How to Read Snare Drum Notes

Before you learn how to read snare drum notes you should be familiar with reading music.

Music for drums is different than for other instruments. Rather than notes on different lines representing different sounds, notes on different lines represent different drums. There aren't any sharps or flats. The music for a snare drum is on the third line on a row of music. It is in the middle of the bar. The musical note you see may have an "x" in the center, known as a cross-stitching technique.

If a note has one line though the stem, that signifies a drum roll. Two lines signifies a 16th note, three means 32nds and four lines equals 64th notes. A flam (which is when you hit the drum twice, softly then harder) is represented with a smaller note before the typical snare drum note. A drag looks similar to a flam, except it has two smaller notes before the standard snare drum note and these notes have a slur between them. A drag is played with two quiet notes before one harder note. While a drag is played with one hand, a ruff is played with two. An "RL," which stands for right and left, will stand above the note to signify a ruff.

Snare drums are popular in marching bands because of their size as well as the sound they make. Since the snare drums have a tendency to stand out in a marching band, it's important to learn how to read snare drum notes properly.

As you're learning to read snare drum notes, make practice a priority. Practicing is not only fun, it's the most effective way to learn.

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