Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Transformations of drum rudiments in jazz performances

posted on 2024-06-10, 21:18 authored by Lance PhilipLance Philip

A significant part of the training of many performers on the drum set during the last 100 years has involved mastery of drum rudiments and military-style cadences. Consequently, many jazz drummers have built upon such training to develop an individual style that makes use of some of the techniques and rhythms found in these rudiments and drum cadences but which have often been changed or modified in ways that made these rudimental military - style drumming excerpts suitable for their own stylized musical expression.  Research Question: Is there evidence in the improvised drum solos of jazz drummers Philly Joe Jones and Steve Gadd to suggest that the rhythmic vocabulary, stickings and techniques they used had their origins in rudimental snare drum cadences, method books and published snare drum solos? If so, how has this content been adapted by each drummer in their musical context(s) to the purpose of communicating their individual approach on the drum set?  Method: To propose answers to this question, I have examined representative solos by each of the drummers in my sample and examined those solos for evidence of rudimental content derived from renowned method books, etudes and published solos. Having identified these rudiments (or rudiment-derived ideas) I have sought to identify the possible origins of the rudiments and their transformation to each drummer’s soloing vocabulary.  Representative Solos: To select representative solos, I auditioned many recordings by Jones and Gadd. I finally settled on Asiatic Raes, Jazz Me Blues and Joe’s Debut as performed by Philly Jo Jones; Crazy Army and The 11th Commandment as performed by Steve Gadd. These solos, (as I explain in my analysis), are usefully representative of the approaches adopted by the respective drummers and offer a useful window onto the issues this exegesis examines.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Musical Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

New Zealand School of Music


Meehan, Norman