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Snare Drum:


Notation

Modern notation

Since the 20th century the snare drum part has been written on a single line with no clef. This type of notation became standard because the drum has no definite pitch.

As a rule, the snare drum is played with tightened snares, and this is not indicated in the score. What is explicitly written into the score is the composer’s instruction to play snares off (German: ohne Schnarrsaiten, French: sans timbre, Italian: senza corde). In historical scores playing without snares is often indicated by the instruction muffled (German: gedämpft, Italian: coperto).

Notation of tied trills, press rolls and open rolls

Tied trills, press rolls and open rolls are notated as if they were either tremolos or trills.

When a trill (or tremolo) occurs in the score the drummer’s decision of whether to play it as a tied trill, press roll or open roll is dependent on the tempo. At a fast tempo with two strokes in rapid succession a tied trill is always played; press rolls or open rolls are more suitable for longer rolls.

Historical notation

In older works the snare drum part is usually written in treble clef on the C5 line.

In works from the mid 19th century onward a tambour militaire is often asked for. In the orchestra such parts are usually performed by a snare drum tuned to a lower pitch (or a tenor drum), because the military snare drum with its somewhat deeper shell is often not available. If both a tambour militaire and a caisse claire are required in the same part, two snare drums of different sizes or with distinct tunings are used.