Friday, 8 June 2018

Do it yourself "rute".

In ten days, rehearsals for Mahler #6 will start. I´ll be in charge of the bass drum and, as you may know, there´s a European tradition which ties together this instrument and the rute. A rute is a bunch of twigs used to hit the bass drum shell, resulting in a very peculiar sound. Its origins go back to the davul (you can check my article HERE), an ancestor of the BD, played using a mallet in one hand and a very thin "spaghetto shaped" twig in the other. This tradition continued with the bass drum, and that sound and way of playing lived on (still lives on) in certain parts of Europe. Mahler, Strauss, Stravinsky..., are composers who wrote for rute.  

As I prepare for the rehearsals, I want to have as many options as possible. I own a pair of large rutes I got for almost nothing (which you already heard when the Asturias Symphony last played Haydn´s "Military Symphony"), plus some Promark Hot Rods and Vic Firth Rute505. Looking ahead, just in case the large ones produce too much sound or the others too little, I decided to make something in between so I can have all the colours in a complete palette. I got, for €2 each, a couple of these in the decoration/garden aisle of a store:

© David Valdés

Lenght and thicknes were perfect for a rute.

© David Valdés

I put both together and saw the resulting one. They were originally 80cm (31.5"), so I got two 16" bunches (almost), a very common stick lenght. Perfect!

© David Valdés

I also got some electrical tape (€1), which I used to make a "handle" and keep everything together. Voilà! A perfect Mahler rute.

© David Valdés

As you can see, there´s nothing new under the sun. All those ubiquitous trendy and cool sticks you can see on cajons, drumsets..., are something which has been around for centuries. Obviously, you can use them on everything you fancy: imagination and taste are the only limits.

For as little as €4,05 I made some very nice rutes. Will that ridiculous price keep you from experimenting? 😉 Please tell me about your experiences with this kind of beaters. I promess to upload a video in a week or so.

…et in Arcadia ego.
© David Valdés

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