Pataflafla - Drum Rudiment

The pataflafla was originally used by the French military. The pataflafla was later imported to the Swiss style of rudimental drumming. The pataflafla was traditionally played as a four-note 16th note pattern starting on the "e" of count 1 and ending on count 2. It featured two single strokes (pata) followed by two hand-to-hand flams (flafla) – hence its name. The pataflafla we play today is a "modern" interpretation of the traditional way of approaching it, and is also one of the 40 International Drum Rudiments since 1984. The Percussive Arts Society (P.A.S.) was responsible for its inclusion, after settling on the expansion of the 26 drum rudiments with orchestral, drum corps, European, and contemporary drum rudiments.

The pataflafla combines a 16th note single stroke roll, with hand-to-hand flams on the quarter notes and on the "ahs". The pataflafla played at faster tempos sounds pretty much like a Brazilian samba pattern. Having a solid understanding of flams and the single stroke roll will help you master the pataflafla way faster. The pataflafla does not alternate within itself. Make sure you learn how to play the pataflafla leading with both hands.


Once you feel confident with the pataflafla, you can move on to learn how to apply the pataflafla to drum beats and drum fills.

Exercise #1 is a two-handed 16th note drum beat. Just like we did with previous drum beats, start by playing the drum rudiment on the hi-hat for the four counts. When this feels comfortable to you, move the flams on counts 2 and 4 to the snare drum and add the bass drum on counts 1 and 3.

Pataflafla #1

Exercise #2 is a 16th note drum beat where the pataflafla is combined with a samba based bass drum pattern. This drum beat is pretty much like the previous one. You just have to take exercise #1, move the flams on the "ah" of counts 1 and 3 to the snare drum, and add extra bass drum strokes to the "ah" of counts 2 and 4.

Pataflafla #2

Exercise #3 is a 16th note drum fill based around drum set batucada or samba de carnaval (carnival samba) patterns. Batucada patterns are played on the drum set as 16th note accent patterns. These accents are mostly moved around the toms. Therefore, the pataflafla is a very cool drum rudiment to recreate this type of feel. The main difference between the pataflafla and batucada patterns is the use of flams instead of accents. Play this drum fill with your stronger hand leading; it will be much easier to get to the floor tom this way.

Pataflafla #3

Exercise #4 is a 16th note drum fill. Taking a look at the sheet music below, you can see that on the "ah" of each count you have to move to a different drum. Since you're going from the right side of the kit (floor tom) to the center of the kit (hi-tom) it comes in handy to move to a new drum with the weaker hand. This is so because this way you won't have to cross your arms. You can achieve this by leading this pattern with the stronger hand.

Pataflafla #4

Once you're done with the pataflafla, check the free drum lesson on the flam drag. If you've checked that lesson already, then move on to the free drum lesson on the drag ruff instead.