Cymbals - The cymbal family
In the orchestra the pair of cymbals is used chiefly to stress important musical accents, but it can also be used as a quiet rhythm instrument in the background, together with the bass drum, for example.
Whereas the suspended cymbal can fulfill a wider variety of tasks thanks to the use of different sticks and its greater dynamic flexibility, it cannot match the effect achieved by the pair of cymbals' greatest fortissimo. Even played piano the pair sounds very different from the suspended cymbal.
The hi-hat is found only rarely in modern orchestra literature. However, it has been an integral part of dance music of all kinds, jazz, rock and pop, since the beginning of the 20th century, when it was known as the Charleston machine.
Finger cymbals are a smaller version of the pair of cymbals. Because of their low dynamic level they are used very rarely in the orchestra and are constructed in a way that differs somewhat from that of the pair. They belong only loosely to the cymbal family.
Crotales are tuned to a definite pitch and their construction differs from that of the cymbals. For this reason they are not regarded as a member of the cymbal family.