An instrument that changed modern music
A musical secret that has been responding for 400 years

Kayana Szymczak for The New York Times
Finished cymbals in the musicians’ lounge at the Zildjian factory in Norwell, Massachusetts.

The safest way to the heart of the drummer? Cine.

You can have all the harmony in the world, but only with cymbals you can cross the top of the mountain on which you climb. Beauty is in tension, like riding a wave until you feel the need to break,

said drummer Brian Blade.

Blade, who played with country musician Emilly Harris and jazz saxophonist Wayne Porter, considers cymbals an extension of himself and acknowledges that his instrumental sound is credited with one instrument: zildjian.

Zildjian appeared in the United States in 1929, but the company that produced them was founded 400 years earlier, in 1618, when a new bronze alloy for the court of Sultan Osman II, the ruler of the Ottoman Empire, was produced by a secret process.

My father always said that the name is more important than any family member,

says Craigy Zildjian, executive director of the company (the first woman in that position) and the 14th generation of cymbal producers.

In other words, this piece is 400 years old. Do not screw it.

Some 3,000 years before 1618, cymbals did not change much. The earliest evidence of their existence is found on the fragments of pottery from the bronze age of Anatolia’s Hittites. Metal percussions for a long time were part of the military music of Turkish tribes who moved to the Middle East in the 11th century. By the 17th century, the refinement of Ottoman musical instruments was at its peak. Then Avedis I, a 22-year-old Stainless Steel blacksmith and alchemist, realized that a mixture of sheet metal and copper produces a rich, robust sound. But he faced the problem.

The alloy was very fragile,

said Paul Francis, director of research and development at Zildjian.

She broke.

Then Avedis I came to a discovery that will change the music – which the family still preserves – which involved the forging of metal that was so flexible that he could heated, curl and bury in the finest instruments more often.

He was looking for gold,

Frances said.

As far as I’m concerned, he found it.

Osman II gave a crafty permission to make instruments for the court and gave him a legendary surname Zildjian (the son of a cymbal producer). The family opened a shop in Constantinople where metal came in with camels and donkeys.

The so-called Turkish cymbals were assimilated into European orchestras and in the first half of the 19th century into new military bands both east and west.

Avedis II built an eight-meter-long shun to transport the first cymbals with a family name to London at the first world exhibition in 1851. His brother Kerope came to the forefront of the company in 1865 and launched a line of instruments called K Zildjian, which are still highly valued today.

Avedis III, a Boston bombing that left Turkey before the genocide of the Armenians, reluctantly accepted to lead the family business handed over by his uncle to 1927. But he changed his mind when he saw the rapid development of dance bands.

I have seen the possibility that even if there is no market, we can create it,

he said in an interview with Armenian reporter in 1975.

Avedis III developed thin cymbals to hear the big band. And the contrabands took on the role of keeping the pace of bass drum, a technique introduced by Jo Jones from Count Basie’s orchestra.

It was given to you by that rhythm that gives this dancing to the dancer’s foot: fifth-toe, fifth-finger,

says Blade, who uses Avedis Zildjian’s 1940s on his drums.

Avedis’s new type of cymbal, which buzzes, creates and responds, inspired a new generation of musicians.

Bee-bop drummer Kenny Clark leads the band with a flexible, fierce, very individual style playing on Zildjian Cymbals of 43 centimeters. These cymbals, later called “ride”, became the cornerstone of modern drumming.

Zildjian’s Gen16 product line is trying to create an electronic cymbal that looks and sounds like real. Silent cymbals for exercise are well sold in Asia where the walls of the apartments are thin.

At the company’s headquarters in Norwell, Massachusetts, there are drums belonging to Travis Barker (Blink 182), Tre Cool (Green Day) and Ginger Baker (Cream), as well as a replica of Ringa Old drums.

We all know what happened in 1964,

Francis said of the British invasion.

At that time, we had a order of 90,000 cymbals.

Today, every cymbal is passed through the hands of professional workers who check them to make sure they span a certain range on digital scales.

The main chamber tester Leon Capini, 57 years old at the factory, listens every time and compares them with the standards. But like a drummer, there are no two of them.