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Matt Albano

Mrs. Wolcott
February 17, 2015
Genre Analysis
Since I was young my family has consistently participated in a family movie night. It was
my turn this weekend to pick the movie so my dad asked “What genre?” This mediocre example
of misunderstanding genre is what Amy Devitt, an associate professor at the University of
Kansas, was referring to in her article “Generalizing about Genre”. When my dad was asking
“What genre?” he was referring to the content or form of the movie such as scary, romantic,
comedic etc… Devitt mentions that genre should not be seen as a form but utilizes form as a way
to help us understand the genre. (Devitt 574) Devitt refers to genre as the text type resulting from
a repeated rhetorical situation. It is important to understand that the rhetorical situations and
genre are dependent on one another because the repeated rhetorical situations are how something
is created and that the genre makes you do something.
Anis Bawarshi, a professor of Rhetorical Genre Theory and Invention at the University of
Washington, has a great example of showing the relationship between rhetorical situations and
genre by completing a genre analysis on medical forms in the article “Materiality and Genre in
the Study of Discourse Communities”. He explains that when we fill out a medical form there
are similar questions on each one: name, date, insurance information etc… these repeated
questions or rhetorical situations resulted in the construction of the medical form genre. Later we
understand that these rhetorical situations that make up the genre are designed to serve a general
discourse community. In Barwashi’s section of the article he mentions that a genre analysis can

give us access to the language used in the discourse community; Genre analysis can allow people
to effectively communicate within a discourse community, granting people the same feeling of
belong, i.e. learning a language. My central discourse community that I will be addressing is the
percussion community and I will be analyzing the genre of drum rudiment posters/ webpages in
order to show the relationship between a genre and its discourse community.
What is a rudiment?
The term rudiment in the percussion community is a subject area that focuses on
common musical patterns that percussionists will see in repertoire. There are 4 main rudiment
families in the percussion community: roll, diddle, flam, drag. Total there are 40 specific
rudiments that fall under the 4 main rudiments. It gets more complicated after people realized
that they could combine rudiments aka hybrid-rudiments but these will rarely be mentioned
beyond this point.
How were these rudiments selected?
All of the posters or webpages that I am using to analyze are based off of the “Forty
International Drum Rudiments’ standardized by the Percussive Arts Society (PAS), a music
service organization promoting
percussion education, research,
performance and appreciation
throughout the world. These
rudiments have been proven to be
the staple rudiments of
percussion through a plethora of method books that go into detail about the mechanics and
technique used to successfully achieve these rudiments.

How are these rudiments featured in the percussion community?
People who are involved in marketing percussion equipment understand that rudiments
are a needed skill as a percussionist so most of these companies have made their own charts,
posters, web pages and books based on PAS’s 40 International Drum rudiments.
Vic Firth poster
Last semester I attended an international percussion convention that had a room filled
with booths that were dedicated to percussion merchandise, companies and products. The first
booth that I stopped at was the Vic Firth percussion booth where I was given a free rudiment
poster. Vic Firth is a famous and successful stick company that is known by almost every
percussionist around the world.
This poster was an average size
poster that had the purpose to be hung up
in a room for a percussionist to learn,
practice and/ or review his/ her rudiments.
At my first glance at the poster the first
section of the poster that catches my eye
was the RUDIMENTS title followed by
the Vic Firth logo, next I’m drawn to the
bottom where the pictures and names of
the sticks are finally looking at the
rudiments. After skimming the poster a
couple of times I found a title in a smaller

font that gives credit to the Percussive Art Society for the 40 rudiments.
The logo and rudiment title were the biggest because it allowed me to know what the topic of the
text is and who I can give the credit to. The sticks were the second biggest item on the poster to
help promote advertisement because Vic Firth wanted me to believe that I could play the
rudiments with their sticks.

I want to take a moment to focus on how the rudiments on this medium are displayed and
organized for anyone to see. The consistent pattern is the number and name of the rudiment, a
picture of the rudiment and under that a suggested sticking pattern that makes the rudiment

There are a couple limiting factors about how this document is organized that can narrow
down the discourse community. The poster has music notation to aid in reading the rudiment but
if a new percussionist or non-musician tries to practice their rudiments they would have a
difficult time understanding how to play the rudiment because they cannot read music in general.
This poster also doesn’t display any way to technically achieve the rudiment. Percussionists have
to learn the 4 basic types of strokes (Full, Down, Tap, Up)

in order to make the appropriate gestures and sounds so if I were to reference this poster to a new
percussionist they would create a lot of bad technical habits that would guarantee no success in
the ability to play the rudiments correctly. Although a poster can only cover so much

information, remember the purpose of this poster was to learn, practice and review the rudiments
but in this case it would have to be for a discourse that had basic music literacy and knowledge/
understanding of the 4 major strokes in percussion.
Lone Star Poster
When I was at the percussion
convention I made a trip to the Lone Star
Percussion booth where I was given another
free rudimental poster but their version. Lone
star is a well-known percussion store based in
Texas that sells percussion equipment
including instruments, music and stick such
as Vic Firth products.
The poster itself was exactly the same
size as the Vic Firth poster but was organized
and featured different items. The sections that
are most noticeable begin at the top with the
RUDIMENTS title, next the Percussive Arts
Society title, the Lone Star logo and then the statement that says “Includes both music and drum
speak versions” I am then drawn to the bottom where I see the company’s slogan “We Speak
Drum”, another Lone Star percussion logo and their contact/ location information. The next and
last sections I look at are the rudiments and the blurb at the bottom giving tips on how to practice
these rudiments.

Once again this poster advertises the topic, company logo and credentials over the actual
content worth looking at so the person reading this poster can view Lone Star percussion as a
more credible and reliable source for percussion related needs. However there are no specific
advertisements to products like Vic Firth had because if they were to feature a specific
company’s product in the poster then there would be an unfair advantage against the other
competing manufacturers that Lone Star features.
The rudiments are also organized in an almost identical matter. The number/ name of the
rudiment, the picture of the rudiments, the suggested stickings and the only difference is the
drum speak bellow the stickings. Drum speak has developed over time in the percussion realm
that has made percussionist believe the popular saying “If you can think it, say it then you can
play it!” Lone Star most likely incorporated the drum speak to accommodate their slogan “We
speak drum”

I believe the limitations on this poster are the same from the Vic Firth Poster with the
added drum speaking bonus and tip on how to approach practicing the rudiments.

Vic Firth Website
After finding a webpage on the Vic Firth website that was purely dedicated to breaking
down the rudiments I felt that Vic Firth had redeemed itself in trying to teach people their
rudiments. On the rudiment home page I am drawn to the Vic Firth logo, rudiment related title,

the introductory paragraph then the 4 rudiment family titles, the sub-rudiment titles and then the
individual rudiment title links.
Some different characteristics
between this web page and the last
two posters are the intro that explains
the purpose and application method
behind the rudiments and how the
web page is trying to aid the
percussionist’s ability in learning
their basic rudiments. Another
different characteristic is the
categorization of the rudiments; the biggest title for the rudiments is the 4 rudiment families and
under them are the individual rudiments. I believe categorizing the rudiments under their
rudiment family is the best way to organize them so that the
student can see the relation between different rudiments.
After clicking on the rudiment link it brings you to a
separate page that breaks down the rudiment to the basics by
featuring videos that demonstrate the types of strokes needed to
achieve the rudiment. The highlights of this page from largest
to smallest go from the title (name of the rudiment), videos,
rudiment, application, and play along track options. It was
fairly simple to follow the steps I should take in order to

practice my rudiments because the steps were displayed linearly.
There are very few limiting factors in this medium because there are more opportunities
to display more information on a webpage with links instead of on a single piece of paper. The
only limiting factor that this web page has is there is no guide that teaches how to read notation.
However I did find a web page that does delve into learning how to read music.
Repeated Rhetorical Situations
The repeated rhetorical situations included Company name, logo, giving credit to the
Percussive Arts Society, the rudiments and their stickings. By analyzing these repeated rhetorical
situations I am able to tell that the discourse community is percussion related from all of the
percussion logos and related words and that the genre is drum rudiments because that is the
central repeated focus in each text.
These repeated rhetorical situations are what make up the rudiment genre and the genre is
what generates the discourse within the discourse community. As a percussionist it is imperative
to understand the terminology and rudiment slang used by other drummers such as “para-diddle”
to increase awareness of patterns within the music.

Works Cited

Devitt, Amy J. Generalizing About Genre: New Conceptions of an Old Concept.College
Composition and Communication. 4th ed. Vol. 44. N.p.: National Council of Teachers of
English, 1993. 573-86. Print.

Devitt, Amy J., Anis Barwashi, and Mary J. Reiff. "Materiality and Genre in the Study of
Discourse Communities." Materiality and Genre in the Study of Discourse
Communities 65.5 (2003): 541-58. National Council of Teachers of English. Web.
Percussive Arts Society's 40 International Snare Drum Rudiments. N.d. Web. 18
Feb. 2015. <>.
The Percussive Art Society's 40 Drum Rudimemts. N.d. Dallas Texas.
Web. 18 Feb. 2015. <>.
"Vic Firth Presents: 40 Essential Rudiments." Vic Firth Presents: 40 Essential Rudiments. John
Wooton, n.d. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.

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