Using Alternate Hi Hat Sounds In Grooves

Use the left foot to control wether the hi hat is open or closed in a groove.

We have discussed altering a groove by moving the right hand to another part of the kit to create a new sound and have many lessons on this. However, we can make use of the hi hat stands pedal to create some different sounds using the hi hat. So far the default position of your left foot has been pressed down on the pedal, so the two hi hat cymbals are pressed together in the 'closed' position. If we release pressure with the left foot, allowing the cymbals to part, the sound will change. In drumscore.com notation we account for three different sounds with the hi hat: closed, open and half open.

A closed hi hat is played with the foot pressed firmly down and is shown by having a '+' sign above the hi hat. This creates a 'tight' 'controlled' sound that is very clear.

Open hi hats will have very little pressure on the left foot, but enough to keep the two cymbals touching slightly. This creates a washy/sizzly sort of sound and is shown by having an 'o' above the hi hat.

Half open is somewhere in between, so the two cymbals are pressed together, but with slightly less pressure on the left foot than a closed hi hat. This is shown by having an 'o' above the hi hat that has a diagonal dash through it. Using this sound keeps the distinct and clear sound of closed hi hats whilst being a little more 'lively'.

With these hi hat markings, you will see the sign above the first hi hat and it should be assumed that all after that are the same, until you see a new marking. So in the two bars shown below all the hi hats will be closed:

Examples of closed hi hat notation

And in these two bars they will all be open:

Examples of open hi hat notation

In these four bars the first two are played with open hi hats and the last two bars are half open:

Examples of changing hi hat notation


TASKS

  1. Pick a groove. Play 1 bar of this groove using closed hi hast followed by 1 bar using open hi hats. There should be no breaks in timing.
  2. With the same groove, play 2 bars of this groove using closed hi hast followed by 1 bar using open hi hats.. Again, there should be no breaks in timing.
  3. With the same groove, play 4 bars of this groove using closed hi hast followed by 1 bar using open hi hats..
  4. Repeat the above tasks with various other grooves.