Learn To Play The Pataflafla Drum Rudiment!

The pataflafla is a drum rudiment that was originally used by the French military before being imported to the Swiss style of rudimental drumming. The pataflafla we play today is a "modern" interpretation of the traditional way of approaching it. Originally, the pataflafla was played as a 16th note pattern starting on the "e" of count 1 and ending on count 2. It started with two single strokes (pata) followed by two hand-to-hand flams (flafla) – hence its name.

Taking a look at the sheet music below, you can see that the pataflafla combines a 16th note single stroke roll, with flams on the quarter notes and on the "ahs". This is the "modern" way of performing the pataflafla, and the one you'll be learning how to play and apply to the drum set with this free drum lesson. Knowing how to play the single stroke roll and hand-to-hand flams will make your life way easier when learning how to play the pataflafla. The pataflafla does not alternate within itself, so make sure you learn how to play the pataflafla leading with both hands.


Exercise #1 is a two-handed 16th note drum beat. The pataflaflas are scattered between the snare drum and the hi-hat. Start by playing hand-to-hand pataflaflas on the hi-hat. When this feels comfortable to you, move the flams on counts 2 and 4 to the snare drum. Once you've mastered it, add the bass drum on counts 1 and 3.

Pataflafla #1

Exercise #2 is another 16th note drum beat. By combining the pataflafla with a samba based bass drum pattern, this drum beat has a very strong samba feel attached to it. To master this exercise you just have to take the previous exercise, move the flams on the "ah" of counts 1 and 3 to the snare, and add extra bass drum strokes to the "ah" of counts 2 and 4.

Pataflafla #2

Exercise #3 is a 16th note drum fill based around patterns used on the drum set for playing a Brazilian style of samba known as batucada or samba de carnaval (carnival samba). Batucada patterns are played on the drum set as 16th note accent patterns - the accents are mostly played around the toms. The pataflafla is an awesome drum rudiment to recreate this type of feel. The main difference here is that the pataflafla uses flams instead of accents. Once you've mastered this drum fill, try moving the flams around the drums to get new batucada based drum fills.

Pataflafla #3

Exercise #4 is a 16th note drum fill. Leading this pattern with the right hand makes it easier to move around the drums, since you're going from the right side of the kit (floor tom) to the center of the kit (hi-tom).

Pataflafla #4

Once you're able to play the pataflafla and the exercises herein accurately, you can move on to further expand your knowledge on the drum rudiments. We encourage you to check the free drum lessons on the single paradiddle and on the drag ruff next.