What family is the cymbals in?

The Thrilling World of Cymbals: A Journey Through Sound and Rhythm

Cymbals are an essential part of any percussion setup, adding a unique and powerful voice to the musical landscape. But what exactly are cymbals and where do they come from?

Cymbals belong to the percussion family, a group of instruments that produce sound through striking, shaking, or scraping. They have been used for thousands of years in various cultures and musical traditions, from the ancient Greeks and Romans to the vibrant rhythms of Africa and South America.

But what sets cymbals apart from other percussion instruments? The answer lies in their unique sound and versatility. A well-played cymbal can produce a range of sounds, from shimmering crashes to explosive accents, making them an indispensable part of any percussion ensemble.

The History of Cymbals

The exact origins of cymbals are unclear, but they are believed to have been first used in the ancient Near East, possibly in Persia or Turkey. From there, they spread to the Mediterranean and eventually to Europe, where they became a staple of classical music and military bands.

In the 20th century, cymbals underwent a revolution with the advent of jazz music. Jazz drummers, looking for new and innovative sounds, began experimenting with different cymbal styles and techniques, leading to the development of new and unique cymbal styles that are still popular today.

Types of Cymbals

There are many different types of cymbals, each with its own unique sound and character. Here are just a few of the most popular:

  • Crash Cymbals: These are the most commonly used cymbals, known for their bright and explosive sound. They are often used to accent a beat or add emphasis to a musical phrase.
  • Ride Cymbals: These cymbals have a longer sustain and a more controlled sound, making them ideal for keeping a steady beat. They are often used as the main cymbal in a drum kit.
  • Hi-Hat Cymbals: These are a pair of cymbals that are played together, producing a tight and punchy sound. They are used to create a fast and intricate rhythm, and are a staple of many different musical genres.
  • China Cymbals: These cymbals are known for their unique and explosive sound, often used for dramatic accents and special effects.

Playing Cymbals

Playing cymbals is a highly physical and musical experience, requiring a combination of strength, precision, and musicality. There are many different techniques and styles to choose from, ranging from traditional classical playing to more experimental and creative approaches.

Whether you are a seasoned percussionist or just starting out, there is a cymbal style and technique that is right for you. With its unique voice and versatility, the cymbal is a thrilling and endlessly fascinating instrument that is sure to captivate any musician or listener.


In conclusion, cymbals are an essential part of the percussion family, offering a unique and powerful voice to any musical ensemble. From their ancient origins to their modern-day innovations, cymbals have played a vital role in shaping the musical landscape, and will continue to do so for generations to come.

So why not dive into the thrilling world of cymbals today? Whether you are a drummer, percussionist, or simply a lover of music, there is something for everyone in the world of cymbals. So grab a pair, start playing, and experience the thrill of sound and rhythm for yourself!