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The Language of the Crash Cymbal

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  • #16
    Are they saying it's wrong or saying that they don't like it? Aren't some of us saying that they're a beautiful thing when used properly? What does this have to do with people being old? I mean, there's a lot of cool music that's done without one, lots of cool music done with one. Just not sure what this has to do with being old when it's just a bunch of people expressing their opinions.
    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

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    • #17
      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
      I use 'em when they sound right. And try not to use 'em when they don't. I guess I try to not make music where formulas fit. That said... I don't think I attain that goal nearly enough.


      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.

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      • #18
        I also like 'em sometimes when they are used on, say, the "2", coming in as an unexpected accent. Adds a lot of life to a track when it's done like that. But yeah, I like 'em when they sound right, don't like 'em when they don't sound right!
        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

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        • #19
          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.

          Hey... I'm the other guy strongly defending crashes in this thread and I'm probably the oldest guy here. So don't go blaming old guys for this.

          In fact, it's the modern rock (hope you can hear the sarcastic irony dripping off that modern -- since I haven't heard a new idea in rock in decades, I don't think) and modern metal songs where I hear the what strikes me as the some of the biggest lack of understanding of how to fit crashes in... you get drummers overplaying them and engineers bending over backwards trying to suppress them and it ends up sound really stupid. (To my old ears. )


          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.

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          • #20
            I freakin LOVE crash cymbals - if they're good sounding cymbals and played well of course. My favorite crashes tend to be the dark crashes where the impact is a little delayed and has a long decay - one that sounds almost like it's been compressed even when it hasn't. I even love it on some songs when the drummer rides on the crash all the way thru a chorus or solo.

            'Course, I love it just as much hearing a bunch of thundering toms and little or no crash... just depends on the song...

            I just love drums and percussion, almost any kind. In case somebody didn't know that by now.
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            • #21
              I'm a fan of the old saw "every crash should also be a ride, every ride should also be a crash"
              Sure it's a bit of an overstatement if you take it literally esp as you go to 24" flat rides and little teacup splashes and all that - but I think it has something to talk about it overall approach and even cymbal selection in terms of having a couple of "go to" cymbals that exist at the core of a trap kit.

              I think there can be a tendency sometimes to treat a crash as sort of a dry 'triggered' event and just drive into a crash and tend to produce just one sound that is just a big accent without a lot of dynamic or tonal variation from crash to crash an maybe doesn't even fit with the rest of the drum phrase.
              It's an overgeneralization, but I personally find this more in players who are mainly interested and only used to playing rock and camp out on the hats for basic time keeping by default or the guys that pride themselves on "I play REALLY HARD...ALL THE TIME". I'm not saying rock players have to be like that or even that most are - just that it's one of those things that can develop if someone gets musical tunnelvision.
              I think that spending a lot of time on a ride as timekeeper, especially at more moderate dynamic levels gets a drummer in touch with dynamic tonal variations that you can pull out of a cymbal and the line between a heavily accented hit in a ride phrase and a crash starts blurring and you wind up getting a more controlled and interesting sound than a fatiguing
              Boom Boom, crack, CRASH
              Boom Boom, crack, CRASH
              Boom Boom, crack, CRASH

              The crash hit becomes more its musical function of an accent than a mechanically recurring sonic assault

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              • #22

                ....
                The crash hit becomes more its musical function of an accent than a mechanically recurring sonic assault


                That's a good point -- because if the crash is overused, it ceases, by definition, to have any value as an accent.

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                • #23
                  Hey... I'm the other guy strongly defending crashes in this thread and I'm probably the oldest guy here. So don't go blaming old guys for this.

                  In fact, it's the modern rock (hope you can hear the sarcastic irony dripping off that modern -- since I haven't heard a new idea in rock in decades, I don't think) and modern metal songs where I hear the what strikes me as the some of the biggest lack of understanding of how to fit crashes in... you get drummers overplaying them and engineers bending over backwards trying to suppress them and it ends up sound really stupid. (To my old ears. )


                  I'm sorry blue, it's not really about literal age... it's about a state of mind.

                  I agree with Lee here. I love dark crashes that bloom.
                  <a href="http://silkcitymusicfactory.com">Silk City Music Factory: A Connecticut Recording Studio</a>

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                  • #24
                    Cymbals are like exclamation marks.
                    And we all know that using too many
                    exclamation marks can defeat the purpose
                    that was originally intended .. yeah?

                    Have you noticed how the majority of
                    rap and dance music doesn't use cymbals?

                    Not so for Metal which sometimes seems
                    to want to emphasize every beat!

                    My wife sees cymbals as "old fashioned".
                    She dismisses music with too many cymbals
                    as "Cymbal Music", a derogatory term in her view.

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                    • #25
                      Cymbals are like exclamation marks.
                      And we all know that using too many
                      exclamation marks can defeat the purpose
                      that was originally intended .. yeah?

                      Have you noticed how the majority of
                      rap and dance music doesn't use cymbals?

                      Not so for Metal which sometimes seems
                      to want to emphasize every beat!

                      My wife sees cymbals as "old fashioned".
                      She dismisses music with too many cymbals
                      as "Cymbal Music", a derogatory term in her view.
                      I agree about the exclamation marks. And your observation about their lack of representation in hip-hop, rap, and dance is also a truism. There are styles that just don't use cymbals anymore.

                      I have noticed to that because of a lack in a real sounding way to use cymbals in sequenced music they aren't used as much, and the way that they are used has become cliche.

                      But in the hands of a good drummer who has taste and good sounding cymbals they are pure magic.
                      <div class="signaturecontainer"><b> &quot;It's all good; except when it's Great.&quot; </b><br />
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                      • #26
                        I think sometimes... cause there are a lot of bad drummers, cause they get hit too hard, cause they get hit in the "wrong" places... I think we forget how great a crash can be.

                        When there is a nice chuck of sound, the lows are there with the kick and bass, the mids get it with that guitar and piano... and you want a full spectrum accent... well... that'd be a crash. I like my crashes mixes/played just under teh snare in level. not LOUD.

                        I love the Gabriel experiment. I love stuff without them... but I also love a great crash in the right spot.
                        Thomas Jefferson said... "The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the Supreme Being as His father, in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter." hmmm...

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                        • #27
                          I'm a big fan of the crash when used at the right volume and not too often.
                          I love Bonham's use of the kick and the crash hitting at the same time...
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                          • #28
                            I think cymbals should only be played with mallets... big, puffy mallets...

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                            • #29
                              In rock music especially, a well-placed, well-recorded crash, something that has this gorgeous bloom, is such a cool thing.


                              ...I was thinking of Bonham's. Now that's a guy who knew how to play a cymbal.

                              And a snare.

                              And a tom.

                              And another tom.

                              And a kick.

                              Bloody amazing musician.

                              I like fretwizz's description of it being an exclamation point. It so often is.
                              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

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                              • #30
                                I'm a fan of the old saw "every crash should also be a ride, every ride should also be a crash"


                                I have said that Tony Williams wasn't a drummer he was a cymbal player.
                                He plays em as mentioned above. He also sometimes hit a drum.
                                FWIW- I'm a fan
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