Bowed Cymbal

I have a bunch of bowed cymbal sounds in my library and they have always intrigued me as I understood how they were created but had never bothered to actually try myself, despite having a drum kit (the ultimate stress reliever!) with some quite nice cymbals….. and years ago when I bought my double bass it of course came with a bow… So the parts were within mere yards of each other… But as always, once I decided to investigate I prepared for the worst & a bought a cheap violin bow & prepared to sacrifice it in the name of some new sounds and, if it was safe, try my lovely double bass bow. And the results? Well my ride & crash cymbal provided some predictably nice results, if a little bland – theres nothing more frustrating than having a sound generating object in your hands and after five minutes realising you have already exhausted most of its possibilities.. Jack De Jonnette might care to disagree, but I’m no drummer – I’m a bass player, so I tend to appreciate drummers rather than pretend to be one… But then I remembered the munted old cymbal a friend had loaned me/abandoned after a jam session many moons ago… I have no idea how it happened but it seems someone took their frustrations out on this old cymbal & a sizeable chunk of it sticks out at an odd angle, in a very un-cymbal-like way… but you should hear it! In fact you CAN hear it, below is a little video compile of some bits of my session. I did a split channel recording; one channel of my Sound Devices 722 recorder was being fed with a Neuman KMR81 mic while the other side was recording my Trance Audio contact mic & of course recording at 96k 24 bit so I can half speed it later without generating too much unwanted grain.. The audio on the video is just the contact mic & the more observant among you might notice the video plays forwards then backwards… why? Because I love sound backwards! I uploaded the video to both vimeo and youtube, just to see/hear the difference for myself…



Bowed Cymbal recording from tim prebble on Vimeo.

5 Responses to Bowed Cymbal

  1. Dan says:

    Very very nice. I have to try this too!

  2. Jeff says:

    Do you ever make any of your sounds available to other musicians? I love bowed cymbals and I’d love to get my hands on some more samples.

  3. tim says:

    Thats a good question! I am in the process of making this possible, my plan is to make available sample libraries of raw material for musicians & sound designers, as opposed to making Kontakt etc librarys. From my own point of view, I’d prefer to have a folder full of new sounds, than a lesser collection that have all been edited & looped nicely etc…. especially for sound design I only occasionally use a sampler, most manipulation is done in PT…
    Let me get back to you on this in a month or so!

  4. Pingback: Bowed cymbal recording | The Kevin Pipe

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