Hi-hats are a pair of
cymbals, one inverted to the other, on a stand with a foot pedal that when depressed
and released, will pull down or allow lifting by the internal spring, the top
hi-hat cymbal. The hi-hats can be played by the foot pedal or with sticks. They
can be played with sticks in the opened or closed position.
In some rock rhythms,
the hi-hat is predominately keeping time or the beat count and not a
substantial part of the rhythm itself. In other patterns it is an essential
part of the structure of the rhythm.
The accented hi-hat pattern
in a funk rhythm for example, is crucial to the basic feel of the rhythm. (Drum lessons will teach you about accents; what they are and how they are used in feels and patterns).
The bass drum is the foundation of the rhythm.
In a basic 4/4 rock
song the bass drum beat can be in pretty much the same place in each bar right
throughout the song on the 1st and 3rd beat or on each of the 4
beats. This produces a constant driving feel behind the rhythm.
The bass drum in a thrash
metal tune for example, can be played in 16th beats to produce a wall of sound.
The bass drum, however
it is played in whatever genre of music, is a critical element in creating the
overall rhythm along with the bass guitar. Played together with the bass guitar, in so
many songs, become a single sound and drive the rhythm and feel of the tune.
The snare drum is
basically the center of and central to a drum kit. It provides a predominant
part of a drum pattern and in rock and other forms of music, provides what is
called the ‘back beat’. The snare also creates critical rhythm elements and 'fills' within a tune.
The snare drum is so
named due to the fact it has a ‘wire’ (actually a number of wires that look
like a set of stretched springs joined together at both ends to a flat bar)
tensioned across the bottom head. When the snare drum is struck on the batter
or top head, the wires vibrate against the bottom head and produce a sizzle
sound. The tension on the wire can be varied to produce a soft sizzle or a loud
crack when the drum is struck.
Aside from particular rhythms and patterns, the
mounted and floor tom toms are commonly used to supplement rhythms and provide
‘fills’ in a tune.
The crash cymbal is generally used to provide
accents to sections of patterns. Usually placed at the start or the end of a
The ride cymbal is used to create a feel or
rhythm as an alternative to the hi-hat.