Flam paradiddles & Pataflaflas

I came across the term flam paradiddle on the radio the other day and thought at first it might be used to describe some kind of movement – maybe a dance move or a skateboarding trick. Now I know that a flam paradiddle one of the patterns or rudiments used in drumming, or rather a combination of those rudiments.

A diddle is “a double stroke played at the current prevailing speed of the piece.”

A paradiddle “consists of two single strokes followed by a double stroke – i.e. RLRR or LRLL”

A flam “consists of two single strokes played by alternating hands (RL or LR). The first stroke is a quieter grace note followed by a louder primary stroke on the opposite hand. The two notes are played almost simultaneously, and are intended to sound like a single, broader note.”

A flam paradiddle is “a paradiddle with a flam on the first note. Also known as a flamadiddle.”

Source: Wikipedia

Another interesting term used in drumming is a pataflafla, which is “a four-note pattern with flams on the first and last notes.”

The etymology of these words is obscure.

So if any of my friends who are into drumming start talking about flam paradiddles or similar, I now have an idea of what they mean.

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This entry was posted in English, Language, Words and phrases.

4 Responses to Flam paradiddles & Pataflaflas

  1. Lev says:

    Aren’t they onomatopoeia?

  2. dreaminjosh says:

    That’s what I originally thought as well ^

  3. Yenlit says:

    I heard a couple of weeks ago on the radio this drumming technique jargon used by Al Murray on his Sunday morning BBC radio 5live. He was explaining an ‘inverted’ flam paradiddle or something like that?

  4. Simon says:

    Yenlit – that’s where I heard it as well. The inverted flam paradiddle is a flam paradiddle played backwards, I think.