Canadian Musician - May-June 2022 - Page 62


By Jerome Jarvis

Applying the Rudiments , Part 3

In parts one and two , we ’ ve covered the two most important rudiments ( the single and double stroke rolls ), so we can move beyond basics and look at some of the more exalted ways in which these simple elements can be combined to create music .

So , the third rudiment we ’ re going to explore will be : The Paradiddle . It ’ s the drum exercise with the funny-sounding name , in that it sounds like the way it ’ s played . It ’ s a combination of the two types of strokes that we ’ ve looked at so far in a bar of 4 / 4 . Two single strokes ( R L ) followed immediately by one set of double strokes ( L L ).
And then the same pattern in a mirror image ( starting ): [: L R L L R L R R :]
Put them together and what have you got ? A steady stream of eighth notes that should sound something like :“ Pa ra di ddle Para diddle .”
Note : Bold-face L or R indicates an accent on that hand . 4 / 4 [: R L R R L R L L :]
The beauty of this geometric gem of a sticking pattern is that , like a mobius strip , it turns itself inside out and repeats itself in retrograde motion . And incidentally , as a side effect of the way its constructed , the sticking automatically causes the first of each set of four eighth notes to be accented . This is a most useful effect and one that makes this rudiment a keystone to a whole new set of constructed rhythm patterns .
The key to the paradiddle ’ s success is the double stroke , which gives the drummer just a bit of extra time to raise the stick a bit higher so they can come down on the downbeat with more force to play an accented beat on “ one .”
With a bit of practice , you can be paradiddling to beat the band , and exploring the many musical variations of this simply elegant construction .
So welcome to the Paradiddle family – there are many ways of reconfiguring the arrangement of single / double strokes into new patterns in different time signatures ; or building all new rhythms in 4 / 4 time .
For instance , the double paradiddle works itself out in 3 / 4 time or six eighth notes per measure ( 1 an a 2 an a 1an a 2 an a ). Try : 6 / 8 [: R L R L R R | L R L R L L :], which which sounds like , “ Para Para diddle Para Para diddle ,” which adds up to six eighth notes per measure .
This triplet roll has some neatly placed accents : 6 / 8 [: ONE an A two an a ONE an A two an a :].
As well as the ever-useful “ double paradiddle ,” there ’ s also a “ triple paradiddle ,” which actually plays out in 4 / 4 : “ Para Para Paradiddle ” ( etc .).
And theoretically , any number of single strokes can be followed by a double stroke to create an odd-numbered set of “ diddles ,” but these have a rather limited usage . So , let ’ s skip the quadruple , quintuple , and other multi-tuple diddles – you can always tack on a double stroke to the end of any single stroke roll and you have another type of “ diddle .”
Far more interesting are the paradiddle inversions , of which there are four variations . The first is really no inversion at all – just a straight eighth note roll with the accent on “ one .”
All of these rolls put the emphasis on the first beat of the bar ; but the “ one ” of the paradiddle sticking progresses through the bar to give each pattern a unique feel . So , [: R L R R L R L L :], which sounds like “ Para diddle Para diddle .
It ’ s pretty boring musically , but it ’ s a place to start warming up the hands . Use the bounce of the double stroke to gain speed and fluidity of motion . The double stroke will save you energy and let the fingers relax . ( Let ’ s not confuse these exercises with “ playing music .”)
A slight digression , regarding the term “ exercise ”: When I was young , I would practice daily on my drum pads , watching for wobbly sticks and keeping time with the metronome , bored and absorbed in the mechanics . One day , while I was drilling the paradiddles , my whole sense of being shifted . Suddenly , I wasn ’ t the guy swinging the sticks , but rather the paradiddle existed in time and space , prior to my appearance on the set . I found myself in a completely relaxed , uninvolved state , as if I was the observer rather than the player . This is what we strive for in our repetitions — not the building of muscle , but mapping muscle memory till the motions become habitual and unconscious .
The second inversion is where things get more interesting : [: R L L R L R R L :]. Play this as a continuous roll with the accent on “ one .”
Third inversion : [: R R L R L L R L :] This has a nice rolling feel with the down beat falling on the first beat of the double stroke .
Fourth inversion : [: R L R L L R L R :]. This puts the accent on the second stroke of the pair . You ’ ll need to snap the wrist to make this second beat louder . Play the right hand of this figure on a cowbell or some such , with the left on a high tom or snare .
Now , using these variations of a simple bar of 4 / 4 will give us some new patterns to work through . You may notice how the accented beat “ one ” progresses through the bar with each new inversion and emphasizes a different , syncopated rhythm .
There are many ways of playing and using these inversions in a musical setting . Try keeping the left hand on the snare drum and then moving the right hand around the kit – you ’ ll hear the melodic phrases more clearly and may be inspired to find your own way of using these simple motifs in your playing . Try playing the right hand with the kick drum and left on the snare — you ’ ll find new patterns of bass and snare interplay you may never have guessed at .
Have fun , keep exploring and find your own way of grooving with these patterns .
Jerome Jarvis is a composer , author , teacher , producer , and session musician . Over the 50 + years of his professional career he has performed and recorded with artists such as Stan Rogers , Valdy , and more . www . jeromejarvis . com .