This month we’ll play a paradiddle ostinato and explore several different approaches and orchestration ideas while interpreting a single page of rhythm. Here’s the rhythm we’ll be using in this lesson.

Play continuous 16th notes on the snare using a paradiddle sticking while reading the written rhythms on the bass drum. For now, avoid accenting the paradiddles.

Once you’re comfortable with Exercise 2, add an accent pattern to the paradiddle ostinato. Here’s an example with an accent on every second note of the paradiddle. Practice accenting the first, third, and fourth notes as well.

Now let’s play the paradiddle ostinato with the right hand on the hi-hat and left hand on the snare. Again, experiment with accents. In the following example, we’ll accent the first note of each paradiddle.

You can combine both of the previous accent variations into a one-bar paradiddle ostinato by accenting the first note on beats 1 and 2 and the second note on beats 3 and 4.

For another variation, move your right hand to the ride and your left to the hi-hat. Play any right-hand accents on the floor tom and any left-hand accents on the snare. Here’s an example with accents placed on the first note of each paradiddle.

And here’s an example with accents on the second note of each paradiddle.

You can also combine the accents on the first and second paradiddle partials. Experiment with other variations—there are plenty to explore.

In this next example, move the paradiddle to the feet while reading the rhythms in Exercise 1 with the hands.

The paradiddle ostinato can be played between any two limbs. Exercise 10 splits the pattern between the left hand and left foot. Try reading Exercise 1 with the right hand on the ride cymbal or any other voice you prefer. Then experiment with other limb combinations.


Libor Hadrava is the author of the book In-Depth Rhythm Studies: Advanced Metronome Functions. He also plays with Boston metal band Nascent and is an endorsing artist for Evans, Vater, Dream, Pearl, and Ultimate Ears. For more info, visit liborhadrava.com.