The snare drum rudiments are a standard set of exercises used to build drum technique and stick control. Drum rudiments were not specifically invented for the drum set, but are important to playing the individual drums from which the set is made and learning how to control the sticks. Also, some rudiments can be practiced and applied on more than one drum.
Like the snare drum, drum rudiments were originally developed in military bands. Rudiments are thought to have been first used by the Swiss in the 14th century, and were brought to America by the British during the Revolutionary War.
The first effort to standardize drum rudiments was made in 1933. That year, thirteen top American drummers convened for a one day conference in Chicago, Illinois. The outcome of this conference was the creation of the National Association of Rudimental Drummers (NARD), an organization dedicated to the standardization of drum rudiments. NARD’s standard includes the Thirteen Essential Rudiments and the Twenty-Six Standard American Drum Rudiments, which include the prior thirteen and thirteen extra ones called auxiliary rudiments.
In the late 20th century, the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) came out with a new list of 40 standard rudiments, which includes NARD’s original 26. PAS was established in 1961 as a service organization to promote percussive education. The new list of rudiments was the outcome of a 5 year research project initiated by PAS, and it was designed to modernize the drum rudiment vocabulary to encompass many of the styles used in contemporary music.