Composers obviously pull out the crash cymbals (sometimes called clash cymbals) when they want to make a very big point.

The "crash" is really a two-plate stroke, either up and down or across, a technique that requires considerable skill and that has many uses. To let the crash ring, a player can turn the cymbals outward for theatrical as well as sonic effect. When the sound wants dampening, players press the cymbals to their clothes. Delicately crashed, the cymbals turn their sonic surroundings voluptuous.

The suspended cymbal is a single cymbal mounted on a stand and used either for a spangled rhythmic emphasis or, more interestingly, for a roll. Many different kinds of beaters can be used, and what makes the roll of a suspended cymbal unusual is a huge dynamic range that goes from a fragile shimmer to a roar. An occasional orchestral instrument, the suspended cymbal is found on every drum kit in jazz and rock, including the one Salonen uses in his Violin Concerto.

Fact File

Did you know?

Traditionally cymbals are made of bell metal: an alloy of one part tin and four parts copper. However, many other alloys are also used.


16-24 inches