Africa by Toto, Hi-hat sticking?

Mastiff

Senior Member
How do you guys play the 16ths on the hats? The notations I've looked at imply right hand only, but it's 93 bpm, and feels intense one handed for a chilled out song like Africa. Just curious if everyone does it that way? I've been working on getting comfortable with Tom Sawyer, and it's only 88. The simpler groove on Africa does make it more manageable though.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
I'm listening to it now and I'm thinking 1e&a2e& 3e&a4e& should work. Then get creative and throw in a open hihat on the & of 4 and you should be good to go.

If I wasn't still recovering from my dog bite, I'd give it a try and report back with actual data.

EDIT: Here's a live Toto performing it in 1982 using a electronic shaker:

 
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MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
One handed. Coming from a metal background its do-able, yet is pretty intense as you say. This is where pushing yourself works in your favor.

Pad work helps here. Sit on the couch, get your pad, and run singles. You will get there, it's just gonna take time.

If you cant do it with one hand, use two. It isnt cheating.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I don't mean to be flippant, dismissive, or sarcastic, but I can tell you that I never attempt to emulate exactly what another drummer is doing when I play a cover. The hi-hat pattern in "Africa," like the hi-hat pattern in any song, can be executed in many different ways. Why not devise your own sticking and accents? As long as the groove and feel are present, your sticking can be as creative as you wish.
 

Mastiff

Senior Member
Thanks. I am able to physically do it, it just feels off. When I crank tempos like that, it's normally something more in a punk style than Africa. No doubt if I had more headroom in my technique though, I could make it feel relaxed in this context.

I love the fill in this song. So simple yet so cool.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
Here's another live Toto in 1991, still with Jeff on drums, no shaker this time:


Notice the open hihat on the & of 4 and the & of 2, so I was right :)
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Well, you don’t. On the recording it’s a shaker that plays the 16ths. Procaro is probably playing 8ths on the hi hat. Recently, Simon Philips played a combination of 16ths and 8ths, plus ghost notes on the snare, to fill out the sound.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Why not just use push-pull stroke? You can also switch between French, American, and German grip every measure or half-measure, to keep from getting too tired/stiff.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Well, you don’t. On the recording it’s a shaker that plays the 16ths. Procaro is probably playing 8ths on the hi hat. Recently, Simon Philips played a combination of 16ths and 8ths, plus ghost notes on the snare, to fill out the sound.
Watch the video Rhumbagirl posted. They're 16ths.
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
The groove and feel with 16ths on the hi-hat changes hugely when playing them one-handed or not..

Besides that, playing rimclicks in the verse will also be a challenge when not playing one-handed 16ths in this case..

Playing Africa not with one-handed 16ths, in my opinion, will not sound ok at all..

Allthough, Porcaro seems to change on those live recordings sometimes between one-handed 16ths and groups of an 8th + two 16ths..

The tempo is not really very fast or too fast for one-handed 16ths in my opinion btw..

At least, thats how i always played this and i am not considering myself a speed-monster or something like that..
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
The groove and feel with 16ths on the hi-hat changes hugely when playing them one-handed or not..

Besides that, playing rimclicks in the verse will also be a challenge when not playing one-handed 16ths in this case..

Playing Africa not with one-handed 16ths, in my opinion, will not sound ok at all..

Allthough, Porcaro seems to change on those live recordings sometimes between one-handed 16ths and groups of an 8th + two 16ths..

The tempo is not really very fast or too fast for one-handed 16ths in my opinion btw..

At least, thats how i always played this..
I'm in agreement here. Push Pull Stroke it.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Similar to Simon Philips, he’s playing a broken pattern of 8ths and 16ths: “1 &a2 & 3 &a4 &”
Not constant 16ths.
Yeah I noticed in the chorus when he plays the ride it switches up. The hats are just about all 16ths though. He does some 3s too. I wish there was a drum cam of the studio. Jeff's hat work is amazing, and we would all know for sure what exactly he does.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Constant 16ths will work. A bit exhausting, obviously. And the groove may suffer.

However, at least two world class drummers, including the drummer who originally recorded the tune, decided to do it differently on stage.

The hats are just about all 16ths though.
That’s not what I’m seeing and hearing.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
Thanks. I am able to physically do it, it just feels off. When I crank tempos like that, it's normally something more in a punk style than Africa.
Frankly, if the feel isn't right, then technically you can't do it.

Not to worry though, just play it however feels best to you. If you don't want to do both hands on the hats, then maybe try leaving out the 2nd 16th note every measure ('1_&a' '2_&a' etc.).
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I've never encountered a drum part that requires infinite analysis. Internalize the feel and permit it to manifest itself in your sticks. That imperative may sound mystical, but it's really starkly pragmatic. If you own the groove, you can implement your own patterns at will, but if the song's essence escapes you, the most detailed transcriptions will be of no use at all. Drumming is a lot more primitive than we want it to be.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I've never encountered a drum part that requires infinite analysis. Internalize the feel and permit it to manifest itself in your sticks. That imperative may sound mystical, but it's really starkly pragmatic. If you own the groove, you can implement your own patterns at will, but if the song's essence escapes you, the most detailed transcriptions will be of no use at all. Drumming is a lot more primitive than we want it to be.
I don’t think that’s what’s happening here. The OP looked at some transcriptions, but they obviously weren’t accurate. Fortunately we can analyze video and audio of live versions of the tune, which in many cases is going to be a better place to start than some transcription by someone who’s probably never even played the tune.

This is a case of placing too much faith in written music found for free on the internet, and not enough faith in doing your own transcriptions.
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
I agree, not complete 16ths. But the technique to play this tune true to the original song is based on the technique needed to play all 16ths.
 
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