I'm new to playing drums, and have noticed that there's a technique to play hihat patterns, used for example in the intro to Donna Summers' "Could It Be Magic".

Listen to the the intro, at 00:00--00:08. The 16th notes on the hihat sounds like they're played in some kind of way that every second note is done with the handle of the stick hitting the rim of the hat, and every other with the tip closer to the bell? Sounds almost like a tambourine.

Or is it just a double stroke roll?

... or is it a delay effect? :)

How can I play it? How is it done?

EDIT: I was confused. I think they're just played with emphasis on every 4th of them just like MajBordom wrote. I think it would look like this written down (note that this should of course just be two bars, not four):

enter image description here

So the question could be refrased:

How do I play 16ths at the hihat in a relaxed way at 120 BPM?

  • 1
    Can you be specific as to when this happens in that track - I can't hear any fast hi-hat in that entire track.
    – Doktor Mayhem
    Jul 19, 2015 at 17:17
  • Cleaned up the question and my comments a bit to make it more readable for a third party ;) Jul 27, 2015 at 10:06

1 Answer 1


Until 0:07, they're merely using different velocities (hitting it harder) to emphasize every fifth 16th note.

After that, they're playing eighth notes (or maybe sixteenth notes that are hard to distiguish) and alternating having the hihat open and closed on the eighth beats.

The "disco" sound you may be have been referring to before your edit comes from alternating raising and lowering both the kick and hihat feet together on the eighth notes while playing 16th notes on the hihat. They also throw in a snare instead of the hihat on every other quarter note.

In other words, if you tap both feet naturally to the beat and play 16th notes on the hihat, you'll probably get the disco sound.

Is any of this hitting on what you're describing?

  • 1
    Can you provide a number of seconds into the new version of the song where you want me to focus? So far, I still only hear the occasional opening and closing of the hihat while 16th notes are being played.
    – MajBoredom
    Jul 23, 2015 at 2:13
  • Yes, please help us find the right part of the recording. Jul 23, 2015 at 4:58
  • @aparente001 You can hear it the first 8 seconds, and I don't mean the lift or anything else. I just mean how are the straight hihat notes played. It doesn't sound like it's just straight sticking ... Jul 23, 2015 at 12:25
  • How many times does it happen in the first 8 seconds?
    – MajBoredom
    Jul 23, 2015 at 13:00
  • 1
    They sound like 16th notes to me. I would guess single strokes with accents in places. If you play 16th notes with accents and opening the hihat in the appropriate places, are you not able to get the same sound out? Additionally, yes you could play 32nd notes on the hat with double strokes, but I don't think that's what you're looking for in this song. I'd expect single stroke 16th notes to be sustainable at this tempo.
    – MajBoredom
    Jul 25, 2015 at 7:08

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