The study of rudiments is actually the pursuit of independence. The more rudimental variations one learns, the more coordinative the hands become. Historically, rudiments have predominantly been used in the marching arenas, drum corps, fife corps, parade bands, pipe bands, and marching bands. Drum set artists have been interested in rudiments since the early days of trap drumming, instinctively knowing that rudiments help develop coordination and movement around the set. Rudiments have increasingly been explored more and more in set drumming to the point where rudiments have helped evolve the coordinative skills of not just the artists’ hands, but of all 4-limbs, as well as influencing the music they play. Funk drumming is one idiom where a groove is sometimes built around a coordinative pattern rather than an ostinato. Who can argue that Steve Gadd’s time marching in the Rochester Crusaders did not influence his creative use of rudimental stickings in his grooves, which in turn opened new possibilities of drum set grooves in funk, jazz, and even rock. Much of Gadd’s work with Chuck Mangione is heavily rudimentally influenced, such as his drum set rendition of the rudimental snare solo Crazy Army in Mangione’s Legend of the One-Eyed Sailor. Grand master double bass players of today play rudiments with the feet to help develop the feet, while gaining higher degrees of independence by simultaneously playing separate rudimental patterns with the hands.

This article will explore ways to increase 4-limb independence using rudiments in different 2-limb combinations while the other two limbs independently play simple rhythms. This paper focuses only on paradiddles as a means to illustrate the potential of rudiments to increase coordination of all 4 limbs. Even though simple rhythms are used, the coordinative complexity may be more difficult than first glance suggests. Feel free to create your own rhythms to play independently along with the paradiddle variations. This article will wrap up by showing a few rudimental grooves that utilize the coordinative skills developed by the examples.

VAR1: Paradiddle Played Between the Hands

As a starting example, to whet the appetite, consider the following.

A straight accented paradiddle on a snare while playing the tresillo part of a clave beat on the bass drum helps illustrate the higher degree of coordinative difficulty when playing the paradiddle as opposed to straight singles.

Let’s now move the right hand to the ride cymbal or second hi-hat.

While playing the above paradiddle, practice the following patterns with the feet on bass drum and primary hi-hat (or double bass if you prefer).

We can then make things more interesting by including more diverse rhythms with the feet. The note stems for the bass are turned up for reading clarity.
VAR2: Paradiddle Played Between the Right Foot on Bass and Left Hand on Snare
Add the left foot on hi-hat with the following patterns while playing the above variation. Take care to maintain the rhythmic integrity of the paradiddle while adding other rhythms.
Now, work on the following right hand rhythms while playing the RF/LH paradiddle. Measures 1,2, & 4 can be played on a ride, second hi-hat, or cowbell. Measure 3 can be played on two toms.
The next seven exercises add both right hand and left foot rhythms to the VAR2 paradiddle. Develop the rhythms adding one limb at a time if necessary.
VAR3: Paradiddle Played Between the Right Hand on Ride and Left Foot on Hi-Hat
Independence rhythms will be played with left hand and right foot. Learn each left hand/right foot measure against the VAR3 paradiddle.
VAR4: Paradiddle Played Between the Left Hand on Snare and Left Foot on Hi-Hat
Since the paradiddle pattern is played with the two left side limbs, the independence patterns will be played with the right side; top notes played with the right hand (second hi-hat, ride, or cowbell), bottom note played with right foot on bass.
VAR5: Paradiddle Played Between the Right Hand on Ride and Right Foot on Bass
The VAR5 paradiddle pattern is played with the right two limbs, therefore the independence patterns will be played on the left hand and left foot.
VAR6: Paradiddle Played Between the Right Foot on Bass and Left Foot on Hi-Hat
Since VAR6 is a foot-oriented paradiddle, the hands will play the independence measures; top note equals right hand, lower note equals left hand.
The next two measures played against VAR6 make use of one hand playing a repeated pattern between two toms, while the other hand plays the cowbell.
Paradiddles can be used in grooves, such as the next example. The first two strokes of the paradiddle can be on two hi-hats, one on the right as well as one on the left, or on a single hi-hat. The last 16th note in the measure is an open hi-hat.
The following measures illustrate that paradiddles can be played in non-pure forms, such as Swiss and inverted variants. Coordination can be increased by transposing the following two paradiddle variants onto the six different limb combinations, and then played with the corresponding independence rhythms.
While this article primarily focused on paradiddles, other rudiments should be considered for developing 4-limb coordination. The next example takes another look at the tresillo part of the clave rhythm played against either a double paradiddle or paradiddle-diddle sticking.
The above 6/4 pattern can be developed into a cool, yet challenging, groove by playing it as a paradiddle-diddle starting on snare and moved around the toms, with an ostinato left foot hi-hat.