The Other 26

Every drummer worth their salt knows the National Association of Rudimental Drummers (NARD) 26 Standard American Drum Rudiments. A staple of drum pedagogy since 1933, these rudiments have often been erroneously or misleadingly credited as the “original,” “only,” or “official” American rudiments. This claim has persisted even after the publication of the Percussive Arts Society 40 International Drum Rudiments. I will not touch on the 26/40 debate as I have already done so here. Instead, I would like to present:

THE OTHER 26 – Selected American Rudiments 1778-1925.

The Other 26 is a collection of rudiments I have gathered from American rudimental history that features an entirely separate set of rudiments to the NARD 26 that are no less authentic and no less American. They are simply rudiments that NARD did not include, i.e. rudiments that existed in published American literature between the Von Steuben’s time at Valley Forge and Sanford Moeller’s The Art of Snare Drumming and were not on Strube’s 1870 list of Lessons from which the 26 are mostly derived.

If you have percussive training of any kind, you will immediately notice that several of the Other 26 are not obscure or unknown to modern players. I did not select them just to be weird or confusing. 4 of them appear on the PAS 40 in some form and 2 more are ubiquitous and known to most players despite their failure to appear on most rudiment lists. At least 6 others are represented in most collections of Hybrid rudiments, though they are much older than the drum corps hybrid concept. This set of 26 does not include every snubbed ancient American rudiment, but is a manageable subset of that larger group. It is also not in any way intended to replace the Standard 26, but merely supplement it and open drummers’ minds to the wider world of rudiments and their history.

As evidenced in Encyclopedia Rudimentia, there are hundreds of rudiments spanning several centuries of rudimental practice throughout the western world. There is no “correct” number of rudiments to learn nor is any rudimental culture or regional variation inherently superior to any other, however Americans seem especially unaware that a larger rudimental history exists beyond the NARD sheets. The Other 26 is merely an example of what other rudimental knowledge lies beyond the staples of 20th century training, even in our own insular American system. I hope it can provide some subtle insight into the past, inspire some thinking outside of the box, or at least amuse some open minded drummers with ideas they may not have heard yet. Here’s a video I did on the first 8 rudiments in this collection: