Friday, September 14, 2012

Seven stroke rolls in Wilcoxon

Fielding a question from the Drummerworld forum here this morning, regarding the underlying rhythm for the rolls in this piece, from Wilcoxon's All-American Drummer:

A seven stroke roll consists of three doubles or multiple-bounce strokes, plus a release note, and there are two forms of them here, one of which is rather obscure-looking to modern readers. The sevens at the beginning of the piece, written as unembellished 8th note rhythm are pretty self-evident; you play the roll part as a 16th note triplet starting on the &, and release on 1.

At the end of the third line there is a seven stroke roll written as an 8th note with a ruff at the beginning; which is an old-fashioned way of writing a tap seven, with a 16th note pulsation. In modern notation, that would be written as a 16th note and dotted-8th, with the roll on the dotted-8th— you roll on the “e-&-a.” The 15 stroke roll in the third line would be played the same way, with the roll continued through beat 2.

The presence of ruffs on the same line is a little confusing; usually those are interpreted as an short, unmetered multiple-bounce stroke before the primary note, and seeing them attached to a roll you want to try to play them the same way. In traditional rudimental drumming, though, they're often given a rhythm, and played as a drag on a 16th note— we'll have to go into that another time.

So, line 1 would be played:

And here's line 3, into line 4:

Get Charley Wilcoxon's All-American Drummer


  1. Anonymous9:50 AM

    Thanks for that.

    The one that has me scratching my head is 'Three Camps' in Modern Rudimental Swing Solos, p44 in my edition.


  2. Chuck—

    I know— I don't follow the logic of that kind of notation at all, honestly. There are a bunch of other sources for that here— dig around in those links and you should be able to find one written with the correct triplet pulsation.

  3. I have been trying to find help with this notation everywhere...
    thank you for the explanation
    When you look at Solo no.3 the seven stroke roll has the last note played with the right hand, but this one has it played with the left which makes more sense for me...
    So how is the seven stroke played in Solo 3?

  4. Same as the 7 at the end of the line 3 example above-- all of the rolls in Solo No. 3 would have a 16th note pulsation.

    He's writing two different kinds of 7s in these pieces-- with a 16th triplet pulsation, starting on an &, as in the first line of Solo No. 9, and with a 16th note pulsation, starting on the 'e'-- which he writes as a left hand drag connected to a 5 stroke roll starting with the RH. It's a confusing way to write it. But any time you see a drag at the start of a roll, it suggests a 16th note pulsation.

  5. Thanks Todd,
    that has made made it all so much clearer for me :) - Greatly appreciated!