Paradiddles? 13 stroke rolls? You will find terms like these floating around any drum corps of a pipe band! Typically, the drum corps is comprised of Highland snare drums, tenor drums and a bass drum. Together these drums are responsible for creating a sense of pulse and driving rhythms that propel the music forward. The line played by the drum corps is based on rudimentary patterns, which are enhanced with decorative rhythmic elements. A common form practiced by the drum corps is that one lead snare drummer plays a phrase and the remaining snare drummers respond in an echo of that phrase. This technique is often referred to as seconds (also as chips, or forte). The standard practice in pipe bands is for the pipe section to perform traditional (standard) arrangements of melodies, however the lead drummer is often responsible for creating the drum score. In a competitive setting, the Ensemble Adjudicator focuses specifically on how well the drum corps compliments and fits with the piping score.
The snare drummers are responsible for creating those crisp, often technically demanding, rhythm patterns which have become an integral sound in the overall production of a modern pipe band.
Tenor drummers and a bass drummer create the midsection or bass section of the band. Their primary role is to keep time on the downbeats and strong beats of the bar. They will also add accents and dynamic interest while providing support to the entire ensemble.
Tenor drums, which are pitched, often include flourishes in their performance and create a flow between the drum section and the pipe section. Up to 5 or 6 tenor drummers in the midsection can provide different harmonies and aural interest in different situations as the music demands.
The bass drummer and the pipe major of a band communicate with each other continuously during a performance to keep the continuity of the beat through tempo changes and to keep the pulse constant during medleys.