of the battlefield” during the American Revolution, primarily because of its ability to project commands and signals. The drum and its fife counterpart were frequently paired as part of drills, exercises, marches, and parades that contributed to an esprit de corps and a sense of purpose and belonging within the newly formed colonial militia during its fight for independence.

    This solo is an amalgamation of several calls and signals that were first codified by United States Army Inspector General Baron von Steuben. The title of the solo is taken from a chapter in his 18th-century text. For further research, see “Regulations for the Order and Discipline of the Troops of the United States” by von Steuben as well as “American Music during the War for Independence” by Simon Anderson, and “Military Music of the American Revolution” by Raoul Camus.

    The dynamic is forte throughout, there are no accents, and the tempo should be maintained consistently at approximately 100 bpm. Take care to open the sound of the double-stroke rolls along with the flams and drags. The 7-stroke rolls should start on the left hand and the rest of the sticking should be generally alternated. 

    Although these calls and signals were intended for a military rope drum, the solo is presented here in the manner of a “concert” rudimental solo appropriate for recital performance. Interspersed within the solo are the following calls and signals, which served the purpose of outdoor communication:

    “The Drummers Call” summoned the drummers to announce special messages and assemble the other drummers on parade. Except for the drum used by the orderly drummer on duty at the guardhouse, all drums were piled in front of the adjutant officer’s tent. In order to gather the musicians prior to the beating of any call, “The Drummers Call” would have been played.

    “The General” was beat to warn the army that they were to move that day, and a chain of events was instituted upon its sounding: rise, dress, strike the tents, and prepare for the march. “The General” sometimes replaced “Reveille,” especially on days there was a march, and came as early as two or three o’clock in the morning. 

    “The March” was used as a signal to advance from as early as the 16th century through the 19th century; however, the definition of “march” was broadened throughout that time to include a signal for a unit to begin moving in a particular direction. It was not implied the drumbeat was to continue for the whole period of the march, as the men would be on the road for the greater part of a day.

    On the Different Beats of the Drum

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    Jeff CalissiDr. Jeff Calissi
    is an associate professor of music at Eastern Connecticut State University, where he directs the Eastern Percussion Studio, teaches courses in music theory, ear-training, and sight-singing, and performs in the faculty percussion duo Confluence. He has performed and presented at the conferences of the College Music Society, the Percussive Arts Society, the Eastern Trombone Workshop, the International Tuba and Euphonium Conference, the National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy, and at the Center for Mallet Percussion Research. His compositions and arrangements are available from C. Alan Publications and Garden State Publications, and his writings and research can be found in Percussive Notes and Rhythm! Scene.  Jeff received a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Radford University and both Master of Music andDoctor of Musical Arts degrees in Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda national music honor society. For more information, visit

  • R!Solo: Just Groove! for Solo Drum Set by Nicholaus Meyers

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Jun 19, 2021

    “Just Groove!” is a fun and energetic work for drum set. The performer will only need the following drum set components: snare, kick drum, high tom, low tom, hi-hat, and crash cymbal. Within the work, you will see that the single paradiddle is used several ways. In preparation for this work, I recommend practicing single paradiddles both with and without an accent.

    Here are some additional things to consider in preparing this piece for performance. The double-stroke roles found in measures 1, 17, and 25 should be played very open. The paradiddle figures beginning in measure 6 between the hi-hat and snare drum, and beginning in measure 18 between the bass drum and snare drum, should be played as evenly as possible, with the exception of any marked accents. The sixteenth notes found in measure 13 should also be played as evenly as possible until you get to the accents. 

    This work is based on the funk style of music. Keeping a constant sixteenth-note feel will help to bring the overall idea together. 

    Just Groove from Percussive Arts Society on Vimeo.

    Just Groove

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    Nick MeyersDr. Nicholaus Meyers is Director of Bands and Percussion at East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma. He is an active composer, conductor, and performer, giving clinics and masterclasses throughout the United States. He is Chair of the PAS Composition Committee, Chair of the Oklahoma Intercollegiate band, and past President of the North Dakota PAS Chapter. For further information, visit

  • R!Solo: “Just a Step Away” for Solo Keyboard Percussion by Daniel J. Krumm

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Apr 17, 2021

    “Just a Step Away” gets its name, as well as its dark and colorful tones, from one of my favorite synthetic scales: an Fmaj7 chord with half steps above each chord tone. The spelling of the scale is F, G-flat, A, B-flat, C, D-flat, E. This piece is all about balancing stability and flexibility in harmony as well as expression. The major triads using scale degrees 1-3-5 and 2-4-6 combine with five different half-step pairs so that almost any note can feel like home, while never allowing the piece to settle completely. 

    Featured also in this piece is the augmented triad (F, A, C-sharp/D-flat). The triad fits the scale, and the addition of a half step above any of the three notes creates a minor seventh chord: G-flat min7, B-flat min7, or D min7. Reading and learning the piece will be much easier if you practice the scale and augmented triad before beginning.

    Krumm Scale Graphic 

    The numerous expressive indications are guidelines to the generally shifting nature of the piece. Performers are encouraged to sing and breathe in every passage, and find the tension and relaxation of each gesture for themselves. The descriptive dynamics at the top are intended to tie an expressive intent to each resonant zone on the instrument. No instrument or number of mallets is specified, and the piece could be played on almost anything with any combination of mallets. The resonant character of each instrument would naturally change interpretive decisions significantly, and some written indications could reasonably be changed or disregarded.


    R!Solo: “Just a Step Away” for Solo Keyboard Percussion by Daniel J. Krumm. from Percussive Arts Society on Vimeo.

    Just a Step Away Score

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    Dan Krumm Daniel J Krumm
    is a percussionist of wide-ranging experience. Equally at home in the symphony orchestra, musical theatre ensemble, samba bateria, salsa band, folklorico, djembefola, chamber ensemble, solo stage, or teaching studio, he brings a diverse array of skills and sensibilities to any situation. Having received formal training in percussion during his undergraduate studies at Iowa State University and a Master of Music degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison, Dan is now living and working in central Iowa. He can be heard on Matthew Coley’s CD Souvenirs, Neil Thornock’s CD Between the Lines, and the Heartland Marimba Festival’s inaugural CD, Heartland Marimba Dances.

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