Finding Your Hi-Hat Pulse
Learning to play new drum beats is a lot of fun and very rewarding. Many beginner to intermediate level drummers tend to play new drum beats at face value without further exploring ways to add their own personal touch to make the beat feel the way it needs to in order to meet their given situations.
A great way to add your own personal flare to any drum beat is to change the pulse of the hi-hat. The hi-hat pulse is made up of the strokes that are emphasized (or accented) on the hi-hat over the other hi-hat strokes.
For example, exercise #1 below is said to have a quarter note pulse because the quarter notes are emphasized (or accented) on the hi-hat (i.e. beats 1, 2, 3 and 4).
We'll start with a foundational groove similar to drum beats we're used to learning as beginner to intermediate drummers – that is, with all notes played on the hi-hat at the same volume. Then, we'll experiment with changing the pulse of the hi-hat, and ultimately, the underlying feel of the beat.