Cymbals, Percussion Instruments

What are Cymbals, Percussion Instruments?

Commonly used in orchestral music, rock, jazz, heavy metal music and marching groups, Cymbals are one of the most popular percussion instruments dating back to 1200 BC. Over the years, Cymbals have been used all over the world, especially in central Asia, India, China and ancient Egypt. Hand Cymbals are called ‘Manjira’ in India.

Cymbals are especially visible as a part of large orchestral performances where skilled artists play the Cymbals to create dynamic and powerful sounds.

Cymbals – What do they Look Like?

Cymbals consist of thin, round metal discs which are either played by striking them together or by hitting them with beaters while they are suspended on a stand. Even though Cymbals are unpitched instruments, their weight, diameter, thickness and curvature of the bell etc, all contribute to the quality of sound they produce.

The different types of Cymbals include

  • Finger Cymbals
  • Hi-Hats Cymbals
  • Splash Cymbals
  • Clash Cymbals
  • Suspended Crash Cymbals
  • Orchestral Crash Cymbals, etc.

What are the different parts of a Cymbal?

Let’s take a look at the anatomy of Cymbals –

  • Diameter – Measured in centimeters or inches, the size of Cymbals is largely calculated based on their diameter. Those cymbals which are larger in size create stronger, louder sound.
  •  Weight – The weight of cymbals define their thickness. Those cymbals which are heavier create louder sound.
  •  Hole – At the center of the Cymbals is a hole which holds the straps used while holding and playing the Cymbals. Alternately, the hole may also be used to place the discs within the stand for crash playing.
  •  Bell or Cup – The area next to the hole is called the Bell.
  •  Bow – The area surrounding the bell is the bow.
  •  Edge is the rim or circumference of the Cymbal.

Different Ways of Playing Cymbals

Cymbals are played in several different ways for example by passing the two faces against one another while maintaining an angle and then pressing it against the body to dampen the sound, using a rolling motion to slide the faces against one another, shutting the discs together, etc.

Cymbals Performance


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