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Crotales, sometimes called antique cymbals, are percussion instruments consisting of small, tuned bronze or brass disks. Each is about 4 inches in diameter with a flat top surface and a nipple on the base. They are commonly played by being struck with hard mallets. However, they may also be played by striking two disks together in the same manner as finger cymbals, or by bowing. Their sound is rather like a small tuned bell.

Modern crotales are arranged chromatically and have a range of up to two octaves. They are typically available in sets (commonly one octave), but may also be purchased individually. Crotales are treated as transposing instruments; music for crotales is written two octaves lower than the sounding pitch.

One of the earliest uses of crotales in the orchestral repertoire is Claude Debussy's Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune. The chamber music composition From Me Flows What You Call Time by Toru Takemitsu features crotales in a prominent role. In Joseph Schwantner's ...and the mountains rising nowhere the composer calls for the instrument to be bowed with a double bass bow, producing an eerie, sustained glass harmonica-like effect.

Crotales are also found in prehistory. The National Museum of Ireland has several examples on display dating from the late Bronze Age (1200-800BC) which were found in a hoard alongside various brass wind instruments.

[edit] Use in popular music

In the Rush song: "YYZ", Neil Peart uses Crotales in the beginning of the song.

[edit] External links

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