A ride cymbal is a type of cymbal that is a standard part of most drum kits. Its function is to maintain a rhythm, rather than to provide accents. A right-handed drummer will normally have the main ride cymbal handy to the right hand.
The term ride can apply to either the function of the cymbal in the kit or to the characteristics of the cymbal itself. Most cymbal makers designate some of their cymbals as ride cymbals indicating they are designed primarily for this purpose.
Some cymbals are designated crash/ride or more rarely ride/crash to indicate that they are designed to serve either function, and perhaps which function is more likely. Such a cymbal will typically serve as both a large slow crash and a secondary ride, or it may be reserved for one purpose or the other in a particular playing situation.
Some drummers use a china cymbal, a sizzle cymbal or a specialised tone such as a swish or pang cymbal as a ride cymbal. When playing extremely softly, when using brushes, and when recording, even a paperthin crash may serve well as a ride cymbal.
On the other extreme, when playing extremely loudly a cymbal designed as a ride may serve well as a very loud, long crash. Some of Keith Moon's kits had only ride cymbals, with all but the largest of these serving as crashes.
The designation of cymbals in this way is a relatively recent invention. Older and modern retro style cymbals may just be labelled with their size and weight, (for example 18" medium) or not at all. The ultimate decision as to the suitability of a particular cymbal for a particular purpose remains with the drummer.
When struck, a ride cymbal makes a sustained, shimmering sound rather than the shorter, decaying sound of a crash cymbal. The most common diameter for a ride cymbal is about 20", but anything from 18" to 22" is standard. Larger and thinner cymbals tend towards a drier, shorter sound, while larger and thicker cymbals tend to respond better in louder volume situations, and conversely. Rides of up to 26" and down to 16" are readily available, and down to 8" are currently manufactured. The very thickest and loudest tend to be about 22", with larger rides restricted to medium and medium thin thicknesses.
In rock or jazz, the ride cymbal is most often struck regularly in a rhythmic pattern as part of the accompaniment to the song. Often the drummer will vary between the same pattern either on the hi-hat cymbal or the ride cymbal, playing for example the hi-hat in the verses and the ride in the instrumentals and/or choruses.
The main or only ride cymbal is normally the largest cymbal in a drum kit. Exceptions are when a sizzle or china type is used as a secondary ride, when it will often be a size larger but thinner than the main ride in order to give a similar volume and sensitivity, and in big band situations where the main crash was traditionally slightly larger than the main ride.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License at http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html
You may copy and modify it as long as the entire work (including additions) remains under this license.
You must provide a link to http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html
To view or edit this article at Wikipedia go to http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ride_cymbal