Cymbals – a stringed musical instrument of the percussion family, has the shape of a trapezoid with strings stretched over it. The extraction of sound occurs when two wooden mallets are struck.Cymbals have a rich history. The first images of a relative of the chordophone cymbals can be observed on a Sumerian amphora of the XNUMXth-XNUMXrd millennium BC. e. A similar instrument was depicted in bas-relief from the First Babylonian Dynasty in the XNUMXth century BC. e. It depicts a man playing with sticks on a wooden seven-stringed instrument in the form of a curved arc.
The Assyrians had their own triganon instrument, similar to primitive cymbals. It had a triangular shape, was nine-stringed, the sound was extracted with the help of sticks. Cymbal-like instruments existed in Ancient Greece – monochord, China – zhu. In India, the role of the dulcimer was performed – santur, the strings of which were made from munja grass, and played with bamboo sticks. By the way, according to the historian N. Findeisen, gypsies brought cymbals to Europe. It was this nomadic people in the XNUMXth century AD. began his exodus from India, joining the ranks of Little Russians, Belarusians and other Slavic tribes.
Simultaneously with the spread, the design of cymbals was improved. The instrument began to change shape and size, the quality of the strings also changed, if at first they were stranded or intestinal, then in the XNUMXth century in Asian countries they began to use copper alloy wire. In the XNUMXth century, metal wire began to be used in European countries.
In the XIV century, the medieval nobility showed particular interest in these musical instruments. Each lady of the upper class tried to master the game on them. Period XVII-XVIII century. in history, the cymbals are inextricably linked with the name of Pantaleon Gebenshtreit. With the light hand of the King of France, Louis XIV, the new name “pantaleon” is assigned to the instrument in honor of the great German cymbalist.
In the XNUMXth century, composers began to introduce cymbals into the opera orchestra. An example is the opera “Ban Bank” by Ferenc Erkel and the operetta “Gypsy Love” by Ferenc Lehar.
The Hungarian master V. Shunda played an important role in improving the cymbals; he increased the number of strings, strengthened the frame, and added a damper mechanism.At the courts of Russian princes, cymbals appeared at the end of the 1586th century. In XNUMX, Queen Elizabeth of England made a gift to Russian queen Irina Feodorovna in the form of musical instruments. Among them were cymbals inlaid with gold and precious stones. The beauty and sound of the instrument simply captivated the queen. Tsar Mikhail Fedorovich was also a big fan of cymbals. Cymbalists Milenty Stepanov, Tomilo Besov and Andrey Andreev played at his court. During the reign of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna, the famous cymbalist Johann Baptist Gumpenhuber entertained the court nobility with his virtuoso playing, surprising everyone with the purity of his performance. Great recognition, cymbals received in the lands of Ukraine, entering the music of folk art. The strings in the cymbals were first pulled one by one, two for every tone, or even three – choirs of strings. Cymbals had a range of two and a half to four octaves.
There are two types of cymbals: folk and concert-academic. Their sound fits perfectly into the playing of a large orchestra.