I'm just learning how to play the drums and I'm stumped by the notes on the staff in the book I'm practicing with. It has a closed hi hat and a foot high hat that you're supposed to play at the same time. How in the world do you do that?

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    It would be great to see this. Any chance you could scan a few bars and add them to your post? Then we'll be able to see if it's a mistake, or if we can suggest ways to play these HH notes. Welcome to Music.SE, BTW! Commented Jul 21, 2014 at 23:11

1 Answer 1


I guess from your description that it's something like quavers (eighth notes) on closed hh, with occasional pedal splashes (e.g. on the second beat of each bar). To play this, your foot should be down on the pedal most of the time. Lift it up right before the pedal splash is due (after you've sticked the preceding note), and then put your foot down again to make the pedal splash at the right time.

Normally for a pedal splash, you'd "stamp" your foot and lift it up right away to let the note ring and give it that splashy sound, but in this case, just press it down and leave it down until the next one, giving a much drier sound.

If the stick notes continue, so there's even one on the very same beat as the pedal note, try to sync your hands and feet so the stick hits the hi-hat at just the same moment it closes. It's not critical, though, because the pedal note is there, so unless it's for an exam or similar you might choose to omit that stick note. Drummers get a lot of leeway about interpreting parts.

If you're used to playing one open hh note in a bar of closed hh notes (e.g. the music says to have the last note of the bar open), then this is pretty similar: it's just that you're hitting the pedal harder, to deliberately make a noise (when usually you try to change open-to-closed hh quietly), and you're hitting it a little sooner, so that it's closed when you stick it.

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