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The use, selection and maintenance of cymbals in jazz drums

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Jazz drums, also known as drum sets, are mainly composed of drum sets. The emergence of drum sets directly gave birth to modern music. The drum set is mainly composed of cymbals, so cymbals play an indispensable role in modern music. Cymbals are usually called gongs or cymbals in China, and “cymbal” in English. They are mainly cymbals used in military bands, gongs used in symphony orchestras, and cymbals used in drum sets. Cymbals play an important and central role in modern jazz drums and are the soul of modern jazz drums. Therefore, for a drummer, the use and maintenance of various cymbals is extremely important. This article takes the use and maintenance of cymbals in jazz drums as an example to analyze the specific use and maintenance of various cymbals in jazz drums during performance.

drummer playing drums in the professional music recording studio.


Cymbals are mainly made of brass-based alloy, and are played by striking two cymbals against each other or striking with drum sticks. The main types of cymbals include hi-hat, ride, crash, splash, china and reverse cymbal. From a characteristic point of view, the thicker the cymbals, the lower the sound; the thinner cymbals, the higher the sound, and the sound will be more diffuse. Larger cymbals will sound louder and have longer sustain, while smaller cymbals will sound shorter and faster. Since the sound of the iron plates in the entire drum set is at a high frequency, unless the drummer adds some special percussion instruments to the drum set, the highest notes in jazz drumming are usually produced by the cymbals. When playing music, in order to determine a rhythm, we need to determine a “time”, which is the time or speed of the performance. Under normal circumstances, this “time” is completed by cymbals, which can be hi-hat, ride or crash. If the three major pieces in rock music or modern pop music are guitar, bass and drums, then the three major pieces in a drum set are hi-hat, snare drum and bass drum, and the performance of snare drum and bass drum usually requires reference Complete with the hi-hat playing.

How to use jazz drum cymbals

(1) Use of hi-hat
Consisting of two upper and lower cymbals, it can produce complex and varied sounds by pedaling with your feet and striking with your hands. The emergence of hi hat allows jazz drummers to control the pedal’s feet and hands to play together, thereby creating many different changes. When installing the hi-hat, do not tighten the screws on the upper hi-hat too tightly, otherwise you will lose the resonance of the upper and lower hi-hat strips. When playing a rhythm, the most basic and important function of the hi-hat is to maintain a good speed. When hitting the hi-hat by hand, you must first pay attention to the hitting position. Most of the time, the hit is on the edge of the cymbal, because this can produce a better hi-hat tone. We can also change the rhythm of the entire rhythm by changing the lightness and emphasis of the hand-hit hi-hat. Take eighth notes as an example. While the snare drum and bass drum remain unchanged, the eighth notes played on the hi-hat are , turning the eighth note into an accent for the first time, and the whole rhythm has a feeling of moving forward. Similarly, in a rhythm, we still keep the snare drum and bass drum unchanged. We can use quarter notes, eighth notes, sixteenth notes, etc. to hit the hi-hat to change the rhythm of the rhythm. When playing a piece of music, you must first pay attention to the speed, groove and other instruments of the music, and then decide what notes to use. The use of the hi-hat stand allows the drummer to hit the open hi-hat sound and enrich the expressive power of the hi-hat by controlling the distance of the open hi-hat and the length of the open hi-hat sound. When opening the hi-hat, if you use the control of your left foot to close the hi-hat that has just been released immediately, a short and rapid open hi-hat sound will be made. On the contrary, if you open the hi-hat and then close the hi-hat not so quickly, then the open hi-hat will sound. The sound will have a longer sustain. Under normal circumstances, when opening the cymbal, the upper and lower cymbals should not be too far apart, so as to maintain the contact and vibration of the two cymbals. For example, when the mood of a song is relatively calm, we use closed hi-hats to play, but during the performance, we can play some open hi-hat sounds from time to time to enrich the rhythm changes, or we can use open hi-hat sounds as a paragraph transition. bridge. When the emotion of the song is relatively intense, or the climax of the song, we can directly open the hi-hat to maintain the “time” to make the sound effect more impactful and explosive. However, after the development of the cymbal, the sound produced is more powerful and has a longer sustain, so it is not suitable for playing notes that are too dense, because too many notes will interfere with the sustain, making the rhythm sound unclear or unclear. So if the song is fast and the mood of the song requires opening up the cymbals, it is often better to use quarter notes at this time. We often use our left foot to play the hi-hat during performance. For example, when playing a swing rhythm, you can use your left foot to play the hi-hat and play two or four beats to keep time. When playing solo, you can also use your left foot to play the hi-hat to keep time.

(2) The ride cymbal will make a tinkling sound when struck on the cymbal surface. In terms of size, rides are generally 20 inches to 24 inches. In jazz drumming, the most common use of ride is to replace the hi-hat to maintain the playing beat. Compared with hi-bat, ride has a higher pitch and longer sustained notes. It can make the music passage more emotional during performance, so ride is often used to maintain the rhythm during performance. When hitting the ride, the cymbal surface is usually hit, but sometimes the cymbal edge and cymbal cap are also hit. Hitting the edge of the cymbal will produce a lower sound with longer sustain, while hitting the cymbal hat will produce a louder and brighter sound. During the performance, you can obtain different performance effects by relying on the different tones produced by hitting the cymbal in different positions. Taking an eighth note as an example, the first stroke can be struck on the cymbal cap, and the second stroke can be struck on the cymbal surface to enrich the timbre of the cymbal and increase its expressiveness.
(3) Crash cymbals. Common cymbal sets usually come with a 16-inch and 18-inch cymbal respectively. In a drum set, the number of crashes can range from one to multiple depending on the drummer’s personal preference and music style. In jazz drumming, it is usually used together with the bass drum to emphasize the accent, and the position where the strong cymbal appears is usually where the chord appears. Drummers must know that playing the accent cymbal is “playing the chord”. It should be noted that after hitting the crash, you usually play the snare drum or tom, but at this time, the crash is not finished and the crash is still making sounds. This is a problem that many drummers tend to ignore. When playing accents, drummers often hit the edge of the cymbal in order to highlight the true effect of the accent cymbal. In addition, when installing the crash, the nut on the bracket should not be screwed too tight or too loose. If the screw is too tight, part of the sustain of the cymbal will not vibrate fully and is offset. If the screw is too loose, the cymbal will shake. The cymbal is too powerful and cannot be hit continuously. Therefore, when adjusting the screw tightness, the cymbal should have a certain amount of room to swing, but it should not be too tight or too loose.
(4) The use of effect cymbals In jazz drum playing, in order to enrich the performance, cymbals with special timbres are also used. Such cymbals are called effect cymbals. Common effect cymbals mainly include splash cymbal and china cymbal. Splash is named after the sound effect. Common sizes are mainly 8 inches, 10 inches and 12 inches. Due to the small size, the sound is generally short and rapid. The china comes from traditional Chinese gongs and cymbals. After transformation, it has become an important part of modern jazz drums. It is an effect cymbal that many drummers like. Although the frequency of use of effect cymbals is not as high as that of hi-hat, ride, and crash, the use of effect cymbals can greatly enrich the timbre of cymbals and is also widely used in performances.

Selection and maintenance of cymbals

(1) Selection of cymbals
Jazz drums are the most indispensable and important instrument in modern bands. During the performance, jazz drummers should pay attention to maintaining good coordination with other musicians in terms of intensity and rhythm, controlling the rhythm, melody and playing style of the drum set, mastering the rhythm of the work, and expressing the emotion of the work [1]. But to do this, drummers need to know more about musical works, and choose appropriate playing methods and appropriate cymbals according to the style and rhythm of the musical works. For example, when playing, the drummer needs to know the color of the chord. If you are playing major chords, you need cymbals with a brighter tone. If the sound effect or mood is darker, you need cymbals with a darker tone, so that they can better suit the purpose. Works performed. Currently, there are cymbals of various brands, series, materials and craftsmanship on the market. Drummers should choose the cymbals that suit them based on their favorite tone and the style of music they play. If the drummer often travels on tour, he needs to choose lighter cymbals, such as crash ride cymbals that can play both crash and ride. If you want to record, you need to choose a cymbal with a longer sustain, which makes it easier to deal with the sustain. In order to improve their understanding of cymbals, drummers should accumulate more knowledge about cymbals. They can learn about the use, maintenance and production process of cymbals through music materials, communication with other drummers, or personally inspecting the manufacturer, and strengthen their understanding of cymbals. understanding of the film, and then improve its usage skills.
(2) Cymbal maintenance
Jazz drum cymbals are consumables, but they are not disposable items. Drummers should take good care of the cymbals in daily life. Maintained cymbals last longer and have their own character depending on how the drummer uses and hits them. The key point of maintaining cymbals is to prevent them from oxidizing with the air. The general maintenance method is to apply cymbal oil to the cymbals, but the cymbal oil itself will also cause certain damage to the cymbals. In order to avoid damage to cymbals caused by cymbal oil, a more effective method is to apply a layer of Bili beads on cymbals before use, and then reapply after using them for a period of time. This can prevent direct contact between cymbals and air. Drummers should also avoid touching cymbals directly with their hands. Wear gloves when handling cymbals. Try to keep the drum room dry at ordinary times. Put them in a special cymbal bag when not in use to better extend the life of the cymbals. service life. To sum up, the jazz drum is the core instrument of the modern band and plays an important role in the development of modern music. During performance, jazz drums can well control the rhythm of music, enhance the atmosphere of music, and carry on the melody of music, leading and promoting the development of the whole song. Cymbals are the soul of jazz drums. The correct use of cymbals can achieve better performance and better control of the music rhythm. Therefore, drummers need to have an in-depth understanding of how to use, select and maintain various types of cymbals. Improve your understanding and use of cymbals, and better improve your playing skills and performance level.

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