The Hairta and Its Application on the Drumset
Hybrid rudiments are permutations, mixtures, or combinations of the classic forty rudiments established by the Percussive Arts Society. In this article we’ll take a look at how one of the more widely recognized hybrid rudiments, the hairta, has been utilized in musical styles from bebop to metal.
The hairta is most commonly articulated as an 8th-note triplet subdivided into two 16th notes followed by two 8th notes. This subdivision can be applied within any rhythmic context.
As with any rudiment, practicing the hairta from slow to fast, from fast to slow, from soft to loud, and from loud to soft are good ways to develop muscle memory and dexterity. The exercises presented here will help you gain control of the hairta.
The following exercise should be practiced at very slow tempos (40–80 bpm), because it progresses up to dense rhythmic subdivisions.
You can also add accents to the hairta to create dynamic contour within the rudiment.
The following transcriptions showcase various ways that the hairta can be applied to the drumset.
Here’s how Tomas Haake plays the hairta on the Meshuggah track “Bleed.” The tune centers on a 32nd- to 16th-note double bass hairta variation juxtaposed against a half-time rock groove. (0:00)
Steve Gadd uses the hairta to great effect (at 9:03) on the Chick Corea track “Samba Song.” Gadd articulates the hairta on the snare drum, with the third note being played on a cowbell.
Hard-bop legend Jimmy Cobb uses the hairta to create little flourishes within more melodic solo phrases on the classic Wes Montgomery/Wynton Kelly track “Four on Six.” (5:14)
The possibilities for playing the hairta on the drumset are infinite, and there are plenty more examples of this distinctive rudiment being used very creatively. Fusion great Billy Cobham and pop drummer Carter Beauford, for instance, often use the hairta to create excitement and tension in their solos and fills. Once you’ve learned how other drummers have incorporated this powerful hybrid rudiment into their playing, try experimenting with some of your own variations. Good luck!