RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

  • R!Solo: Intro de Franco for Rudimental Snare Drum by Daniel J. Krumm

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Aug 15, 2020

    This piece is inspired by Joseph Tompkins’ work combining the French and American rudimental traditions. The piece introduces five French elements in a brief and consistent format. Here are a few things to note as you begin to work on this solo.

    First, the tempo is very slow compared to the American tradition to allow for the dense and complex groupings of the style. Second, the "charged stroke” rudiment opens the piece: a dotted rhythm where the shortest note is accented off the beat, almost like a reverse flam. Third, the use of “embedded rhythms” first appears in bar 4 and is a consistent element across all subdivisions. These are frequently deployed in single-stroke sticking combinations. Fourth, bar 5 includes the first use of 5-tuplet groupings, which commonly have embedded rhythms with them as well. In the French style, 5-, 7-, and 9-tuplet groupings are common. And finally, both double-bounce and multiple-bounce rolls are present throughout, adding expressive range through roll density and color.

    I recommend practicing the piece one measure at a time, mastering the combinations and deliberately placing each element before attempting to flow through the phrases. The dynamic range is fairly simple to allow for a clear separation of tones and an opportunity to master the elements of the piece with different characterizations.

    Players interested in further study of this style should look into the work of Joseph Tompkins and Guy Lefevre.

    Intro de Franco 

    Intro de Franco from Percussive Arts Society on Vimeo.

    PDF Download Button

    Dan KrummDaniel 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.

  • R!Solo: Bit Crusher for Minimalist Drum Set And Track by Greg Haynes

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Jun 13, 2020

    This short piece includes an optional electronic play-along track in the kawaii bass style that emphasizes many of the accented syncopations in the drum set part. All of the patterns written for the drums feature the use of dotted-eighth durations spread across three or more measures at a time. In this sense, the piece is monothematic for the drums, and each section incorporates a different variation technique. On snare drum, ghost notes should be kept as low as possible, and the marcato accents should be played as rimshots.

    The following section information may be helpful in learning the piece and playing with the track provided. In the A section, rimshots are doubled in the upper chip-based synths while the kick drum is generally doubled in the saw chords. In the B section, the right hand repeatedly sweeps out to the floor tom for the first four measures and then sweeps inward for the last four. The drop occurs in the C section, and the kick is doubled in the synth bass. The D section features a brief return to the initial pattern followed by a new variation of the B section pattern where the right hand alternates between sweeping out and sweeping in.

    To maximize the playability of this piece during the COVID-19 pandemic, when percussion equipment access may be more limited, the drum set part only requires four pieces: hi-hat, snare, kick, and floor tom. Enjoy “Bit Crusher,” and I would love to hear any new recordings that are produced, with or without the track.

    Bit Crusher Page 1

    Bit Crusher Page 2

    PDF Download Button

    Greg HaynesGreg Haynes
    is a percussionist, composer, and educator based in the Connecticut/metro New York area. Haynes is active as both a soloist and an ensemble player, having performed concertos, solo recitals, chamber works, and orchestral pieces throughout the United States and internationally.  He has performed with a diverse selection of ensembles including the Hartford Symphony, the Longmont Symphony, the Midwest Chamber Ensemble, Banda Sinfonica de Santa Fe in Argentina, Marimba Sol de Chiapas, and the Redemption Sound Setters steel orchestra in Tobago. Haynes serves as Assistant Professor of Music at Western Connecticut State University. He composes chamber and percussion works by commission and produces music for film and media via GHM Scoring. Haynes received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Kansas in 2009 and holds a professional certificate in advanced music production from Berklee Online.


  • R!Solo: April Showers, Yellow Flowers for Solo 4-Mallet Marimba by Michael Varner

    by Rhythm Scene Staff | Apr 06, 2020

    “April Showers, Yellow Flowers” is an accessible work for four-mallet marimba that may be performed on a 4-octave or larger instrument. Here are a few other notes for your consideration as you prepare this solo:

    1. It may be performed with traditional, Stevens, or Burton grip.

    2. Sticking indications use the standard marimba solo numbering of 1, 2, 3, 4 (left to right) with mallets 1 and 2 in the left hand and 3 and 4 in the right hand.

    3. Four medium-soft yarn mallets are recommended or, alternatively, a graduated set of soft, medium, medium, medium-hard (left to right) as seen and heard on the video.

    4. Maintain a relaxed, legato sound and stroke throughout.

    5. In the opening measures connect the rolls as indicated by the slur mark. I suggest leading with the right hand. Leave a slight break between measures 2 and 3 and strike all the notes of the chord together.

    6. Always bring out the melody slightly: for example, emphasize the right hand in measure 17 and the left hand in measure 18.

    7. Feel free to add appropriate phrase shaping such as a slight increase following the contour of the melody for measures 5–10.

    8. Maintain a consistent rhythmic pulse in measure 27 through 29. Do not ritard until marked in measure 30.




    PDF Download Button


    Dr. Michael Varner recently retired after 36 years as Director of Percussion at the University of Texas at Arlington.  Previously he was Director of Percussion at Western Michigan University. He holds a degree in Music Education from Bowling Green State University, a Master’s in Performance degree from the University of Michigan, and a Doctorate in Performance from the University of North Texas. With a long history as a performer he presents new and time-honored repertoire to the highest standards, having presented percussion clinics in every state, Europe, and Japan. He has written for nationally recognized DCI and WGI marching groups including the Chicago Cavaliers and the Toledo Glassmen. Under his leadership the University of Texas at Arlington Drumline performed with consistently top rankings at many PAS events. His interest in world music led to research in Nigeria and Ghana. His article “Skin That Speaks” was published in Percussive Notes. His interest in composing has led to many commissions with over 20 published works, and he is a member of the PAS Composition Committee. For more information visit

Search for articles in the blog

Blog Categories

Contact Us

Percussive Arts Society
110 W. Washington Street Suite A 
Indianapolis, IN 46204
T: (317) 974-4488
F: (317) 974-4499