Orchestral Percussion

  • 1.  Hung Cymbal

    Posted 01-25-2013 20:52
    This message has been cross posted to the following eGroups: Orchestral Percussion and Accessory Percussion .
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    Tom Brodhead is a musicologist who has worked on critical editions of Charles Ives works, including the 4th symphony currently. He sent me this question about hung cymbals. I've never seen what is described here, but I thought someone on this forum might have some knowledge of it.  Any thoughts?

    <I'm hoping you can help me with a historical question related to an ossia to the High Gong that Ives prescribes for the 4th Symphony.  Ives writes that a cymbal may be substituted for the High Gong, "strung and taut".  I recently had a correspondence with a knowledgeable music composition professor at USCLA who wrote me the following as to what Ives meant by this:

    "I notice that Ives' own note allows for a small cymbal to be substituted for the Light Gong.  His description of it being "hung and fairly taught", refers to a practice in that day of rigging a cymbal by tying two cords to a hook mounted to a wooden frame, passing the cords through the hole in the cymbal and then tightly securing the cords, each to a peg set several inches to either side of the center point of the cymbal, making an inverted Y with the cymbal resting at its crotch.  I assume that he goes to the trouble to mention this because he does not want them to resort to a small cymbal attached to the shell of a bass drum, which would have a far shorter 'ride' than a true suspended cymbal."

    I wrote back to him, asking him if he could provide a citation of this that I could quote, and he then responded by saying he went back through his books and even Googled a good hour but came up dry, concluding that it must have been a diagram or picture that he encountered in one of his studies at some point, and the image and concept had simply stuck.

    Are you familiar with such a set up, and would you know of a text that in which it would be described or a picture would be provided?  I'm coming up dry with my limited resources.>