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Ghost Notes: What?…What for?…How?

An Answer to the questions...”Ah!?...Ghost Notes?...What?...What for?...How?

Many years ago I made a recording…and I can assure you that it wasn´t pleasant to hear in the studio that my Ghost Notes…weren´t ghosts at all!


When I found myself with this difficulty, I searched for Information about this subject to clarify my doubts and I wrote this exercise to develop this tool.

1. What are the Ghost Notes?

Many years ago I asked this question and the answer remains in my head untill today: “…They are notes that you can hear, but you can´t see….like a ghost!…”


Technically, they are notes that you play considerably softer as an accented Note, on the center of the Snare Drum and approximately 2cm away from the drum Head.


Even though this description doesn´t apply to 100% of the musical Situations you may encounter, it´s a good reference.

2. ¿Para qué sirven?

The difference in Volume between the Ghost Notes and the accents enriches the sound of the Groove, allows to highlight the accented notes and embellishes the melody.


Personally I feel, that when we incorporate 16th Notes as Ghost Notes into an 8th Note Rock/Pop Groove, the Groove sounds “rounder”.


The best way to explain it is with a Graphic.

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When we connect the dots (Imagining that each dot corresponds to a quarter note of a groove) The figure has strong and sharp angles

When we make the same procedure with double the amount of dots (As if we can incorporate Ghost Notes between the quarter notes of a groove). The figure has less strong and softer angles.

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From my point of view, the same happens to a Groove on the Drumset:

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3. How to know which notes are Main-Notes and which are Ghost Notes?

First of all, I should define which notes I want to highlight from the Groove with accents and by contrast, I´ll play the rest of them as Ghost Notes.


Here´s an example:

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