I am confused over the terms Closed hi hat and foot hi hat

Closed hi hat is hittng the hi hat when your foot is depressed on the hi hat peadal

What exactly is foot hi-hat , is it the sound made when the hi hat is constantly open and then closed ???

3 Answers 3


I'm not a drummer, but from what I've read...

closed hihat is hitting it with the stick while your foot holds it closed.

foot hihat is stomping the pedal so the top and bottom crash together.


Stephen Hazel is correct- and the sound is different. The Closed Hi-hat sound is a short sharp metallic sound (as I'm sure you know) but the foot hi-hat is a bit quiter and has a slightly less metallic sound, a bit more gentle.

As the hi-hat closes, one part of the hi-hat rim will normally meet the other first (as opposed to the whole rim meeting at once ) so there's a slight build-up in the sound, then it stops suddenly as the hi-hat shuts on itself. It gives it a softer feel.

This all happens very quickly of course, so it lasts about the same time as a closed hi-hat.

  • 2
    I think it's also worth mentioning that you can make a variety of noises by stomping the pedal, according to how quickly you depress it, and how quickly you lift off again (letting it ring or not). It's up to the drummer's musical sense to decide what fits the context better.
    – Dan Hulme
    Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 13:34
  • If you're writing for drum set, keep in mind that pedal hi-hat is way more difficult to do at high speeds, and that it can have extra side effects (if one is playing the hi-hat with the sticks while it's opening, you will be able to hear it open).
    – Stan
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 2:27

As my guitar player calls it a chick and a hssp.

Closed hihat sound depends on how much you close it with your feet but if you fully close it you will get a distinct sharp stroke. It is comparable to a ride cymbal sound structurally. Then slowly releasing your feet from the clutch and the sustain slowly increases from very clean and sharply decaying sound to more sizzling sound.

Hihat footplay (ehm, no pun intended) is more of a orchestral cymbal playing. You can see those dudes are holding the hihat completely in the wrong way. Look ;p (click the image for the source)


So in this analogy you can just crash both and keep your hands tight. That would be the typical jazz offbeat sound. Also you can crash and pull your hands apart as fast as possible. The most often usage for this is when a drummer is playing a roll and increasing the tension by counting the beats with increasing volume of stomps, one of my favorites

Steve Gadd is a true master of many things but especially command of hihat with foot.

  • 1
    Just in case anyone was confused, the guy holding the concert crash cymbals was supposed to be a joke; those are not hi-hat cymbals. :)
    – Stan
    Commented Jan 27, 2014 at 2:24
  • @AsianSquirrel That's pretty hard to confuse on a question about closed/open hihats... ;)
    – user1306
    Commented Feb 2, 2014 at 15:37
  • Yeah but you never know who's going just click on the title like, "Hi-hats. Wonder what those are. Maybe it'll be in the answers. Scrolls to bottom answer Only looks at pictures/reads text surrounding pictures"... Yeah. Those people. :D
    – Stan
    Commented Feb 4, 2014 at 13:59

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