A cymbal is ultimately a metal disc with a hole drilled through the centre, and have existed for around 5,000 years. You can picture it now, can’t you? – Big Clive the Club Yielder bashing out some prehistoric bronze to the sounds of a Hatzegopteryx (a winged lizard, obviously) flying past in the background hunting for a munch. It took a fair while, but the humble cymbal eventually made its way over to Asia for a jam, then in a much shorter gap managed to blag a ride to Turkey.
Cymbals come in many shapes and sizes and create a plethora of sounds. On one side you have the delicate twinkle of a finger cymbal, then on the other, an often brash sounding china cymbal. Marching bands and orchestras would commonly opt for a pair of clash, but drum cymbals are by far the most popular. A drum kit player would commonly use a pair of hi hats (which is the only foot operated cymbal), one or two crash and a ride – perhaps even a splash if they’re feeling a bit fruity.
As well as the staples, effects cymbals are becoming increasingly more popular – particularly with the bigger brands such as Meinl, Sabian, Zildjian, Paiste, and Dream.