Sticking For The Drag

A rudiment used a rhythmic decoration that involves one hand playing slightly before the other.

The Drag rudiment is quite similar to the Flam in that it is made up of grace notes and an accented note. In this rudiment however, two grace notes are used rather than just one. That requires you to essentially play a ghosted double followed by an accented note. If you are familiar with the Double Stroke Roll and the flam this rudiment shouldn't pose too many problems.

The drag is more of a decoration than an actual part you can play but when combined with other rudiments and fill/groove construction ideas some really interesting patterns can be created. On this page you will be learning the rudiment as crotchets and quavers to allow you to get comfortable with the sticking.When notated, a drag looks like this:

A drag.

Notice the similarity to the flam? There are small notes played before the beat then an accented note. The sticking for this rudiment is possibly not what you'd expect, you are going to play both of the grace notes on the left hand with the last accented note on the right. These two grace notes will be pretty quick so it would be best to use the bouncing technique here.

As with the flam, we want the crotchet beat of the drag to be pretty loud and the 'dragged' notes (or grace note) to be a little softer. Use stick heights as before to acheive this.

We are going to use three stickings for the drag and all are shown below as quarter and eighth notes. In the first the right hand plays the crotchet, the second the left plays the crotchet and in the third you alternate. Notice that the first notes of the drag has the sticking written in lower case letters to indicate it is softer.


Exercise 1

A Drag in standard sticking as crotchets.

A drag in standard sticking.


Exercise 2

A Drag in reversed sticking as crotchets.

A drag in reversed sticking as crotchets.


Exercise 3

A Drag in alternate sticking as crotchets.

A drag in alternate sticking as crotchets.


Exercise 4

A Drag in standard sticking as quavers.

A drag in standard sticking as quavers.


Exercise 5

A Drag in reversed sticking as quavers.

A drag in reversed sticking as quavers.


Exercise 6

A Drag in alternate sticking as quavers.

A drag in alternate sticking as quavers.


TASK

  • Using the 2 minute rule, get all 6 exercises up to a tempo of 135bpm.
  • Experiment with adding feet to the rudiment.
  • Experiment with orchestrating the rudiment.