Definition and background:
Pattern or order of striking sticks to a drum. The patterns will indicate which hand is used to initiate the stroke for each note of the pattern. An " L" beneath (or over) the note indicates that the left hand is to be used and an " R" beneath (or over) the note indicates that the right hand is to be used. One exception to this is the group of multiple bounce rolls. With these rolls, a series of " L's " or " R's " indicate the number bounces of the drumstick after the initial stroke. The first " L" or " R" indicates the initial stroke and all subsequent letters indicating the same hand would indicate bounces.
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary