In percussion music, a rudiment is one of a number of relatively small patterns which form the foundation for more extended and complex drum patterns. The term “rudiment” in this context means not only “basic”, but also fundamental. While any level of drumming may, in some sense, be broken down by analysis into a series of component rudiments, the term “drum rudiment” is most closely associated with various forms of field drumming, also known as rudimental drumming. Rudimental drumming has something of a flexible definition, even within drumming societies devoted to that form of drumming. For example, the longest running website on rudimental drumming defines it as “the study of coordination,” whereas the Percussive Arts Society defines rudimental drumming as a particular method for learning the drums—beginning with rudiments, and gradually building up speed and complexity through practicing those rudiments. (An analogy might be made to learning the piano by first learning scales and arpeggios, as opposed to beginning by taking a full piece of music and grinding through it bit by bit, to the end.)

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