This excerpt is taken from the complete article that appears in the August 2015 issue, which can be purchased at:

Strictly Technique

 Pataflafla Hemiolas

Straight and Alternating Versions Over Half-Note Triplets

by Bill Bachman

This month we’re going to add the pataflafla (a rudiment consisting of two adjacent flams) to some two-accent hemiola patterns to give us a rhythmic and rudimental challenge. In its most basic form, a hemiola is a pattern based on the three-against-two polyrhythm so that it creates a new pulse over the original tempo.

For these exercises we’ll use an accent pattern based on the half-note triplet. A half-note triplet is three half notes taking the place of two half notes, so in the exercises there will be three half-note triplets played within a bar of 4/4 time. An easy way to uncover this rhythm is to play a bar of 8th-note triplets in 4/4 and accent every fourth note. If you then add a second accent adjacent to the first, you’ll have the accent pattern that we’re going to manipulate with flams. We will then shift these accent patterns to each of the four possible positions within a bar of 4/4 time.

The pataflafla consists of two adjacent accented flams. It’s one of the more challenging rudiments, since each hand plays a different part and requires a different technical approach. (Check out my lesson in the May 2015 issue for more on the technical requirements of the pataflafla.) As the pataflafla moves into the different rhythmic positions, the technical demands to play the flams will change. To negotiate the accented flams at a medium tempo and up, you’ll need to use all four methods of approaching accent/tap patterns, including the four basic strokes (full, down, tap, and up), the no-chop flop-and-drop, the Moeller whip-and-flop, and the Moeller whip-and-stop.


For more insight into these techniques, and for transcriptions of the exercises demonstrated in the video, check out the August 2015 issue, which can be purchased at:

Learn more about the August 2015 issue