The hi-hat or hihat is a type of cymbal and cymbal stand now a standard part of most drum kits.
It consists of a pedal that closes a pair of cymbals when depressed, and allows them to open under control of a spring when released. When struck with a drumstick, the cymbals make either a short, snappy sound or a longer sustaining sandy sound depending on the position of the pedal.
It can be also played just by lifting and lowering the foot to clash the cymbals together, a style commonly used to accent beats 2 and 4 in jazz music. In rock music, the hihats are commonly struck every beat or on beats 1 and 3, while the cymbals are help together. The drummer can control the sound by foot pressure. Less pressure allows the cymbals to rub together more freely, giving both greater sustain and greater volume for accent or crescendo. In shuffle time, a rhythm known as "cooking" is often employed. To produce this the cymbals are stuck twice in rapid succession, being held closed on the first stroke and allowed to open just before the second, then allowed to ring before being closed with a "chick" to complete the pattern (the cymbals may or not be struck on the "chick").
A right-handed drummer will normally play the hihat with the left foot, and may use either stick or both. Traditional kit drummers cross their right hand over the top of the left so as to play the hihat with the right stick while playing the snare drum with the left, but this is no longer universal. Sometimes a second smaller set of hihats will be positioned to the right of the drummer, but these will still worked by the left foot by means of a bowden cable.
In both rock and jazz, often the drummer will move the same stick pattern between the hihat cymbal and the ride cymbal, for example using the hihat in the verses and the ride in the chorus of a song, or using the ride to accompany a lead break or other instrumental solo.