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Parade Drums

Marching snare drums (parade snare drums) are deeper in size than snares normally used for orchestral or drum kit purposes. This gives the drum the big, full sound necessary for outdoor use. Standard sizes (listed as diameter x depth) are 13x11 and 14x12 inches. They can weigh anywhere from 16-45 lb. Smaller sizes such as 13x9 have become increasingly popular in recent times with the proliferation of indoor drum lines.
The modern "high tension" snare was developed in response to the higher head tensions made possible with the development of Kevlar and other high strength fibers bonded into the drum head. These high tension drums were first developed for pipe band snare drums. High tension drums began and were perfected in the pipe band market and later moved into the marching band and drum corps areas. The bottom (or resonant) side of the drum has a tightly tuned head and synthetic gut or metal snare wires, which are often secured to the drum using a strainer to limit their movement and make the sound more staccato. For outdoor use, a piece of curved plastic, called a "scoop," may be attached to the back of the bottom hoop to help project the sound forward to the audience. In 2001 Lefima created the lightest high-tension snare drum called “PowerSnare”.
Snare lines vary in size from as few as 2 or 3 drummers in small high school marching bands to as many as 12 or more in very large college marching bands. Lines of 4–5 are common in high school marching bands; 7–10 is most common in drum corps and college marching bands. The snare drum section is part of the "upper battery" or "flat battery", which refers to the snare drums and tenor drums.
The lead snare player in a battery is almost universally referred to as the "center snare" and is often the drum captain (leader of the battery and sometimes the front ensemble) and the snare "section leader." In modern competitive drum lines, the center snare has many duties to keep the musical aspect running smoothly during a performance. The other members of the snare section will "listen in" to the center for dynamic and timing interpretation of their parts. They are instructed to play "like your center". Center snare will determine stick heights (which affect dynamics) as well as actual stickings of patterns that are unclear, (much like the concertmaster in an orchestra determines bowings).
Another element the center snare is part of is the control and determination of on-field and parade tempos for the whole corps or band. This is done by having certain communications with the drum major. In this situation, the drum major will watch the feet of the center snare, and get their tempo from this. The rest of the corps is listening back to the group furthest back (and/or the battery) and watching the drum major for the tempo.
While marching on and off of the field, and while marching in a parade, the center snare will play on beats 1, 3, and 5 and will often invent a complex-sounding yet simple "tap-off" to signal the battery to play the cadence, or street beat. The other members of the battery are listening into their "centers", (there is also a center tenor), with the bass drums sometimes getting tempo from the feet of the group immediately in front of them.
Snare drums used in pipe bands are similar in construction to standard marching snare drums, with two key differences. First, the drum has an additional set of snares, directly under the batter (top) head. Second, the snares under the bottom head are made of coiled steel wires, similar to a drumset (as opposed to the synthetic "gut" snares on a corps-style drum). These differences tend to give the pipe drums a "snappier" snare sound, emphasizing the higher frequencies of the drum. Recently, corps-style drums have been produced with steel wire snares underneath the batter head (while remaining the gut snares under the bottom head). These snares are able to be switched on and off separate from the bottom snares, which allows units to use the second snares as a specific effect or as a permanent modification to the sound of the drum.
There are two common types of grips for holding the sticks used to play a marching snare; traditional and matched. When playing matched grip, both hands of the drummer hold their respective stick in the same way, thus the name "matched grip." The stick is held between the thumb and index finger to form a fulcrum. The rest of the fingers loosely wrap around the rest of the stick. Traditional grip is, of course, the traditional grip for snare drum. Snare drums were traditionally slung around the drummer in a way so that the left side of the drum was tilted much higher than the right side. In order to play in a comfortable position, the drummer flipped his left hand over so that his palm faced upward. The traditional grip involves holding the stick in the left hand between the thumb and index finger and resting the stick on the ring finger. The right hand is held in the same way as the matched grip.
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