Crash Cymbals: What are they?
Crash cymbals are the musical instruments used during rock concerts. They have been around since the early 20th century. There were different types of crash cymbals until now. Some of them were made from wood or metal while others had no sound at all when struck with a mallet or hammer. The first crash cymbal was invented by a man named John Cage in 1932. The word “crash” comes from the Greek word krym meaning “to shatter”. The word “cymbal” means “little drum”, but it is sometimes used to refer to any percussion instrument.
The Crash Cymbal Types
There are two main types of crash cymbals: those made out of wood and those made out of metal. Wood crash cymbals usually have a smaller diameter than their metallic counterparts. Metal crash cymbals typically have a larger diameter than their wooden counterparts.
Wood Crash Cymbals
Most of the time, wood crash cymbals are made from poplar (Populus tremuloides), which is a hardwood tree native to North America. Poplar is often referred to as the “American white pine”. It grows up to 10 feet tall and produces cones that contain sap. When the cone bursts open, it releases its sweet smelling juice into the air.
Metal Crash Cymbals
Most of the time, metal crash cymbals are made from bronze, which is an alloy that is made mostly of copper (85% to 88%) and tin (5% to 10%). Both of these metals are abundant in nature. Other elements can also be added to bronze to produce different types of alloys. For example, copper and nickel produce an alloy known as cupronickel.
When metal crash cymbals are created, molten bronze is poured into a mold and then cooled to room temperature. The mold produces the distinctive shape of the cymbal. Depending on what type of cymbal is desired, the alloy is poured into either a flat or flexi-form.
The thickness of the cymbal also varies. Some cymbals can be extremely thin, while others can actually be thick. Metallic crash cymbals are usually thicker at the center and thinner at the edges. They sound higher and more resonant at the center than at the edges.
After the cymbal is poured into the mold, its surface is dull and rough. The purpose of polishing is to remove defects from its surface. Polishing can be done by hand or through mechanical means such as a machine. Cymbals that have been polished by hand have a smoother, clearer, and cleaner finish. They also reflect light in many different ways.
Cymbals that have been polished by machine, however, have a more even and consistent sheen.
One of the leading cymbal manufacturers in the world is a company known as MEINL Cymbals. This company was founded by Helmut Meinl in 1957 in Germany. After several years of struggling as a small business the company finally began to turn a profit. In the mid 1960s, the company began manufacturing cymbals by using a sheeting process. Before this process was invented, cymbals were made one at a time by hand.
The MEINL factory in Germany is still in existence today and continues to produce fine cymbals. The company has also opened several other plants and offices in other parts of the world.
In the early 1990s, a common metal percussion instrument, the crash cymbal, was given a new design by the famous drum set drummer William Alvin Morrow, Jr. He designed an instrument with a cross-shaped hole. This design allows drummers to place their sticks on the edges of the cymbal and produce a bright, ringing sound.
The crash cymbal is one of the most important parts of a drum kit. It is traditionally used to mark changes in rhythmic patterns or to highlight certain beats within a song. It can be hit with a drum stick, which is a long piece of wood that is tapered to a point at one end and gripped by the other. A crash cymbal that is hit with great force will produce a loud cracking sound known as a “crash”. Some drummers will hit a crash cymbal when a song reaches its loudest and most exciting moments.
One of the most common types of crash cymbals are known as “meditative cymbals”. These instruments are smaller and thinner than other crash cymbals. They produce a darker sound that is advantageous for certain musical pieces that require a low volume. Most meditative cymbals are made from brass.
Sources & references used in this article:
Collapsible holder for crash cymbals by DL Prouty – US Patent 4,666,110, 1987 – Google Patents
Études for the Orchestral Cymbalist: Developing the Skills for Successful Crash Cymbals Performance by MP Timman – 2019 – search.proquest.com
REAL-TIME MODAL SYNTHESIS OF CRASH CYMBALS WITH NONLINEAR APPROXIMATIONS, USING A GPU by T Skare, J Abel – 2019 – dafx.de
A scientific approach to microphone placement for cymbals in live sound by JJ Harrison, AJ Hill – 2013 – derby.openrepository.com
Automatic classification of drum sounds: a comparison of feature selection methods and classification techniques by P Herrera, A Yeterian, F Gouyon – International Conference on Music and …, 2002 – Springer
It’s All about the Angles: Tone Production on Three Auxiliary Percussion Instruments by V Sparks – Canadian Winds: The Journal of the Canadian …, 2017 – search.proquest.com
Stand with improved sock cymbals by AJ Cirone – 2007 – Hal Leonard Corporation