Cymbals are thin metal disks that are clashed together or struck with sticks to produce a sound. Cymbals come in many sizes; there are tiny finger cymbals and there are large orchestral cymbals played in pairs.
Cymbals can sound soft and delicately or loud and dramatically. Composers may also ask that a single cymbal be suspended horizontally on a stand so that the metal may be struck with a drumstick or mallet to make just the right sound to fit the character of the music.
All cymbals are made of curved bronze disks. They have a concave shape which means that cymbals curve slightly inwards. When playing a pair of cymbals, the player holds each cymbal through a strap attached to the outside of the curved disk at its center.
When two cymbals are struck together, their edges vibrate freely. This produces a ringing sound that can make the big, loud moments in the orchestra even more exciting!