The basic stroke is the standard way to approach the drum, as well as the way you hit it most of the time, regardless of the volume. The best sound that’s made from a drum hit with a stick is from the very center of the head. The closer you hit the drum toward the rim, the more overtones it produces and the less clear the sound.
Within the basic stroke, you see two special notations. The first is the grace note (the miniature note on the staff). You play the grace note very softly. Like the muted tone, it’s often nearly inaudible. The best way to get this sound is to lift your stick off the head only about an inch. Doing so forces low volume.
The second special notation for the basic stroke is the accent. You make this note when you really hit the drum (go ahead and smack it!). Instead of lifting the stick just an inch off the head, you want to lift it a foot or more, depending on the overall volume you’re playing.