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The Wonderful World of Cymbals



Cymbals are an essential part of many musical genres, from jazz to rock and everything in between. They bring a bright, shimmering sound to music and can be used in a variety of ways. In this article, we’ll dive into the history of cymbals, how they’re made, how to play them correctly, and what types of music use them.

A Brief History of Cymbals

Cymbals have been around for thousands of years, with evidence of them being used in ancient civilizations such as Greece, Rome, and China. They were originally made from a mix of copper, tin, and other metals, and were used for ceremonial purposes or as a way to signal troops in battle.

As music developed, so did the use of cymbals. In the 1920s, jazz drummers began using cymbals in a more musical context, and by the 1960s, rock drummers were using them to create a new sound that would define a generation.

Variety of Cymbals

Materials and Construction

Today, cymbals are made from a variety of materials, including bronze, brass, and nickel silver. The most common method for creating cymbals is by casting them from molten metal, then hammering and lathing them into shape.

The thickness and size of a cymbal can greatly affect its sound. Thinner cymbals tend to have a brighter, more shimmering sound, while thicker cymbals have a darker, more complex sound.

Types of Cymbals

There are many different types of cymbals, each with its own unique sound and purpose. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Crash Cymbals: These are the most common type of cymbal, used to create a loud, explosive sound. They come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses, and can be used in a variety of musical genres.
  • Suspended Cymbals: These cymbals are larger and heavier than crash cymbals, and are designed to be played with a mallet or drumstick. They produce a long, sustained sound that can create a dramatic effect in music.
  • Hi-Hats: These cymbals are made up of two smaller cymbals that are mounted on a stand and played with a foot pedal. They produce a crisp, tight sound that is commonly used in rock and pop music.
Drum Set Cymbals

How to Play Cymbals

Playing cymbals may seem simple, but it requires a certain technique to get the most out of them. Here are a few tips for playing cymbals correctly:

  • Hold the drumstick loosely, letting it bounce off the cymbal for a bright, shimmering sound.
  • Use the shoulder of the stick to create a louder, more explosive sound.
  • For suspended cymbals, use a mallet or drumstick to strike the edge of the cymbal for a sustained sound.
  • For hi-hats, use your foot to control the pedal and create a tight, crisp sound.
Marching Band Crash Cymbals

Music and Musicians

Cymbals are used in a wide variety of musical genres, from jazz to metal. Here are a few famous musicians known for their cymbal playing:

  • Gene Krupa: A jazz drummer who popularized the use of the ride cymbal in his performances.
  • John Bonham: A drummer for the band Led Zeppelin, known for his powerful use of cymbals in songs like “When the Levee Breaks.”
  • Neil Peart: A drummer for the band Rush, known for his complex use of cymbals in songs like “YYZ.”

Where to Buy Quality Cymbals


Cymbals are an essential part of modern music, and have a long and fascinating history. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced musician, understanding the different types of cymbals and how to play them correctly can greatly enhance your musical performances. So go ahead, grab a pair of drumsticks, and start playing those cymbals!




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