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200 Greatest Drumming Events

200 Greatest Events

Earliest Drum Notation

“The English March” is the first notated piece of drum music, the first printed version of which appeared in Thomas Fisher’s Warlike Directions: Or The Souldiers Practice, published in 1634. Fisher based his notation on a warrant from King Charles I, who demanded its “re-establishment.”

200 Greatest Events

Invention Of Traditional Grip

Though first seen on these shores in the years leading up to the American Revolution, traditional grip is actually an import from Europe in the mid-1600s, when fife-and-drum corps of Swiss mercenary soldiers as well as English troops used the technique.

200 Greatest Events

Noble & Cooley Supply Union Troops In Civil War

Established in 1854, this Massachusetts manufacturer experienced major growth supplying Northern regiments with snare drums. N&C cranked out a record 100,000 drums a year by 1873, long after the end of the Civil War. It still makes its drums on the same steam-bending machines from that era.

200 Greatest Events

Invention Of The Drum Set

The drum set is an outgrowth of “double drumming,” a technique started in the late 1800s in New Orleans (hitting the snare with one hand and a marching bass with the other). In the early part of the 20th century, various music shops built “consolettes,” also called “contraption trays” (later shortened to traps), onto which smaller drums, cymbals, and percussion could be fastened.

200 Greatest Events

Elkhart, Indiana, Becomes An Unlikely Drum Mecca

Starting out in an Indianapolis apartment at the end of the 19th century, the Leedy Drum Company soon expanded with a major factory in the city. During the Great Depression, Leedy and Chicago-based Ludwig, a distributor of Leedy products, merged with CG Conn in Elkhart, Indiana, where the brands were manufactured as separate lines. (Unhappy with the arrangement, William F. Ludwig returned to Chicago and started WFL.) In 1951 the companies were combined into Leedy & Ludwig, but it lasted four years. In the 1960s, Conn sold Leedy to Slingerland where the brand fizzled. After new owner Gretsch sold Slingerland, it retained the Leedy rights and resurrected the brand in the early 2000s. Today Ludwig is owned by Conn-Selmer, and is still based in Elkhart.

200 Greatest Events

Leedy Leads The Way

Circa 1893, Ulysses Leedy made the first folding drum stand (before that, players improvised by hanging the drums from straps fastened to furniture such as chairs). By the 1920s, Leedy expanded into percussion, drumheads, and in the late ’30s another innovation: double-flanged hoops. The company also had early production versions of self-adjusting lugs and laminate wraps. When the company was briefly known as Leedy & Ludwig, it created the Knob Tension line only to discontinue it a year later, in 1951.

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  • That was an excellent article.
    Congratulations on a very thorough job.
    I will be keeping this link for future reference.
    Keep up the good work.

  • Ditto on an excellent article.

    Just a few nit-picky corrections though, in the spirit of exploration rather than nerdy one up-man-ship.  And I’ll be the first to concede if any of my notes are in error smile

    On page 1, the earliest drum notation precedes Thomas Fisher’s 1634 piece by several decades.  A French piece by Thoinot Arbeau was written in 1589.  In 1627, drum beats were written as part of a soldier’s drill manual in Bologna, Italy.

    On page 11, it mentions that Dahlgren & Fine’s 4-Way coordination was from 1985.  It was published by Alfred Music that year, but the original copyright date was 1961.

    On page 12, it mention that Max Weinberg was TV’s first drummer-bandleader, for Conan O’Brien in 1993.  Bobby Rosengarden was drummer-bandleader for the Dick Cavett show from 1971-1973 and again in 1980.

    Again, the article was fascinating and very well written.  It is a testament to it that I wanted to research further.