Welcome to the complete Library Of Drum Related Terms section of FreeDrumLessons.com. Here you will find a complete list of drum related terms, along with detailed description of each. This is a powerful tool for drummer of every skill level. Not sure what a polyrhythm is? Or maybe you are wondering where the tension rods are located on a drum kit? With this library of terms, simply scroll to the term you are unsure of and read up on it! Keep this page in mind for whenever you come across a term that you are unsure of!
Accents - Notes played louder then normal to give a distinct shot or hit. Accents are played usually to compliment other musicians in the band, or to spice up the current beat. Accents require stick control and are great to practice.
Afro Cuban - A type of Latin drumming that includes influences from Africa and Cuba. This style of music involves many of the Latin patterns, such as the Clave, Cascara, and Tumbao. There are many different types of Afro-Cuban music out there, so make sure you sample every style!
American Grip - Holding the drum sticks in matched grip style, with palms facing down. Elbows should be relaxed at your sides, and the sticks should make a 45 degree angle. Very popular style of grip for rock drumming.
Baião - An up tempo style of Latin music that is usually played with lots of energy. This groove is derived from the north east of Brazil. The Baião has a distinct bass drum pattern that drives the beat forward. A very catchy beat that is easy to dance to!
Bar - A bar is a term used in music theory. A bar is a measure of time decided by the amount of beats in the time signature. If the time signature is 4/4, then the bar would consist of 4 counts. Here is an example of a bar of music.
Bass comping -To add accents or hits to a pattern or groove with your bass drum. Comping is short for complimenting, which in drumming means to add shots when other members of the band are playing to accent their notes. Bass drum comping is done in all sorts of music; however the term is most popular in jazz music. Check out some examples of bass drum comping here!
Bass drum - Usually the biggest drum on the drum set. The bass drum is played with your feet with the use of a pedal. The bass drum is played to drive the beat, and usually offers more of a pulse then tone.
Bass drum pedal -The bass drum pedal is the device used to kick the bass drum. The bass pedal is made of a foot pad, spring, and a beater. Click for a complete diagram of the bass drum pedal.
Bass pedal spring - This spring is located on the bass drum, and is placed vertically on the side of pedals. The spring is what sets the tension of the pedal itself. Tightening this spring will give the beater much more bounce to its movement, while loosening it will allow it to move a lot smoother. This is a very important part of the bass drum pedal that is often ignored. Make sure you are replacing your springs every so often to keep the effectiveness of it up!
Batter head - The batter head of a drum is the side in which you hit. There are two heads on a drum, the batter and resonant. The Batter head can be many different styles of skin. It can be coated, 2-ply, single ply, pinstriped, or more. The batter head uses different type skins than the resonant heads.
Beater - The beater is the piece of a bass drum pedal that drives into the bass drum. This is a head that is attached to a rod that is attached to the top of your bass drum pedal. There are many different types of beaters; there are felt beaters, wood beaters, plastic beaters, and multi-function beaters. Each has their own sound.
Bembé - A more difficult style of Latin music played in the time signature of 6/8. Usually played at faster upbeat tempos. Also known as a Nanigo.
Bossa Nova - The Bossa Nova is a Latin style of music that is very easy to listen to. The Bossa Nova has a distinct bass drum pattern that is very similar to the Samba. This style of music is played at a slower tempo. The Bossa Nova is usually one of the easier Latin patterns to learn; however it is still quite tricky. You will hear the Bossa Nova in background music, and elevator music.
Bossa Nova Clavè - This is a Latin pattern that is played with the Bossa Nova groove. This Clavè pattern is very similar to the Son Clavè; it is only different by one eighth note. The reason for this is so it fits into the Bossa nova groove easier. This is a 2-bar pattern that can be played in two directions, 2-3 and 3-2. There are 5 notes in this pattern.
Bongo - The Bongo is a hand drum that has a distinct tone and sound to it. These drums are usually smaller in size, and should not be mistaken for Congas. These are wood drums that are usually covered with a skin of an animal. The bongo is very popular in Latin and Afro-Cuban music.
BPM - Also known as Beats per Minute. The BPM is a term that identifies the tempo of a song. The BPM determines how many beats there are per minute of play. If the tempo is set to 120 bpm, then there are 120 quarter note beats per 60 seconds. The BPM is very important for all musicians, not just drummers.
Broken Up Beats - Drum beats that are played with odd patterns instead of constant strokes. Most beats you can hear a constant pulse on the ride cymbal or hi hat; however broken up beats take that feel away. By changing the pattern of your hi hat or ride cymbal, you are adding a totally different unique sound to the groove. Check out some broken beat patterns here!
Brooms - A style of drum stick that consists of many smaller sticks bundled together. These are similar to brushes, except instead of using many wires; brooms use a certain amount of smaller wood sticks. There are many different sizes and varieties of brooms, each with its own place. Brooms are used to get a unique sound out of a drum set that is usually quieter than sticks.
Brushes - A stick that is made of thin wires that fan out. The wires on a brush can be extended and hidden in the handle when not being played. Brushes give the drums a very unique feel to them. Brushes are often used for softer styles of music like Jazz and ballads. There are many uses for brushes that most drummers do not know about, so make sure you check out this lesson on them.
Cascara - Literal term means shell; however this is a popular Latin pattern consisting of 2 bars. This pattern can be played in 2 directions and is best played at faster tempos. This pattern is widely used in all sorts of Latin styles, and is usually played on the ride cymbal bell, or the cowbell.
Cha Cha - This is one of the simplest forms of Latin music. The Cha Cha is played at slower tempos, and is driven by the cowbell. This style is based around the Cha Cha dance.
Chimes - A group of cylindrical rods that are hung close together. When played, chimes make a hi pitched sound that is very easy to listen to. The sound is made from the chimes hitting each other when brushed. The chimes are used mainly for softer styles of music, since they are not a loud instrument.
China Cymbal - A cymbal that looks like it is inverted. The China Cymbal makes a very raw sound that is fast, and powerful. China cymbals have their outer edge bent upwards to limit the amount of ring it has. This cymbal can be played upside down to save on stick damage. China cymbals are used mostly in rock and heavier styles of music.
China Kang - A smaller cymbal version of a China cymbal. These are like splash cymbals with its edge curved upwards to give it a quick attack sound. A mixture of a splash and china cymbal.
Clavès - A pair of wood blocks that have a high pitched sound when struck together. The Clavès are smaller blocks that are hand held. When hit, they have a distinct sound that travels through most instruments. There are distinct ways to hold the claves to get the best results from them.
Clavè Pattern - A Latin pattern that is used in most Latin and Afro-Cuban music. The Clavè pattern is a 2 bar pattern consisting of 5 notes. The Clavè can be played in two directions, 2-3 and 3-2. There are many different variations of the Clavè pattern. There is the Son Clavè, the Rumba Clavè, the Bossa Nova Clavè, and the 6/8 Clavè. Each one is a little different; however all are used in the same form.
Click track - A pulse that is used to keep time for musicians. Click tracks are also known as metronomes, as they provide the same use. A click track’s tempo is determined by the Beats per Minute, also known as the BPM. Drummers should practice with click tracks regularly to develop their sense of time.
- The time signature 4/4. This is called common time since the majority of music and counting patterns are based around the 4/4 time signature. On sheet music, they may not display the time signature 4/4, they may just show a “C”, which stands for common time.
Comping - Playing shots, accents, and hits to compliment the other musicians in a band. Comping is done in all styles of music, and is meant to accent the melodic instruments when they are soloing or playing certain pieces. You can use comping exercises on your hi hats, bass drum, snare drum, or cymbals.
Conga - Hand drums that offer a distinct tone similar to bongos and Djembes. These are wood drums topped with a skin of an animal hide. Congas are usually larger drums with a long body. The congas are very popular in Latin and Afro Cuban music; however they can be used anywhere.
Cowbell - A small, hollow bell used to make a rhythmic sound popular in Latin and rock styles of music. Originally used by herdsmen to keep track of their livestock, the cowbell has a unique tone that funks up any groove. Cowbells can come in many different sizes, and have many different tones.
Crash cymbal - A cymbal that produces a sharp, loud sound that is used in every style of music. Crash cymbals are made in many different sizes, styles, and thicknesses, and can make many different sounds. Crash cymbals can be used for accents, or to drive the beat.
Crescendos - The act of raising the volume of a beat for certain duration of time. Crescendos are used to build energy, and transition songs from one style to the next. Crescendos take a lot of control with your dynamics, something every drummer should be aware of.
Cross stick - To hit your stick on the rim of your drum to create a unique sound that is similar to a wood block or cowbell. Cross sticking is where you place your tip of your stick on the drum head, and drop the stick onto the rim. A lot of drummers call this a rim shot, however they are completely different. Cross sticking patterns are popular for softer styles of drumming.
Cymbal - A thin and round plate consisting of many different kinds of cymbal alloys. Cymbals are a modern percussion instrument that is played in virtually every style of music. There are hundreds if not thousands of different types and sizes of cymbals. From hi hats, crashes, rides, splashes. Chinas, and many more.
Cymbal bell - The center of the cymbal in which it is the thickest. The center of most cymbals has a thick rise that has a different, higher pitch sound to it. When struck, these have a distinct sound that cuts through most instruments in the band. The Cymbal bell is great for accents and hits during a beat.
Decrescendos - Bringing the volume of a song, beat or feel down in duration of time. These are the opposite of crescendos, and are great to bring down the energy level of a song. This takes control of dynamics, and is something every drummer should practice.
Djembe - Hand drums that offer a distinct tone when played. These are African drums that are usually carved out of wood, and are topped with an animal skin. These are similar to bongos; however they can range from small sizes to very large sizes. Djembes are shaped like an hourglass.
Double bass drum - Incorporating two bass drums into your playing. Double Bass Drum playing is very popular in progressive rock, heavy rock, and heavy metal; however the double bass drum can be used in all styles of music. You can incorporate double bass drumming by using a double bass pedal, or using two bass drums. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
Double bass pedal - A bass drum pedal consisting of two beaters and two foot pedals. These are joined together to allow you to incorporate double bass playing without having to buy a second bass drum. Double bass pedals are used more often then double bass drum set ups.
Drag - One of the 40 essential rudiments. The drag rudiment consists of two consecutive notes played with the same stick. You can play it either RR or LL. This rudiment is very similar to the Diddle.
Drum - A cylindrical instrument made of many different types of wood, metals, and plastics. Usually topped with a skin or head on both ends. The tone of a drum is distinguished by the size, depth, and thickness of the drums body, as well as the tightness of the drum head.
Drum break - A pause in the song where the drummer gets a chance to play a small fill or pattern. Also known as a drum fill, breaks are used to transition songs from one part to the next. Drum breaks are a time for drummers to express themselves by adding their own creative touch to a song. Watch out though, because it is very easy to lose the tempo.
Drum dampeners - Devices that are placed either inside the drum, or on the drum head itself to muffle the sound of the drum. Dampeners are used to minimize the resonance in a drum. These are also known as mufflers, and are very popular to be placed inside of bass drums. Some common forms of this are pillows, blankets, drum rings, and drum gum.
Drum fill - A pause in the song where the drummer gets a chance to play a small fill or pattern. This is also known as a Drum Break. A fill is a certain pattern that a drummer plays to either transition the song, or accent certain parts. Drum fills give the drummer a chance to express themselves, and add their own level of creativity to the song.
Drum head - Covering of a drum that fits on the top and bottom of a drum. There are two drum heads for every drum, a resonant head, and a batter head. Drum heads are tightened over the top of the drum by tension rods, and can be tightened or loosened to change the pitch of a drum. There are many different types of drum heads; coated, clear, 2-ply, pinstripe and more. Also known as drum skins.
Drum gum - A form of drum dampening that is placed on top of the drum head. Drum Gum is a small sticky jelly that is stuck on top of a drum head to take away any access overtones. Most drummers use this for their snare drum or their larger toms.
Drum Kit - The set up of your drums. A drum kit can range in any size, from massive drum kits including multi bass drums, and many toms, to small drum kits including a single bass drum and snare. A drum kit is also known as drums, drum set, drum set up, and kit.
Drum module - The brain of an electronic drum kit. The drum module is the device that stores all the different drum samples for an electric kit. This is what all of the electric pads gets plugged into to complete the drum set.
Drum Set - The set up of your drums. A drum set can range in any size; from a massive drum set including many drums, to a small drum set including a bass and snare drum. A drum set is also known as drums, drum kit, and drum set up.
Drum skin - Covering of a drum that fits on the top and bottom of a drum. There are two drum skins for every drum, a resonant skin, and a batter skin. Drum skins are tightened over the top of the drum by tension rods, and can be tightened or loosened to change the pitch of a drum. There are many different types of drum heads; coated, clear, 2-ply, pinstripe and more. Also known as drum heads.
Drum tuition - Lessons taken by drummers to further their education in drumming. Drum tuition can be taken in many forms, either by personal instructor, or by video lesson. Drum tuition is also known as drum lessons. Make sure you check out all forms of drum tuition before you choose which one works best for you!
Eighth Notes - A note played for one eighth of the duration of the whole note. Eighth notes include a stem with one flag attached. Eighth notes are one of the most common notes played by drummers.
Effects cymbal - A style of cymbal designed to create a distinct sound. Effects cymbals range in a variety of shapes and sizes that give off different kinds of sounds and feels. Effect cymbals can be played in all sorts of different music styles.
Eight Note Rest – A rest or break from playing for the duration of an eight note. 8th note rests take place of an 8th note, and are located in the middle of the staff.
Flam - A flam is one of the 40 essential rudiments every drummer must know. This rudiment is played with both sticks, and is designed to make a full sound using two strokes. This rudiment can be played both left and right hand dominant, and can be incorporated into beats, fills and solos.
French Grip - Holding the sticks close together with your palms up. This style of stick grip is matched grip, and uses your fingers to control the bounces of the sticks. Very popular for speed drumming, and lighter styles of music.
Fulcrum point - The balance point of a drum stick. The fulcrum point is the point where the drum stick will get the most bounce when dropped. In order to get the best results from your stick grips, you need to be pinching the stick at the fulcrum point.
Germanium Grip - Holding the sticks in matched grip, with your palms facing down. Elbows should stick out a little, and the sticks should make a 90 degree angle. This is a common style for marching bands, and offers a lot of power for each stroke.
Ghost notes - A note played on the drum that is felt more than it is heard. Ghost notes are quieter notes played in between the regular notes. These are played at lower volumes to be almost hidden behind the beat. These are used to spice up a boring pattern, and to add a new dynamic to the song.
Gong cymbal - A very large cymbal played with a mallet to produce a large shimmering sound. A very unique sounding cymbal originally from Japan. Gongs must be warmed up before hit. They are usually hung from an apparatus that sits behind the drum set. Gongs are not usually played in rock music, as they are more of an effect cymbal.
Hi hat - A set of cymbals that are placed on top of each other to get a variety of sounds. Hi hats are placed on a stand that has a foot pedal on it. The hats are locked onto this stand so you can control the opening and closing of them with your feet. Hi hats are one of the most widely used cymbals in music, as you can get so many different sounds and feels from them.
Hi hat clutch - A device used to lock the hi hats closed when using double bass or other pedals that do not allow you to place your foot on the hi hat pedal. The clutch is placed above the hats, and has a switch that you can press with your stick while you are playing. This locks the hi hats closed. Double Bass drummers use this to be able to play different bass drum patterns while having the hi hats closed.
Hi hat comping - To add accents or hits to a pattern or groove with your hi hats. Comping is short for complimenting, which in drumming means to add shots when other members of the band are playing to accent their notes. Hi hat comping is done in all sorts of music; however the term is most popular in jazz music. Check out some examples of hi-hat comping here!
Hi hat Stand - A stand designed to hold the hi hat cymbals. The bottom hat rests on the stand, while the top hat is locked onto a moving rod that is controlled by your foot. The foot pedal allows the drummer to have complete control of their hi hats. Hi hat stands can have 2 or 3 legs in order to accompany a slave double bass pedal.
Latin Drumming - A style of drumming that involves many specific patterns, grooves, and instruments revolving around Latin music. Latin drumming has a distinct sound to it. Congas, Cowbells, Wood Blocks, Tambourines, and Clavès are all Latin specific instruments used in this style. Latin drumming uses patterns like the Cascara, Clavè, and the Tumbao to create its feel.
Linear drumming - Drum patterns that are played where no two limbs line up. This is where you never play your snare and hi hat, or bass drum together. This creates a totally unique sounding pattern that has become very popular in today’s rock and modern music.
Mallets - A stick with a special tip used to create different sounds and feels on drums and cymbals. Mallets can have fabric tips, rubber tips, plastic tips, or wood tips, and create unique sounds on the drum set. Mallets are usually used for creating cymbal rolls and gong hits; however you can use them anywhere.
Mambo - A very common Latin style of music that has a very distinct bell pattern. The mambo pattern can be played on the cowbell or ride cymbal. It is a 2 bar pattern that can be played in 2 directions.
Manhattan Cymbals - A thin cymbal that has a distinct ring to it. Manhattan cymbals are bright and rich. They have a long lasting sound that is usually used for softer styles of music like jazz. There are many cymbals created in the Manhattan style, like the ride, hi hats, and crash.
Maracas - Hand held percussion instruments that are like shakers. They can be any shape or size, and are filled with beans. These produce a texture like sound for any song. Widely used in all sorts of Latin styles, up beat or not!
Matched Grip - Holding the drum sticks the same way in both hands. Both left and right hands are gripping the stick identically. Mirroring the left and right hands when holding a drum stick. There are many types of matched grip: French grip, American grip, and Germanium grip.
Measure - A measure is a term used in music theory. A measure is a space of time decided by the amount of beats in the time signature. If the time signature is 4/4, then the bar would consist of 4 counts. Here is an example of a measure of music.
Merengue - A style of Latin music that is very easy to listen to. Usually played at faster tempos with the snare drum turned off. This is also a very popular form of dance that is practiced all across the world.
Metronome - A device used to keep time for musicians. A metronome plays click track at a certain tempo or Beats per Minute (Bpm). Metronomes can be set to any tempo. Some metronomes can be set to play 8th notes, 16th notes, triplets and more. Most metronomes are digital these days, meaning they can be plugged into amps or head phones.
Moeller Method - A technique used for enhanced stick control. The Moeller method uses certain stick grips and strokes that maximize the bounce from the stick. The control of these bounces allow you to play faster then ever before. Professional drummers are very familiar with this technique.
Moeller stroke - A special way to hit the drum to maximize the bounce on your stick. The Moeller stroke is taught within the Moeller method, and has a distinct motion to it. Similar to a whipping motion, the Moeller stroke gives you much more power then before.
Mozambique - A very popular style of Latin music. The Mozambique has a distinct bell pattern that is not very hard to play. This pattern can be played at faster tempos or slower tempos and can be used in beats or solos. Made popular by drummers like Steve Gadd.
Note value - The duration of time you play a certain note for. The value of a note determines how long you play the specified note for. For example, quarter notes have a quarter note value, meaning you play for one quarter note. Drummers practice note value exercises to help develop control of their sticks.
Paradiddle - A rudiment played with two sticks to develop independence with your hands. The paradiddle is an 8 note pattern that is played: R L R R L R L L. This rudiment can be played in beats, fills, and other patterns to spice things up. One of the most popular rudiments to learn.
Piccolo snare - A type of drum that is thin and tuned very tight. This drum includes snare wires on the bottom to give a very tight cracking sound to it. Piccolo snares are popular in all styles of music and offer a higher tone then regular snare drums.
Practice Pad - An imitation drum designed to feel and act like a drum without the sound. These are made so drummers can practice without making a lot of noise. Practice pads are best used for stick control and rudiment practice; however there are full practice pad drum sets. Something every drummer must have.
Quarter note - A note played for one forth the length of a whole note. Quarter notes usually indicate the pulse of a groove. Quarter notes have a stem, but no flag. Quarter notes are what you usually hear on a metronome, the quarter note pulse.
Polyrhythm - Playing 2 different time signature patterns over top of each other. A polyrhythm includes two distinctly different time signature grooves, played on top of each other to create a unique beat. Polyrhythms are very difficult to play, and can easily be played wrong. Make sure you fully understand what a polyrhythm is before attempting them.
Quarter Note Rest – A rest or break from playing for the duration of a quarter note. Quarter note rests take place of an quarter note, and are located in the middle of the staff.
Remote hi hats - Hi hats that are placed on a stand that can be mounted anywhere on the drum set. The foot pedal is connected to a wire that allows you to place it where ever you want. These are very popular for double bass drummers, and drummers who have no room for a regular hi hat stand.
Resonant head - The drum skin that is located on the bottom of the drum. The resonant head is usually a thinner drum skin, and is usually tuned differently then the batter head. Some drummers prefer to leave the resonant head off of the drum. Resonant heads are usually ignored as drummers.
Rest - Duration of time where nothing is played. Rests can be short or long depending on the notation of the rest. You will see rests in almost all sheet music, so be sure you know what they look like, and how to count them.
Ride Cymbal - A larger cymbal that is usually a standard on most drum sets. This cymbal is designed to maintain a rhythm rather than add shots or accents. This cymbal is often thicker, and placed on the opposite side of their hi hats. The ride cymbal offers a higher tone then crash cymbals, and is used in all styles of music. There are many types of ride cymbals: Rock ride, Manhattan Ride, Studio Ride and more.
Rims - The part of a drum that sits over top of the drum head. Drum rims sit on the drum and are tightened onto the drum with tension rods. This is what provides the pressure on the drum skin which changes the tuning of the drum. Rims can be made from metal alloys or different woods. Each drum has 2 sets of rims, one for the batter head, and one for the resonant head. Playing the rim of a drum gives you a unique sound that can be used in all sorts of music.
Rim shot - An accented stroke produced by hitting the drum head and rim at the same time. A rim shot is usually played at higher volumes to create a loud accent. The sound of a rim shot is different then the sound of a hard stroke on the drum. This is not the same as cross sticking.
Roll - A technique drummers use to produce a constant sound on a drum. Rolls can be played on any drum or cymbal. Rolls can be played with single strokes, double strokes, triple strokes, or multiple strokes (buzz roll). The most common roll is played on a snare drum, and is played in all styles of music. In notation, a roll is shown by a strike through the stem of a note.
Rudiment - The basic building blocks of drumming. A set of patterns that are played and combined to create different beats, fills and solos. Rudimental drumming develops drum stick control, speed, and endurance. There are 40 essential rudiments. Some of the most popular are the single stroke roll, the double stroke roll, the paradiddle, the flam stroke, and the triple stroke roll.
Salsa - A mixture of up tempo Latin styles of music. The salsa is not an actual style of Latin music; it is a style of dance. One that has become increasingly popular over time. Up beat Latin patterns and beats played together create a salsa style groove.
Samba - A fast paced Latin style of music that is designed to create positive energy. The Samba is very similar to the Bossa Nova; however it is played at much faster tempos. One of the more popular Latin styles.
Sanford Moeller - The man responsible for creating the Moeller Method. Sanford Moeller was a drummer in the late 1800’s who took inspiration from army corps drummers to develop a method of playing the drums where you could maximize your control on your sticks and develop faster chops. To this day, his method is practiced by professionals all over the world.
Shuffle - A style of drumming played with a triplet feel. The shuffle is played in popular styles of music like blues, classic rock, and jazz. The shuffle feel can be played on the hi hats, the ride cymbal or double bass to drive the pattern. Check out this unique style of music here.
Sixteenth notes - A note played for the duration of 1/16 of a whole note. This note value is usually played quicker then the rest since it is small value. In drum notation, a sixteenth note has a stem and two flags.
Sixteenth Note Rest – A rest or break from playing for the duration of a 16th note. 16th note rests take place of an sixteenth note, and are located in the middle of the staff.
Slave Pedal - On a double bass pedal, the foot pedal with no beater attached to it. The slave pedal is the one that is played with your weaker foot. Most slave pedals will react differently then the main pedal; however adjustments can be made.
Snare Buzz - A sound created by vibrations on the snare wires on your snare drum. Snare buzz happens when you have a lot of access noise either from the band or your own drum set. The sound waves vibrate your snare wires causing a buzz sound that can pollute the song. Drum dampeners can help distinguish this; however every snare will buzz with the right frequencies.
Snare Drum - One of the most important drums in a drum kit. The snare drum is a drum similar to other drums; however on the bottom of the resonant head, there are snare wires that are stretched across. These wires give the sound of the drum a crack to it. This crack creates the pulse of most beats and patterns. There are many different types of snare drums that have different tones, and sounds.
Snare comping - Playing shots, accents, and hits on the snare drum to compliment the other musicians in a band. Comping is done in all styles of music, and is meant to accent the melodic instruments when they are soloing or playing certain pieces.
Snare Wires - A set of metal coils stretching across the resonant head of a snare drum. The snare wires are what give the snare drum its loud crack. The snare wires are connected to a clutch that can tighten or loosen the tension on the drum, which changes the sound.
Soca - Short for Soul Calypso, the Soca is a powerful style of Latin music that is designed to get people dancing. The Soca is 16th note based, and is always played up tempo.
Songo - A unique style of Latin music that is played with a linear feel. Another popular style that has a very fun sound to it. The cowbell and ride cymbal bell are used to drive the beat of a Songo.
Splash Cymbal - A smaller cymbal that produces a short, higher pitched sound. These usually range from 6 – 14 inches, and are used mainly for accents and shots. Splash cymbals are great additions to any drum set.
Stack cymbals - 2 cymbals placed on top of each other to create a short rhythmic sound. Stack cymbals were recently made popular by progressive rock aritists like Mike Portnoy. Stack cymbals usually consist of a China kang on top of a splash cymbal; however you can experiment with different kinds to create different sounds.
Staff - the set of horizontal lines and spaces in which notes are placed on sheet music. A staff is also known as a measure, or bar.
Stick grip - The style one holds the drum stick. There are many different types of stick grips, Traditional grip, American grip, Germanium grip, French grip, and Matched grip. There are certain ways to grip the stick, so make sure you know the correct way to hold your drumsticks.
Sub kick - A small amplifier that sits in front of a bass drum. This drum shaped microphone plugs into the sound board and amplifies the low ends of a bass drum. These look like small drums that are placed in front of a bass drum.
Syncopation - Adding emphasis on certain notes to liven a beat or rhythm up. Regular beats with the same accents can get boring; adding syncopation changes the feel by adding accents to places where you would not expect.
Tambourine - An instrument consisting of small metal jingles that make a short high pitched sound. These are usually played with the hand; however you can add them to any drum set.
Tango - A more elegant and classy style of Latin music. The tango utilizes the snare drum as it incorporates many common rudiments like the flam, drag, 5 stroke roll, and 9 stroke roll. The tango is an easier style to start out with.
Tension Rod - Screws that fit through the rim of a drum, and get screwed into the lugs of a drum. Tension rods are what hold the drum head and rim onto the drum. These also control the tuning of the drum, by tightening and loosening them, the tension on the skin changes.
Thirty-second Notes - a note played for the duration of 1/32nd of a whole note. These are usually played at very fast tempos, and take 32 notes to fill the time of a whole note.
Throne - A stool in which a drummer sits on. These re very important for drummers to use correctly, as the height and settings of the drum throne can make a big difference to their playing. There are many types of thrones, with many different areas to adjust.
Tie - A curved line used to join two notes together. These are usually tied together with a drum roll. Ties are used with brushes, and drum rolls, and look like a curved sideways bracket between two notes. A tie can sit on top, or below the notes.
Timbales - Shallow single headed drums that are tuned very high. These are smaller then tom toms, and are used mainly for melodic drumming and Latin drumming. The heads on a Timbale are usually tuned very tight.
Time signature - A fraction that determines how many beats are in each bar, and at which note value they are played in. For example, a 7/8 time signature would mean there are 7, eighth notes per measure. A time signature says a lot about the beat. Some examples are 4/4, 5/4, 7/8 and so on.
Traditional Grip - A style of holding your sticks in which your dominant hand uses American grip, while your weaker hand holds the stick upside down. The stick is held you’re your palm facing up, and the stick fitting in between the middle and ring finger. Most popular for jazz drummers, because you get a totally different feel on the drumstick.
Triplets - Grouping notes together in which the value of the original note is divided by three. Triplets are played in the same time signature and tempo as regular notes, but with a different feel. Triplets are identified with a small number “3” above the group of notes on sheet music.
Tom Tom - A drum that produces a certain tone. These drums are skinned on both ends, and are placed around the bass drum. Tom Toms can range in all different sizes, and can be tuned in any style. One of the most common drums on a drum set.
V-drums - Electric drums created by Roland. V-drums are the most popular type of electric drum set on the market. V-drums stand for Virtual drums, and are pads that are hit to create different voices from the drum module.
Wing Nut - A nut that screws on to the top of a cymbal stand to secure the cymbal on the stand. Wing nuts are very important, as they prevent the cymbal from flying off the stand. Wing nut tension is also important, as it can affect the sound and life of a cymbal.
Wood blocks - Wood cubes that are hollowed out to create a certain tone. Wood blocks are percussion instruments that can be played in all styles of music; however the yare most popular in Latin music. The sounds of wood blocks change depending on the size and thickness of the blocks.
Woofer - An acoustic drum that sits in front of a bass drum to amplify the low ends of the bass drum. Similar to a sub kick, the woofer is not played. Woofers are not plugged into anything. They are usually the same diameter of the bass drum, and look like an extension to the bass drum.
X-fill - A popular fill named “x-fill” by Jared Falk. This fill is very effective and unique as it moves across the toms and snare of the drum set in a smooth fashion that looks very hard to do.