Harmony Central Forums
Announcement Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

The Language of the Crash Cymbal

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse







X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • The Language of the Crash Cymbal

    What does a crash cymbal "say" in a mix?

    I'm noticing that the placement of your crash hits in a pop/rock arrangement can MAKE OR BREAK the sound you're going for.

    Misplaced crashes sound really bad.


    I'm thinking a crash hit "says":

    • Here's my Hook
    • Here's the beginning of a phrase
    • Here's a climactic moment of my arrangement
    • Notice this! Feel this!
    • Let's smooth out a rough juncture of an arrangement by adding some white noise between measures/sections (to disguise rough entrances or ungainly shifts in tempo)
    Crash needs to be used sparingly, I think... If not you potentially misguide your listener as to where your "hit/emphases" or "hook" or new phrases are. There are other drum combinations which can also signal emphasis or hook-i-ness.

    Many places in your arrangement, I'm discovering, do NOT need a crash hit at all.... even if they are emphatic moments in the song.

    Thoughts? Your philosophy of the Crash?
    <div class="signaturecontainer"> <br />
    <font color="blue"><b><font color="olive"><font color="sienna"><font color="purple">Every paint-stroke takes you farther and farther away from your initial concept. And you have to be thankful for that. </font> </font></font><font color="olive">Wayne Thiebaud</font></b></font><br />
    <br />
    <br />
    <b><font color="#808000"><font color="blue"><a href="http://www.facebook.com/#!/rasputin1963/info" target="_blank">Friend me on FACEBOOK!</a> </font></font></b><br />
    <font color="#808000"> <br />
    <br />
    </font></div>

  • #2
    I play drums and I don't use a crash cymbal. Can't afford a new stand for my sickly old cymbal. It's absence hasn't bothered me. It's more the fact it's on full sick pay.
    <div class="signaturecontainer">I play drums and sing in Fickle Fingers<br />
    <a href="http://soundcloud.com/ficklefingers" target="_blank">http://soundcloud.com/ficklefingers</a><br />
    <br />
    I play drums, produce and program robots for<br />
    <a href="http://www.myspace.com/thewildeyesuk" target="_blank">www.myspace.com/thewildeyesuk</a><br />
    <br />
    I do weird recordings of mine and friend's bands here<br />
    <a href="http://www.high45s.blogspot.com" target="_blank">www.high45s.blogspot.com</a></div>

    Comment


    • #3
      What does a crash cymbal "say" in a mix?

      GET THAT DAMN MICROPHONE AWAY FROM HERE!!!!!! And those drum sticks, too. It HURTS!

      Crash cymbals are better seen on video than heard in audio.
      --
      "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
      Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

      Comment


      • #4
        If I ever put another band together, I'm not gonna allow the drummer to have any crash cymbals. Any good drummer should be able to use his or her head and generate "excitement" (or provide accents) in a more aurally pleasing way... IMHO....

        Comment


        • #5
          has one word, but a few loudness levels to pronounce

          Comment


          • #6
            Peter Gabriel had it right on his third album.
            <div class="signaturecontainer"><font face="Century Gothic"><font size="4">Support Live Music!</font></font></div>

            Comment


            • #7
              Peter Gabriel had it right on his third album.




              No cymbals = BIG part of that album's sound!

              Comment


              • #8
                Ah... a chance to be contrarian...

                I think the problem is not crash cymbals -- it's 'bad' drummers (drummers who never figured out when and how to use a crash) and bad engineers and mixers who either get them too loud/splashy -- or suppress them in the mix to the point where they sound like some other instrument, maybe coming from another room.

                The worst are the mixes where the drummer overplays and the mixer squashes the ride or crash down to the point where they sound like a weird hi hat.


                music and social stuff | The Forgotify Files | A Year of Songs | mutant pop on facebook | roots acoustic on facebook


                The chorus seems a little weak... I think it needs more lasers.

                Comment


                • #9
                  In this thread: people who can't hear high frequencies as well as they used to.
                  <a href="http://silkcitymusicfactory.com">Silk City Music Factory: A Connecticut Recording Studio</a>

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    An old studio adage from the 70s said that a drummer played the drums hard but the cymbals softly. It's so easy for a drummer to overplay the crash cymbal. In addition to everything already written before, it's also a way for the drummer to say, "Look at me!"
                    <div class="signaturecontainer">John Bartus<br />
                    John Bartus &amp; Storm Watch<br />
                    Live From the Florida Keys<br />
                    <a href="http://www.johnbartus.com" target="_blank">http://www.johnbartus.com</a><br />
                    <a href="http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/JohnBartus" target="_blank">http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/JohnBartus</a></div>

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      In this thread: people who can't hear high frequencies as well as they used to.
                      I think they can hear it well enough if they're complaining and discussing it....
                      Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ah... a chance to be contrarian...

                        I think the problem is not crash cymbals -- it's 'bad' drummers (drummers who never figured out when and how to use a crash) and bad engineers and mixers who either get them too loud/splashy -- or suppress them in the mix to the point where they sound like some other instrument, maybe coming from another room.

                        The worst are the mixes where the drummer overplays and the mixer squashes the ride or crash down to the point where they sound like a weird hi hat.


                        Yeah, there's a lot of that going on. But there are some really great sorts of music where there's none used, and it sounds wonderful. So I don't know that what you're saying necessarily contradicts what some of the others are saying. In rock music especially, a well-placed, well-recorded crash, something that has this gorgeous bloom, is such a cool thing.
                        Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well, sure, the keyboardist doesn't play every patch on his synth in every song, eh? The guitar player doesn't use every technique he knows in every tune.

                          Knowing how to play something pretty much implies knowing when to play it. Yeah?



                          With regard to high frequencies... I can tell you one senior citizen in this thread has lost some high end, no question. It's not as crippling as you'd think. I hope. (If anything, my mixes tend to not be bright enough, at least comparing with the current norms. Not sure what's up with that. Maybe I'm nervous about stepping out over the edge. And, of course, maybe I'm pushing down the upper ranges I can hear but maybe 18K is blasting... Still, no one ever mentions that.)

                          That said, I certainly have no trouble telling when someone's hitting a crash on an unamplified kit. That's for sure. I'm sure I'm not hearing the highest overtones (and neither are any other humans, I don't think), but I'm certainly hearing the fundamental. (And, I have to say, however little of the top octave I have left, I certainly appear to have no difficulty telling the diff between a dull, oxidized cymbal from a bright, polished one.)


                          music and social stuff | The Forgotify Files | A Year of Songs | mutant pop on facebook | roots acoustic on facebook


                          The chorus seems a little weak... I think it needs more lasers.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I tended to use crashes (on up-tempo songs) at the start of choruses, at the start of verses after choruses, and at the start of middle-8s

                            I'm predictable, I know

                            a selection of my songs: https://soundcloud.com/songwriter101

                            my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/SaulTiberiusNads

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think they can hear it well enough if they're complaining and discussing it....


                              Ah, but crash cymbals cover a huge spectrum... Just like I can hear a bat squeek but I can't hear the full range of tones...

                              What's more likely: a key rhythmic instrument in western music is "wrong," or a handful of people on a forum are?

                              Crash cymbals are great. They are huge drama and excitement, they shimmer, they roar, they swell, they can be bright, they can be warm, they can be percussive, they can swell. They soar, they envelop, they can be mysterious, they can be an open question, and they can be a resolution.

                              You guys are just wrong, just like in every other old man thread that gets tossed up here grumping about one technique or another somehow being wrong. Maybe you're miking them wrong, maybe the arrangement is wrong, or maybe, just maybe, you're hearing wrong. But it's silly to think there's anything wrong with an integral part of western music.
                              <a href="http://silkcitymusicfactory.com">Silk City Music Factory: A Connecticut Recording Studio</a>

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X