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Cymbal Glossary

Cymbal Glossary
A2 — see crash cymbals.

A2 Roll — see two plate roll.

Air Lock
1. an undesired effect caused when a pair of hand cymbals are incorrectly struck together, resulting in the cymbals locking together.
2. an undesired effect caused when air becomes stuck between a pair of hi-hats causing them to lock together.

Ancient Cymbals — see crotales.

Antique Cymbals — see crotales.

Bass Drum/Cymbals Attached (BD/Cym.) — one player playing both bass drum and cymbals. One cymbal is attached (upside down) to the bass drum with a mounting bracket and the other cymbal is held in the player's weak hand. The bass drum is played by the player's strong hand.

Bell — the raised center of a cymbal. The size of the bell determines the amount of overtones that will emanate from the instrument.
Large Bell — more overtones, small bell, fewer overtones.

Bow — the gradual curving section from the bell to the edge of a cymbal. The height of the bow (or profile) of the cymbal will often determine the range of overtones that will occur from the instrument.

Higher Bow — emphasis on mid and upper mid range overtones

Lower Bow — emphasis on lower and darker overtones.

Bowed Cymbal — a suspended cymbal (or crotale) played by drawing a bass bow across the edge. The sound produced is a varied array of harmonics.

Bring Up/Down — a direct line motion bringing any cymbal(s) from one spot in space to another. Usually done with great speed.

Charleston Cymbals — outdated term used to indicate hi-hats.

Chick — the sound produced by Hi-Hats when closed with the foot. Chinese Cymbal — a cymbal with an edge that is flanged and turned upwards. Usually the bell is more square shape than a normal cymbal. Chinese cymbals produce a "pangy" and "funky" sound and are often times mounted upside down on a cymbal stand.

Choked — muffle the cymbal(s) with a hand, a second cymbal, or against the torso.

Choked T — see smak.

Clash Cymbals — see crash cymbals.

Crash Choke — a crash technique where two cymbals are brought to the mid-torso immediately after crashing "choking" the sound. Primarily used as a marching technique.

Crash Cymbal — one cymbal with a relatively short decay, used to accentuate musical phrases mounted on a cymbal stand. Primarily used within a drumset and not to be confused with Crash Cymbals — plural.

Crash Cymbals — a pair of cymbals, one in each hand, struck together. Primarily used in concert or marching percussion playing.

Crotale(s) — small thick discs with definite pitches. Mounted on a stand either as a single instrument or within a chromatic scale (see crotale bar). They are struck with a mallet or mounted with rope and then struck against one another.

Crotale Bar — chromatic mounting rack for one octave of crotales.

Cup — see bell.

Cup Grind — digging and rotating one cymbal into the bell of another with enough pressure to cause a grinding sound. If done correctly, many uncomfortable overtones can be produced.

Cymbal — a metal plate made from an alloy of copper and tin that usually has a raised bell in the center. Played individually or in pairs. Note: cymbals do not have to be round and do not have to have bells!

Cymbals Attached to the Bass Drum — see bass drum / cymbals attached.

Cymbal Pads — the cushion on crash cymbals (usually made from leather or felt) around the leather straps to protect a players hands. Cymbal Knot — the square knot (also called sailor's knot) used to secure a leather strap to a hand cymbal.

Cymbal Roll — a fast succession of single or double notes on a cymbal (usually at the edge) with sticks or mallets.

Cymbal Scank — taking the outer edge of a cymbal and striking the underside of the other cymbal in the bell area.

Cymbal Scrape — a scraping sound achieved in two ways:
(1) scraping two cymbals together from the bell to the edge. Primarily used as a marching technique.
(2) scraping one cymbal with a coin or metal object.

Cymbal Straps — handles that are tied with a special knot so a player can hold the cymbals for crashing together or to hang a suspended cymbal. Usually made from leather.

Cymbal Tongs — see metal castanets.

Cymbal Tree — an array of suspended cymbals, one on top of another and mounted on a special stand.

Dampen — muffle the cymbals.

Decay — the reduction in sound after a cymbal is struck.

Dome — see bell.

Dry — (1) muffle the cymbal(s). (2) overtones that are inhibited due to a lack of lathing or extensive hammering to limit the decay time and the amount of overtones.

Edge — the outer edge of a cymbal which usually responds immediately.

Finger Cymbals — a pair of small un-pitched cymbals mounted on elastic straps and struck together to produce a high pitched sound.

Flanged Hi-Hats — specially designed hi-hat cymbals with flanged edges that increase the contact surface and the "chic" sound when the top and bottom cymbals meet.

Flings — scraping the edge of one cymbal against the underside of another from the inside out in a downward motion. Primarily a marching technique. Flip Up /Down — a motion bringing any cymbal(s) from one spot

Fusion Crash — using the "hi-hat crash" technique move the top cymbal out and bring it back applying pressure as the cymbals come back together, creating an air pocket sound. Primarily used as a marching technique.

Grinds — a marching technique where one cymbal is aggressively rubbed against another. This is done by "winding-up" the players right hand and letting the cymbal spin freely against the other.

Gooseneck — a suspended cymbal stand shaped in the form of a curved neck where the cymbal hangs from a hook.

Hammering — a finishing technique used when making cymbals. The type of hammering used has a great influence on how a cymbal will sound.

Hand Cymbals — see crash cymbals.

Hi-Hat — a pair of cymbals mounted, one above the other, on a stand that is activated by the player's foot. Also called "sock cymbals", "Charleston cymbals", "foot cymbals", "low-boys", "hi-boys", "hi-socks" and "off-beat cymbals".

Leather Straps — see cymbal straps.

Let Vibrate — let the cymbals ring.

LV — same as let vibrate.

Low Boy — the predecessor to the modern hi-hat.

Metal Castanets — heavy finger cymbals mounted in pairs on metal handles. Ideal for an authentic sound in the Baccha– nale from Saint-Saens Samson and Delilah.

Overtones — the sonorities produced that are above the fundamental frequency.

Plates — slang for cymbals, derived from the Italian word "piatti".

Plate Roll — a symmetrical motion in which two cymbals are rubbed against each other in a circular pattern to create a continuous sizzle sound.

Cymbal Glossary


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