Crash cymbals are usually used two at a time. When used in this way, they are also referred to as clash cymbals. Whether the crash cymbals are used alone or in pairs, they are held with a strap attached to the back.
Contrary to their name, these types of cymbals are not crashed or clashed together in order to make sound. Rather, they are slid across each other in order to cause the edges to rub against one another. Using this simple movement, a wide range of sounds can be produced from the cymbals.
As one would suspect, suspended cymbals are suspended in the air when in use. Generally, a simple rope or leather strap is used to hang them. This allows the cymbals to vibrate without obstruction.
In order to play suspended cymbals, a special mallet is used to strike them in specific areas. In this way, they can be played quietly or used to make sharp and piercing sounds. Sometimes, drumsticks are also used to hit the edge of the cymbals in order to create a sound similar to what is produced with crash cymbals.
Cymbals are also found on drum kits. As with an orchestra, modern drum kits contain crash cymbals as well as high hat cymbals. The crash cymbals found on drum kits are an adaptation of suspended cymbals. Rather than being suspended in the air, however, these types of cymbals are placed in a horizontal position on the drum kit. In this case, the drummer strikes the cymbals with a drumstick in order to produce the desired sound. In some styles of music, the cymbals may also be rubbed with special brushes or other objects in order to create a wispy sound.
High hat cymbals are placed on a stand when included in a drum kit. A pedal is located at the bottom of the stand that allows the drummer to operate the cymbals. Using his or her foot, the drummer can cause the cymbals to be shut or open. The repetitive opening and closing may be used to create certain sounds. Similarly, the drummer may hit the high hat cymbals while they are either closed or open in order to create specific musical notes.