Part 3: The Double Drag Tap
Welcome to the third column of our Rudimental Codex series, which focuses on an alternative collection of rudiments based on an ancient European legacy of drumming. If you’ve worked through the first two parts, we hope that the French- and Swiss–style flams we discussed opened your mind to many new phrasing options.
This month we’ll be looking at another classic rudiments the double drag, which is also called the double drag tap. In the original European tradition, this phrase is referred to as “tagwachtstreich” (which is Swiss German for “reveille stroke”) or “diane” in French. The pattern was part of the routine to wake up soldiers in the morning, and in the American/English tradition it has been used for the dinner call to bring soldiers in for their midday meal.
I think of drag rudiments as the smallest form of a roll. Both the French and the Swiss traditional schools of rudimental drumming call the half drag a three-stroke roll. That said, the doubles used in drag rudiments should have no difference in rhythmic interpretation as those used in longer double-stroke rudiments, like the five-stroke roll. The classic mistake is to phrase drag rudiments with overly dense (or tight) double strokes. An accurate interpretation of the double drag tap should be more flowing and open and would resolve somewhere close to quintuplets, as illustrated below.
The Double Drag Tap Notation
It’s important to note that any piece of written music is subject to interpretation, regardless of style or genre. The traditional Swiss and French schools of rudimental drumming phrase the double drag as notated above. This interpretation opens up the possibility to create reversed or inverted versions of the rudiment, as notated below.
Reversed Double Drag Tap, Option 1
Reversed Double Drag Tap, Option 2
There are additional ways to build inverted versions of the double drag tap that create some very hip and modern-sounding patterns. Since the phrase is made up of seven strokes, the following exercises show the double drag tap starting on each of the seven positions. The last two exercises show how you could phrase the five-note grouping of the double drag tap within 16th-note and sextuplet subdivisions.
You might want to precede each exercise with one measure of hand-to-hand quintuplets. Tap quarter notes with your foot to maintain a solid pulse. Use a metronome, and watch yourself in a mirror or record a video to help evaluate your accuracy. A download of the complete Rudimental Codex poster is available for free at https://www.percussion-creativ.de.
Claus Hessler is an author, educator, and international clinician. He endorses Mapex, Sabian, Promark, Evans, Ahead, Gon Bops, and Drummer Shoe products. For more information, visit claushessler.com.