• English     Crash Cymbals               Suspended Cymbal
  • German    Becken, Tellern               Becken hangend, Hangebecken
  • Italian       Piatti, Cinelli                    Piatto Sospeso                       
  • French     Cymbales                        Cymbale suspendue, cymbale libre

Junior High Cymbal Requirements

  • One or two pairs 16-18” medium crash cymbals
  • One 18” medium-thin suspended cymbal with stand
  • One 16” thin suspended cymbal with stand
  • Leather straps, no pads, padded trap table, cymbal bag
  • Mallets supplied by student: one pair of soft yarn and one pair of medium hard yarn

High School Cymbal Requirements

  • One or two pairs 16-19” medium-heavy crash cymbals
  • One pair of 20” medium-heavy crash cymbals
  • One 18” medium-thin suspended cymbal
  • One 16” thin suspended cymbal
  • Smaller and larger different weight cymbals as required
  • Stands, including “gooseneck”  
  • Leather straps; no pads; padded trap table; cymbal bag
  • Mallets supplied by student: one pair of soft yarn, one pair of medium hard yarn, one pair of hard yarn mallets.

Method Books

  • Complimentary Percussion - Aleo
  • The Art of Percussion Playing - Cirone, Grover, Whaley


  • - Percussion 101: Crash Cymbals

Selecting your Cymbals

  • Relatively easy and even response
  • There should not be a pronounced fundamental
  • A complete sound spectrum from low to high
  • Even duration and typically a long duration of vibration
  • One cymbal should have a slightly lower pitch than the other (M2, m3)
  • Play each cymbal with a mallet.  This will allow you to hear the quality, decay, etc.

Questions to ask when picking a cymbal:

  • What am I trying to achieve with the instrument?
  • Where will they be used?
  • What qualities should the instrument have?
  • Do I want a slow or fast response?
  • Should the sound decay slowly or quickly?
  • Do I want a lot of splash?
  • Do I want these instruments to cut through or blend with the ensemble?
  • Should they be dark or light?

Types of Cymbals

Crash “a2” (French, Viennese, German), Orch. suspended, Ride, Crash, Splash, Chinese, Flat Bell

Cymbal Classification

It’s important to understand that cymbals are idiophones and must be alloyed to move in order to create sound. Sound comes from the face of the cymbal, it does not come from the edge of the instrument.  To understand this, place a cymbal just above your head, strike the cymbal, and then start to lower the instrument.  When the cymbal approaches ear level you will notice that the volume decreases.

Crash Cymbal Technique

  • Grip         
  • Bi-Cymbal motion
  • Priming the cymbal
  • Aligning the cymbals
  • Playing short notes and Dampening (Romeo and Juliet by Tchaikovsky)
  • Playing notes in succession (Any march)
  • Playing very rapid single strokes (Night on Bald Mountain)
  • Executing the piano cymbal crash (Piano Concerto No. 2 by Rachmaninoff)
  • Executing a forte cymbal crash
  • Two plate roll (Miraculous Mandarin by Bartok, Ionisation by Varese)

Bass Drum/Cymbals Technique

  • Place cymbal on drum or on a stand by the batter head
  • No larger than an 18” cymbal
  • Dampen the cymbal with your chest or ribcage
  • Dampen the drum with your right knee
  • Petrouchka by Stravinsky.  This technique can also be used with any march.

Suspended Cymbal Technique

  • Make sure the instrument is flat and that the stand has a felt and sleeve.
  • Rolls: Make sure your mallets are positioned at 4:00 and 8:00 and on the very edge of the cymbal
  • Crash: with a stick make sure that the stick strikes the cymbal at a 45˚ angle and is not played directly into the cymbal.
  • A general marimba mallet should be used for most rolls.  If you want something with a darker sound use a larger mallet and if you want a bright sound use a harder mallet.  Remember that the size of the cymbal will affect the mallet that you choose.  In general, the larger the instrument the larger the mallet. If an older piece of music calls for timpani mallets use a marimba mallet.