My translation/transcription of The Art of Beating the Drum into modern notation is available from Amazon in 2 formats:

The paperback edition is 8.25″x6″ and contains all 28 pages of the original publication plus a translator’s introduction.

The Kindle ebook is easily downloadable and features all the same content as the paperback in a portable digital format.

Potter’s masterwork is arguably the most important British drum manual ever produced and it had significant influence on American drumming of the 19th century as well. Authors like VF Safranek, Walter Smith, and the US War Department all took influence from Potter’s interpretation of the rudiments for their late 19th and early 20th century American drum manuals. The calls and signals are also quite similar to those found in Ashworth, though there are some differences.

Included signals: The Drummers Call, The Serjeants Call, The Noncommissioned Officers Call, The Troop, The Retreat, The Taptoo, The General, To Arms, The Pioneers March, The Rogues March, The Grenadiers March, The Dead March, The Dinner Call (Roast Beef), The Church and Recruiting Call, The Camp Taps, The Three Camps, and The Scotch Reveile.

Potter’s original notation looks remarkable legible for its day and actually follows the rules of music fairly nicely. The look of it can be misleading, however. Potter tends to only notate the final stroke of his rolls, leaving the player to discern the note denomination and starting point. He also tends to notate everything in 8ths and 16ths, though some signals require a quintuplet or triplet interpretation. This problematic and potentially disastrous ambiguity is why a translation was required.

This translation (or transcription or interpretation if you prefer) removes the vagueness and ambiguity so that modern players can simply read through the material without unnecessary mental gymnastics. All implied rhythms have been made explicit, all rolls have been given a starting point as well as an end point, and many rolls have been written out precisely to show where the doubles occur in space. My version of Potter can be played without prior background knowledge of the idiosyncrasies of ancient British performance practice. The page numbers exactly correspond to the original so that a direct comparison can be made, page by page, with the original if so desired.

The updated notation of my translation should be accessible to beginners and seasoned drummers alike. It is always a good idea to understand the history of an artform if you are going to make progress into the future. Potter’s book is a critical piece of rudimental history that is now easily playable. Take advantage and pick up a copy.