This post is excerpted from the complete article that appears in the May 2015 issue.
Exercises for Developing a Challenging Yet Musical Rudiment
by Bill Bachman
One of the most beneficial of the forty PAS rudiments is the pataflafla. It’s one of the few where each hand plays a totally different part. The leading hand uses what I call the Moeller whip-and-stop technique, and the secondary hand uses what I call the no-chop flop-and-drop technique. Playing a rudiment with the weaker hand leading usually involves just a mental switch, but now there’s a physical learning curve as well.
When you dissect the pataflafla, you’ll find that the lead hand plays two low taps immediately preceding an accent. When you play the rudiment slowly, there’s plenty of time to execute the three consecutive notes as a tap, upstroke, and downstroke, using the wrists. At a medium speed and up, there isn’t enough time to play the upstroke without tension and/or a rhythmic gap before the accent, so we’ll replace the wrist motion with a forearm motion: the Moeller whip stroke. After the accent, there’s time to stop the stick low to the drum before starting the process over, so we’ll call it the Moeller whip-and-stop motion.
In the exercise, we’ll play pataflaflas with just the leading hand, then with both, then with just the secondary hand, and then with both again. It’s a good idea to also play this with each hand on a different surface in order to make sure there’s no change in the motion as the hands go from solo to coordinated. For an additional challenge, try counting each hand’s part out loud.
For more on the pataflafla, including notation of the exercises contained in the video below, check out the complete article in the May 2015 issue, which is available here.