“Rhythm! Rondo” is a solo that focuses on musicality for the rudimental drummer. Very often young rudimental drummers want to emulate their favorite drumlines, which is a great thing. Sometimes, however, young drummers do this while sacrificing universal music fundamentals. It is important to treat rudimental music as you would any other type of music in terms of dynamics, shaping, phrasing, and articulation. Below are some helpful hints to consider when preparing “Rhythm! Rondo.”
• Form: The rondo is a musical form in which a single theme repeats throughout the work. Between repetitions of this theme are various phrases that can serve either as musical extensions or contrasts to the primary theme. In “Rhythm! Rondo,” the opening eight measures contain the recurring musical theme. It is presented four times (measures 1, 15, 31, and 47) with three musical phrases inserted between the repetitions. This is important to know because you should strive to perform the theme the same way for each repetition.
• Dynamics: You will notice that there are several dynamics within the work. Strive to make the piece sound as musical as possible by observing these indications.
• Phrasing: The key to making this solo really pop is the phrasing. As essential as it is to play the recurring theme the same way each time, it is equally important to show dynamic and musical distinction in the three contrast phrases (beginning in measures 9, 23, and 39). Each starts significantly softer than the primary theme, and they all employ several crescendi and decrescendi. Accents should be heard clearly over all other notes, at all dynamics! Tenuto markings (dashes above the notes) should be interpreted as light accents. Do not be afraid to really go for it with the final statement of the primary theme!
• Tempo: The specified tempo range is to accommodate players of various levels. Do not go faster than what you are capable of playing.
• Rudiments: Obviously, this solo includes rudiments. Make sure you work on clear execution of each rudiment and any other sticking combinations that might not come so easily, both before starting and while working on the solo. Remember, start SLOW!
• Extra Sounds: Please refer to the video on how to execute all sounds notated in the music legend. Rimshots should not be struck harder than when you strike the head. The “stick-on-stick shot” requires a lot of pressure in the left hand fulcrum to create a very tight buzz followed by a sound resembling a rim knock or woodblock when the sticks strike together.
“Rhythm! Rondo” legend
The great thing about this solo is its flexibility. Do not feel pressured to only perform this piece on a marching snare drum, or only with traditional grip. “Rhythm! Rondo” can be played on a marching snare drum, a field drum, a concert snare drum, or even a piccolo snare drum, and it can be played using traditional or matched grip. The most important thing to remember about preparing this solo is to have fun and be musical!
“Rhythm! Rondo” performed by Ryan Boehme
Luis Rivera serves as Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Percussion Studies at the University of South Alabama, where he conducts the Jaguar Drumline, Percussion Ensemble, World Music Ensemble, and Steel Band. He earned his Doctor of Music degree from Florida State University, a Master of Music degree from the University of South Carolina, and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from the University of Central Florida. Dr. Rivera performs regularly with the Mobile, Pensacola, Gulf Coast, and Sinfonia Gulf Coast Symphony Orchestras, and he is a front ensemble consultant with the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps. Dr. Rivera serves on the PAS Composition Committee. More information at www.luisriverapercussion.com.
Ryan Boehme graduated from the University of South Alabama with a degree in music education. In addition to his scholastic ensembles, Ryan was a private teacher in the Mobile area, performed with the Mobile Symphony Orchestra, and was an undergraduate teaching assistant with the USA Jaguar Marching Band. Ryan was a participant in the 2014 Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Modern Snare Drum Competition and earned Third Place at the PASIC15 Individual Marching Snare Drum Competition. He is a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Central Florida.