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what/how exactly are hi hats used?
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cloud90
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#1
29th December 2013
Old 29th December 2013
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what/how exactly are hi hats used?

Hi guys,

This is probably gonna sound like stupid question but it's been on my mind, since i started producing in the last month or so. Anyways, what exactly are and how are hi hats used? Like i am confused with the whole open and closed hi hats thing. I have been told that they almost essential for a drum beat ( i am looking to make hip hop/deep house and garage beats). I just don't understand how they work or the point of them. When i try to input them into a beat of mine, it just sounds sooo off and like almost forced like, if you get where i am coming from.

Could somebody help me out, please?

Thanks
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29th December 2013
Old 29th December 2013
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Can be used to build movement as any percussive instrument can. Think creatively and dont limit yourself to what you think you need to do.

Also as an initial exercise, just listen to the beats that do it for you by producers you like or bands on Youtube - try and map out what they are doing and when they do it and learn from this
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29th December 2013
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I am a drummer, so crappy hi-hat patterns is a huge pet peeve of mine. I suggest you watch videos of some drummers on youtube. If you are going to make drum beats that don't suck, you need to learn to think like a drummer a little bit.

The hi-hat is the two cymbals on a stand to the left (from the drummer's view) of the snare on most drum kits. They open and close with a foot pedal, and when closed they make a tight "tick" sound, and when open they make a looser "pshhhhh" sound. The sound varies depending on how much pressure you put on the pedal. Also stepping on the pedal can make a "chick" sound as well. Some drummers keep time with their left foot on the hi-hats. (esp. drummers with a jazz background. and Jimmy Chamberlin.)

Hi-hats are used for keeping time and alternating between open/closed hats can help establish a groove. Alternating velocity (loudness) is important in making a good hi-hat groove as well.

I would suggest searching youtube for some instructional drum videos on hi-hat patterns. Here's some to get you started:


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29th December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cloud90 View Post
I just don't understand how they work or the point of them. When i try to input them into a beat of mine, it just sounds sooo off and like almost forced like...
could you possibly post an example of this?
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29th December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cloud90 View Post
I just don't understand how they work or the point of them. When i try to input them into a beat of mine, it just sounds sooo off and like almost forced like
Important things to remember.

- A lot of people use sampled loops of hi-hats because they sound more human. (because they were played by humans.)
- Drummers don't always hit things the exact same velocity (volume, hardness) every time. In fact we "groove" resulting in accents on certain hits. Try 16th notes with odd numbers full volume and even numbers half volume.
- In real drums, the closed hats make the open hats stop. This is called choking. Most software can have choke groups where an open hat is cut off by a closed hat. (google [your DAW choke group]). Most decent drum machines do this too.
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29th December 2013
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I'd try listening to disco or any other type of music to understand how hi hats work.
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29th December 2013
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I struggled with this for bit until I realized interesting hats could make or break a track in terms of groove and keeping things fresh over the duration of the track.

As a learning exercise drag a track you like into your DAW, work out the tempo of the track and set your DAW to the same. Then replicate the drums using whatever tools you are using to program your drums.

This will give you a feel for different patterns, how they work with other elements of the beat and the track as a whole, how many variations there are across the track etc.

Then you will start to develop your own approach.
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29th December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Hamburglar View Post
I'd try listening to disco or any other type of music to understand how hi hats work.
True... A lot can be learned by listening to the push/pull of the beat to staying alive..
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29th December 2013
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Could you post an example of some of your attempts?

It seems very unlikely that you are actually making music, but never noticed the high hats in the music you listened to, so maybe something is completely off.

Also.

Quote:
Originally Posted by natrixgli View Post
If you are going to make drum beats that don't suck, you need to learn to think like a drummer a little bit.
I would have to disagree with this. Just do what feels and sounds right to you, if you are not looking to create something that sounds like an actual drummer.

If you DO want to mimic an actual drummer, you need to learn to think like a drummer a little bit of course - seems like "what is a hi hat" puts you pretty far off from that, though.

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cloud90
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31st December 2013
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hey guys,

Thanks for all the replies. I have spent hours just listening to tracks from all genre's trying to spot the relationship of the hi hats in a beat and i now get it. Quite simple really but hey, at least i know their purpose now. Thanks!!
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31st December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cloud90 View Post
...since i started producing in the last month or so...
If you haven't gotten the hang of producing in a month or so, you may want to consider other endeavors...

Whenever I feel the need to improve in a certain aspect, careful listening does wonders. Knowing how good drummers use a hi-hat can certainly be beneficial, but ultimately it is just a sound, and it's up to you how you use it.
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cloud90
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31st December 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unitymusic View Post
If you haven't gotten the hang of producing in a month or so, you may want to consider other endeavors...

Whenever I feel the need to improve in a certain aspect, careful listening does wonders. Knowing how good drummers use a hi-hat can certainly be beneficial, but ultimately it is just a sound, and it's up to you how you use it.
Well, i wouldn't really call it producing. More like playing out as i just started. obviously, i still have a long way to go. Yeah, i understand their role now.
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31st December 2013
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Use them every 8th measure or such to keep a steady rythm if your variating on the kick, clap, and snare ( E.G. Trap)
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cloud90
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1st January 2014
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Hi guys,

For some reason, my hi hat patterns always seem to flop. I can manage to make my kicks and snares patterns sound decent but when it comes to the hi hats bit, mine always fail and don't sound right at all. I have only realized how effective how hi hats are in a song. I was wondering if anyone could help me out? Or provide me with a basic template, guide for making hi hat patterns (with closed and open). I am interested in making house and 2 step/ uk garage music so a basic hi hat template for house would be great and then from there, i will just experiment and go from there. Also any tips guys, as to how i can improve my hi hat drum patterns? I haven't got a drum or a drum pad.

Like the hi hat patterns in this song; (around 0.51). They sound like basic typical hi hat patterns used in house tracks

TCTS - Do It Alright - YouTube

SIDEWINDER 1999 OLDSKOOL GARAGE NORRIS DA BOSS WINDROSS - YouTube (around 0.18) Also sounds like they are using basic typical hi hat patterns

Also, what is the hi hat pattern here (around 1.20)
Tina Moore - Never Gonna Let You Go (Artful Dodger Mix) - YouTube



I am sure that once i have the basics down, i can whip out something.

Thanks!
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2nd January 2014
Old 2nd January 2014
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hip hop deep house and garage... your really everywhere lol.. but it helps the tracks flow and helps fill out the track and hi hats are pleasant on the ears.. with rap music 9/10 your gonna have closed hi hats on them.. since your new... 16 note hits will be suffice.. with house music.. hi hats are less used.. many tracks fill out frequencies and don't need hats..
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2nd January 2014
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Thats a whole lot of replies for a two word answer

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