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Cymbal Sound Terms

little rock

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I have a set, different sizes, i.e. 18", 20" 2X 22" and a 16" Manhattan Bridge Ride, of Sabian HH Manhattan ride cymbals. I have heard their sound referred to as dark and smoky. Can anyone who has experience with Manhattan rides explain to me what these terms mean as far as sound goes? What does a dark and smoky sound sound like? Do all of them possess this dark and smoky sound? If so, when I play them is the sound I'm hearing the dark and smoky sound?
 
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2oo2

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It's related to synesthesia (the ability to "feel" something you perceive with one sense, in this case hearing, with another of your senses, for example touch or smell, or more generally a sensation you can't pinpoint but you just feel).

The thing is every person's perception is different so the commonly used terms to describe cymbal sound may not have the same meaning to everyone. Just close your eyes when playing your cymbals and let your subconscious develop any sensations it decides to come with.

Here's an interesting discussion about smoky cymbals: https://www.drumforum.org/threads/smoky-cymbals.202811/
 

Seb77

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Plus, a different cymbal from the same series might have different characteristics, desing aside. B20 just varies. If you know ads or catalog descriptions, you might expect a series to have a certain sound. Listening blindly to a certain specimen, you might hear a different characteristic.
 

zenstat

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It's related to synesthesia (the ability to "feel" something you perceive with one sense, in this case hearing, with another of your senses, for example touch or smell, or more generally a sensation you can't pinpoint but you just feel).

The thing is every person's perception is different so the commonly used terms to describe cymbal sound may not have the same meaning to everyone. Just close your eyes when playing your cymbals and let your subconscious develop any sensations it decides to come with.

Here's an interesting discussion about smoky cymbals: https://www.drumforum.org/threads/smoky-cymbals.202811/

[technical content=on]
Synesthesia isn't really required. What is required is proper research design and analysis techniques. Attached is a 2003 paper which lays out how to do this taking into account that different people hear things differently. I've done this kind of research during my career in statistics so I know how to do it. It's just that we haven't done the research yet. I know a few techniques they don't mention including triad comparisons for assessing proximities. This reduces the burden for each individual respondent. That is combined with orthogonal arrays (one kind of balanced incomplete block design) to further reduce respondent fatigue. I also know projection techniques which allow us to project terms like dark and smoky onto an analysis with other words so we get a better sense of how they are used and relate to one another. I also know how to project physical properties like weight, diameter, profile, and sound properties (via spectral analysis) into the mix.
[technical content=off]

So far I've collected up a sample of cymbals and have plans to record them and collect data from respondents. That happens to include an 20" HH Manhattan. So maybe in a few years...

In the meantime my personal take on dark is relative lack of higher frequencies in the sound profile. My take on smoky is that it is probably mostly correlated with dark with some independent input from perceived complexity and possibly trashiness. I don't find my 20" HH Manhattan particularly dark on the grand scale of dark, nor smoky on the grand scale of smoky. But we are just operating at the level of anecdata for now. An ok start, but not likely to get us where we want to go in understanding cymbal terms.
 

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