Learn How To Play The Pataflafla Drum Rudiment!

On this free drum lesson we’ll be taking a look at another one of the flam based drum rudiments - the pataflata. In the video, Lionel Duperron teaches how to play the pataflafla and how to apply it to a couple of drum beats and drum fills.

The pataflafla has one of the strangest names in the 40 drum rudiments. Taking a look at the sheet music below, you can see that it’s a combination of a 16th note single stroke roll with flams added on the “ahs” and on all quarter notes. The pataflafla played at faster tempos sounds pretty much like a Brazilian a samba pattern.


It’s important you have a solid understanding on how to play a single stroke roll and hand-to-hand flams accurately, before taking on the pataflafla. This is one of the most demanding drum rudiments to play, due to the hand-to-hand 16th note flams played back-to-back.

Since the pataflafla’s underlying rhythmic structure is that of a 16th note single stroke roll, it is one of the drum rudiments that do not alternate. Make sure you learn how to play the pataflafla leading with both hands. Once you can play the pataflafla with confidence, control and with a very relaxed grip, you can apply it to the drum set through the following drum beats and drum fills.

On exercise #1 the pataflafla is mixed with a basic two-handed 16th note drum beat. You can start working on this exercise by playing the pataflafla on the hi-hat. When this feels good to you, move the flam strokes on counts 2 and 4 to the snare. This is the most difficult portion of the drum beat, so once you’ve got it add the bass drum on counts 1 and 3.

Pataflafla #1

Drum beat #2 has somewhat of a samba vibe to it. This vibe is the direct result of combining the pataflafla with a samba-based bass drum pattern. You can use the previous pataflafla drum beat as a preliminary exercise for this one. The biggest differences between the two patterns can be found on the flam strokes on the “ah” of counts 1 and 3 that are performed on the snare drum instead of the hi-hat, and the extra bass drum strokes on the “ah” of counts 2 and 4.

Pataflafla #2

The next exercise is a very interesting one. This drum fill is based around a collection of patterns used on the drum set for playing a Brazilian style of samba known as batucada or samba de carnaval (carnival samba). Those patterns are built around a 16th note pattern, much like the pataflafla, but with the flams being substituted by accented strokes. The accents are played on the snare drum or moved around the toms to create melodic parts. These batucada drum patterns are originally played on different sized drums known as surdos (they are very similar to tom-toms), which are carried by the percussionists from the samba schools on carnival.

Pataflafla #3

So, the pataflafla is a great drum rudiment to recreate the type of feel heard on the batucada. Most of the pattern is played on the snare drum. The notes on the floor tom are usually played on the biggest surdo drum used in carnival parades - the surdo marcaná or surdo marcaçáo. Once you have this drum fill mastered, try moving the flams around the toms to get new batucada-style patterns. These are awesome drum fills to spice up your playing.

Play this drum fill with your right hand leading. It will be much easier to get to the floor tom this way.

Exercise #4 has the pataflafla being played on all the drums. Leading the drum fill with the right hand is a very good decision. This way, it is way easier moving from drum to drum, due to the type of pattern Lionel chose to play here. After moving to the floor tom, you’ll hit a new drum on the “ah” of each count. This hit is done with the left hand. Since you’re going from the right side of the kit (floor tom) to the center of the kit (hi-tom) it will come in handy to move to a new drum with the left hand, since you won’t have to cross your arms to do so.

Pataflafla #4

Most of the examples in this free drum lesson had examples based around Brazilian styles of music. This does not mean that the pataflafla can only be used for that sort of music. You can use it wherever and whenever you want to. Once you’re done with this free drum lesson, check the free drum lesson on the drag ruff and on the single drag tap drum rudiments.