Opening and Closing the Long Roll

I am addressing this rudiment after witnessing some obvious misconceptions in performance at the recent PASIC '96 Snare Drum College Individuals Competition. This was the judges' selected rudiment to be played open-closed-open prior to the prepared solo.

The beauty of this rudiment (also called the Double Stroke Open Roll) is two-fold: motion (style) and execution (articulation).

This is a perpetual motion process in which two notes are played with each hand, slowly, evenly spaced and equal in volume, in repetition succession. Initially the arms are held fairly high (sticks off the drum) and decrease in height as the speed gradually gets faster and faster. It is important that your arms move up and down in direct proportion to the relative speed, and DO NOT STOP AT ANY POINT in this run-down process. The volume must be consistent with the relative speed. CAUTION - DO NOT ACCELERATE INTO A BUZZ (orchestral) ROLL. Closed position should be interpreted as multiple thirty-seconds. A quarter note = 132-144 is sufficient. GOAL- To go from open to closed to open smoothly, in terms of acceleration and deceleration with equal note separation and equal volume with no breaks of rhythm or motion. If the arms are moving in a reciprocal manner throughout this process, the performance of this rudiment is truly a sight to behold.

It is good to see our youth taking such a keen interest in the art form of rudimental drumming, and I offer these comments constructively in order to solidify the challenge of the Long Roll in the interests of education.

Recommended References:
   The 26 Standard American Drum Rudiments by Frank Arsenault (cassette)
       Ludwig Industries
   PAS Official International Drum Rudiments by Rob Carson (cassette)
       Alfred Publishing

In closing, I would like to make this comment: "The snare drum is a highly sensitive musical instrument - DO NOT allow yourself to get caught up in such intensity (prepared solo) that it becomes the victim of a thrashing assault (fortissimo rim shots). Happy Drumming."

Art Cappio is the composer of many well known snare drum solos and author of "Cappio System of Rudimental Drumming". He has written articles for Percussive Notes, Modern Drummer, and Drum Tracks. He studied with Bill LaVorgna and Willie Rodriguez, and presently