Tambour-Ordonnanz 1917

Ordonnance Pour Les Tambours

Tambour-Ordonnanz 1917 is now available in English for the first time ever in January 2022. The original was a classic World War I era manual on Swiss military drumming and was written in side-by-side German and French. In its 105 year history, it has never before been widely offered for sale, nor printed in English.

Available at Amazon in 8.5″x6″ paperback with 30 pages of Swiss drumming instruction, straight from the source. International (non-USA) customers, please search the title on your local Amazon site for better service.

Lots of people throw around the term “Swiss rudiments,” but rarely with any specificity. This translation will put that term into perspective and give some authentic historical insight into actual Swiss drumming. Includes basic music reading instructions, Swiss rudiments as played in 1917, 50 rhythmic exercises, WWI battle signals and camp duty calls, 12 marches, and maintenance tips for calfskin or other natural hide headed marching drums.

This new original translation retains the German text and replaces the French with English (sorry French speakers, it had to be one or the other), so a direct comparison can still be made. Tambour-Ordonnanz 1917 is the ONLY English-language instructional material for the Swiss military style of rudimental drumming. There is nothing else in print (in English as of January 2022) that even makes a passing reference to this particular Swiss drumming idiom, which is among the oldest rudimental traditions on earth. Even if you speak French or German, you’ll have trouble locating a copy of the original. It hasn’t been printed in a century. My translation is the easiest way to get the book in any language.

“But what about Basel drumming,” I hear you asking, “there are several books already on that subject, so how can this be the ONLY Swiss drum book?” See my article on the difference between Basler Trommeln and Tambour Ordonnanz for all the details on why Swiss drumming is actually split into two completely separate traditions. Basel drumming and Swiss military drumming (Tambour Ordonnanz) are similar but use different rhythms, rudiments, repertoire, and notation schemes. There are actually several great English-language resources for Basel drumming out there, the most famous of which is Instructor for Basle Drumming by Dr. Fritz Berger. Other English resources include books by Allen Benson and Ben Dijkgraaf, plus a couple of Modern Drummer articles by Claus Heßler. None of these will address the military-style drumming presented in my translation of Tambour-Ordonnanz 1917, and conversely the Basel version of Swiss drumming does not appear in this military manual. No overlap.

If you want to know about Swiss drumming, Tambour-Ordonnanz 1917 is a classic resource now easily available and translated for the English speaker. Order a copy!