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  • Purpose of paradiddle?

    For as long as I've been playing drums, I've never been able to figure out a practical purpose for the paradiddle.  I really can't see where it would ever be advantageous to play a series of notes as R-L-R-R L-R-L-L instead of just alternating hands.  For a particular example, why would Jerry Allison have played "Peggy Sue" as paradiddles instead of alternate strokes?

     

    Can anybody give me some insight on this?

     

    Thank you.

     

    Something that made me finally post this question is that the "Word of the Day" on my calendar yesterday was "taradiddle", which I thought must be defined as "a drum rudiment used when playing at Scarlett O'Hara's place", but actually means "fib; or pretentious nonsense". 


  • #2

    I think they developed naturally as logical  sticking combinations. But deeper than that on the communication level, which WAS the reason for rudimental druming, doubles and singles have very different default inflections. A drummer is able to articulate different words and syllables and accents in the speech sense by mixing up the sticking and dynamic patterns. Takes ten times the control to manage that with just alternate sticking.

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    • FitchFY
      FitchFY commented
      Editing a comment

      1001gear wrote:

      I think they developed naturally as logical  sticking combinations. But deeper than that on the communication level, which WAS the reason for rudimental druming, doubles and singles have very different default inflections. A drummer is able to articulate different words and syllables and accents in the speech sense by mixing up the sticking and dynamic patterns. Takes ten times the control to manage that with just alternate sticking.


      I can agree with that.

      But to El Glom-O, I understand your question if you're talking about sequential 16th notes on what surface, such as playing a full measure of 16th notes on the snare... right, you could absolutely just play alternate strokes.

      But like with any technical ability, perhaps there's a tension or a feel you're looking to institute, or maybe an accent pattern... or maybe you just want to try something different to prevent boredom.

      Personally, I use paradiddles in every song I play, rather frequently. Sometimes it frees a hand up for a crash, sometimes on different surfaces, and sometimes for just something new. But yeah... dude, they're paradiddles.


    • El Glom-o
      El Glom-o commented
      Editing a comment

      1001gear wrote:

      A drummer is able to articulate different words and syllables and accents in the speech sense by mixing up the sticking and dynamic patterns.



      Hadn't thought about that aspect of it.  Thanks.


  • #3

    Rudiments are practiced not to be able to conciously place them while playing, but as muscle memory excercises so that when called for, it just "comes out", rather than you thinking "I should play a paradiddle here, a five stroke roll there, etc. Whatever the phrase of the moment calls for, you will execute automatically.

    my two cents.



    Good playing can hide a crappy drumset, but even the best drumset can't hide crappy playing.

    Have no fear of perfection. You'll never reach it.- Salvador Dali

    Some of the best players that I know really can't play the drums well, but they play music superlatively well. - Jim Chapin

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    • drumsdb
      drumsdb commented
      Editing a comment

      I find Paradiddles to be about the best rudiment/tool in my drumming arsonal.  While others have said it well in previous posts... think of it this way. 

      Take 2 different drums (or drum / cymbal combination).

      Separate your hands one on each surface. Play 16th notes alternating. Then play paradiddles.  Do they sound the same?  No, you have 2 distinct patterns.  For every different combination of drums/cymbals you use, you have a different sound/pattern...but only one sticking. Hence the beauty of a great rudiment.

       


      the DW wrote:

      Rudiments are practiced not to be able to conciously place them while playing, but as muscle memory excercises so that when called for, it just "comes out", rather than you thinking "I should play a paradiddle here, a five stroke roll there, etc. Whatever the phrase of the moment calls for, you will execute automatically.

      my two cents.


       

      That being said, I love DW's point!  I can't tell you how many times I've played a ripping solo that is really just some funky combination of paradiddles.  I don't think about it when I play.

      DB

       


  • #4

    El Glom-o wrote:

    For as long as I've been playing drums, I've never been able to figure out a practical purpose for the paradiddle.  I really can't see where it would ever be advantageous to play a series of notes as R-L-R-R L-R-L-L instead of just alternating hands.  For a particular example, why would Jerry Allison have played "Peggy Sue" as paradiddles instead of alternate strokes?

     

    Can anybody give me some insight on this?

     

    Thank you.

     

    Something that made me finally post this question is that the "Word of the Day" on my calendar yesterday was "taradiddle", which I thought must be defined as "a drum rudiment used when playing at Scarlett O'Hara's place", but actually means "fib; or pretentious nonsense". 


    Wanna continue this by pointing out that if you can tell, obviously it makes a difference. Also there's a sticking issue going back and forth between two toms. At least one of those spots in the tune is a pair of double paradiddles - 4 alternate 16th notes followed by a standard paradiddle with the double stick serving to change feet and in this case direction. So reasons galore.
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    • El Glom-o
      El Glom-o commented
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      1001gear wrote:

      Wanna continue this by pointing out that if you can tell, obviously it makes a difference.


      I couldn't tell just by listening.  It wasn't until I read in an article about the tune, then verified it by watching him, that I had any idea that he was using paradiddles through it.

       

      Thanks to everybody for your comments.  You've brought up some points that had never occurred to me.


  • #5

    I like what DW said.  Paradiddles for one thing, are a way of putting singles and doubles together.  They are way of developing facility for your hands.  There are many different paradiddles - ways to work out your hands so when you want to create an expression, you will be able to facilitate it.  The way you express yourself is up to you, how or what you create.  Maybe a paradiddle is a way to get there....???  could be.

     

    The Buddy Holly example is a complete literal use of it.  The paradiddle is the beat itself.  The most simple example of that particular paradiddle.

    As you advance on the instrument, you can apply paradiddles in ways other than just a literal beat or fill.  I think most people think a paradiddle is just for fill ideas.

    I of course can't show you all the uses of it because I am not at my drumset in front of you.  Maybe think of a paradiddle that can help your groove playing.  Do you use ghost notes when you play a groove?  Here is paradiddle number one:   RLRRLRLL.  Now play two of them in a row:  RLRRLRLL RLRRLRLL.  Now play the right hands on your ride and all the left hands on your snare.  Play quarter notes on the bass drum.  Now accent COUNT 2 and 4 with your left hand and the rest of the left hand notes play softer.  This may be a different way you play ghost notes - a different pattern...a different groove.  But it 's just a paradiddle.  To take it a step further when you are comfortable with that - you add notes or take away notes - especially on the right hands.  In rock or funk music we may not want to play the kind of ride pattern but want to retain the ghost note pattern...so we take away some notes.  Thats what I mean by not playing the literal pattern...but we are using the concept to create our expression.  Do what you want with these patterns.  Sure to learn them I play them as written, but soon as I learn the pattern in my muscle memory, then I use the way I want to.  This elevates your playing. 

     

    Instead of the attitude "paradiddle are a waste of time"  think and research ways to aid in your playing.  The above groove paradiddle example is a very simple one, but it was the first one I learned and made me want to explore others.  The one I constantly use is the "inverted paradiddle" which is RLLRLRRL for grooves.  Actually thinking about it, I use the **** out of this one for fills as well.  Nowadays my fills probably consist of 70% paradiddles/paradidle diddles and 30% single stroke/double strokes....so are these useful to me? You bet.  For me the abilty to use double and singles together is very important to my expression.  I have been playing a long time and it wasnt always that way.  But I wanted to progress and quite frankly, I was getting bored with playing the same ol **** all the time.  SIngles-only wasnt going to cut it - I wanted to do something else.  I dont know, something to think about.

    ___________________________________________
    Don't believe anything you hear and half of what you read.

    "My approach to odd times is no different from anyone else who can play it. I just sub-divide it in to groups of two and three based on what I heard other people do in the past"....... someone from the crowd yells: Do it !!! .........."Ok, I'll do it!"

    Yeah, I let, I let them go out front and pranch around a bit, while I provide the forward thrust .... " - Stewart Copeland

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    • El Glom-o
      El Glom-o commented
      Editing a comment

      vinniewannabe wrote: 

      Instead of the attitude "paradiddle are a waste of time"  think and research ways to aid in your playing.



      Thanks for the other information, but I want to make it clear that I've never held that attitude and certainly did not make the quoted statement.  Researching ways to aid in my playing is why I started the thread.


  • #6

     

    You can also set up some very nice combinations between your hi hat and snare using different paradiddle stickings. Start with the traditional RLRR LRLL RLRR LRLL, then change it slightly to RLLR LRRL RLLR LRRL, then to RRLR LLRL RRLR LLRL, then RLRL LRLR RLRL LRLR. All those are with just a single paradiddle. The combinations and possibilities to alter the feel change when you bring in doubles and combine them with singles.

    "An amature practices till he can do it right. A professional practices till he can't do it wrong."

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