I can hear this drums beat in several songs, but could never find a tutorial about it because I don't know what it's called.

Genesis - Abacab

(listen to the drums at 3:08)

Another example: WALK THE MOON - Shut Up and Dance

(listen to the drums at 1:48)

  • Don't see what you are asking about.
    – Tim
    Dec 28, 2017 at 20:54
  • Hi Tim, I believe you listened to the songs I posted. If I wanted to learn that "drum rhythm" with the hi-hat opening and closing, what should I search for? Is there a name for that drum beat?
    – AndreFeijo
    Dec 28, 2017 at 20:55
  • Identifying elements in songs like that is off topic here, but that is one of the most popular drum beats in all of music. Because of that, you will find that beat in this list of 7 beats all drummers should know: youtu.be/N3gTWZU9TtI?t=12m48s Dec 28, 2017 at 20:58
  • 2
    @ToddWilcox, isn't this a question about a drum technique in general? Off-beat open hi-hats are ubiquitous in funk and rock. I don't think this is a question about a specific element found in one particular song. Two different examples are cited, and many more could be found.
    – jdjazz
    Dec 28, 2017 at 21:35
  • @jdjazz Well you make a good point. I guess to me it could go either way. Dec 28, 2017 at 23:07

1 Answer 1


The hi-hat technique is specifically referred to as "hi-hat lifts," "open hi-hats," and "opening/closing hi-hats." In both songs, the high-hat lifts are occurring on offbeats, which is very common in a disco beat like these.

Hi-hat technique

The technique involves playing the hi-hat on the downbeats and upbeats. On the upbeat, you lift the hi-hat with your left foot. At the same time as you lift the hi-hat, strike it with your stick. On the downbeat, you depress the pedal to close the hi-hat. To avoid a double hit on the downbeat, you strike the hi-hat with your stick at the same time as your foot depresses the hi-hat pedal. In most cases, you don't want to open the hi-hat fully and just want to open it slightly. The more open your hi-hat, the more the sound will ring out. But for a lot of scenarios, you're making pretty subtle foot movements.

Disco beat

The hi-hat technique creates a nice backbeat, which you can accentuate by adding the snare on beat 2. To get a complete disco beat, you can add the bass drum on all four beats (1, 2, 3, 4). The total result is something like this:

And here's a video of the hi-hat technique alone:

  • 1
    The beat as a whole is a disco beat. It’s not just the open high hat pattern. It’s also the kick on every beat including when the snare is played. Dec 28, 2017 at 23:08
  • 1
    Link to Disco beat example video is dead.
    – Aaron
    Jan 8, 2023 at 19:42

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