Heller Levinson: “Cymbalology”


(for Anke L. Nolting


Zildjean           Sabian             Meinl               Wuhan

metallurgical crash cousins synoptic palimony           circumlocu-navihabitational

thinnest of instruments           sound

resounding bound round         clown sound

pound down clown round      pound pound     ping     a-ling

Samba sound   Rock    Mambo   Hop   Night In Tunisia sound

go round round           around bound              circu-larity       cymbal-solidarity

cymbal-hilarity            cymbal celerity

cymbal-sizzle cymbal pop       cymbal singularity

singularly cordial-convivi-al-ity


                        [This is an installation piece.  The Galaxy Gallery in Chelsea created an acoustical marvel to showcase my CymbalOlogy installation.  Cymbals from around the world, cymbals of all shapes and sizes, are arranged in Smash-Fashion.  Striking implements — sticks and mallets, brushes, etc. – are placed on wall mounts to enable gallery guests to contact the various cymbal-essences.  The Galaxy Gallery champions the world’s first Cymbal-Scape.]


::  The cymbal was first used by an orchestra in the 1680 opera Esther, by Nicholas Strungk, performed in Hamburg, Germany.  The Zildjean company in the United States manufactures the most widely used cymbals in the world.  The company has been making cymbals by a secret method since 1623. ::

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A musical cymbal sound is one that blooms or grows after it is set in motion.

amalgamation agglomerator cruise missiling diameter stretches a shame if Kangaroos lose that grace                    

identifying marks establish creature-hood      the bell is cymbal-hood

                   (salt solutions salinity palpable saliva stations)

providential-ity     in psalm 150, David exhorts “Praise him upon the loud cymbals; praise him upon the sounding cymbals.”  and here they come, the janissaries, loud sounding and Terraplane rousing, with their armies, their shouts and hurrahs, their edged weapons spitting fire, their clanky shields whacking through enemy and field, surmounting fiefdom and moat, sound as support as chronicler and bastion basher as cavalry and charger siege engines trebuchet trench counterweight torsion master masterful mankind mastermind cymbal STRike

cymbal MiGHT


the sound of two great cities – New York & London, or Paris, say – performing, rising up, melted and hammered into format, tempered, and should they strike in this fashion, crash together, two giant Cymbal-Cities (New York & London, or Paris, say), & were it pleasing, would other cities conjoin, succubussed by the music in their ears, their very marrow ringing, could this be the start of a movement –

Barcelona & Naples — *********

Chicago & Baghdad –*********

Tampa & Tehran — *************

Moscow & Mogadishu — *********

Milano & Michigan — *************

Bogota & Berlin — ****************

Sao Paulo & Reykjavik — ####*******

will this sound production, ringing from the center to the extremities, create a global giddiness, a planetary parade – drum sticks, bass drums, cymbal crashes, trumpet voluntaries, color garrisons overloaded, unconventional and ultra-beaming, could this musicality/communality/commonality (and why not) produce a paradigm shift, a political revolution, a … – P-A-R-T-Y!!?


            and does this (and why not) spell an invitation to the solar system to respond, to behave in kind, for earth to clay & clang with Moon and then with Venus, & Venus with Mars, & Mars with Jupiter, inciting a chain – planetary – reaction, — each planet being granted a “musical-leave-of-orbit,” & as this jangling carillon honking prospers, producing squeals & peals of planetary ploans, won’t other galaxies take notice, desire to plunge into this alloy spinning dervish fest, …


            Important to the symphony orchestra is contrast.  Seek exaggerated highs & lows in choosing your cymbals.  Cymbalic mood swings.  Prescription drugs to promote Cymbal-Calm ….


‘working the iron cymbals

I take the low road gouges

in the esophagus of the right eye


nuyon kidi

nuyon kadan

nuyon kada

tara dada i i’


corralling the gold cymbals

I load the high road gauges

in the big toe of the engine room


cyber spume     crypto cycadaceous syllogistic jisms

splash sumptuosities

crackling correlative cambiatas


cymbalogy-biology-symbology-astrophysiology cartographygeographytopographyapostropechoreography


Suggested Cymbal Soundings:

Chico Hamilton’s 32 second Eric’s time, Romeo and Juliet, Mozart’s opera The Abduction from the Seraglio, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Max Roach’s simoom-cymbals / tongue-wafters/on Delilah/Clifford Brown & Max Roach, Elvin’s entrance on A Love Supreme – buoyed harem sizzle – Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No.2, the New World Symphony, Das Rheingold, Scheherazade, … your hometown marching band


‘Most cymbals are made of an alloy comprised of varying percentages of copper, tin, & silver.  After the cymbals leave the hammering area, they are lathed for a consistent & uniform taper.  Lathing is a process in which the oxidation is removed and tonal grooves are added.’


Schooling/lathing – school children de-oxidized, spun into vapor, vapid mind pits, calcification clusters, wrapped around technical gadgetry, drips spilling – intensive care unit — from their brains,

mind-lathing our young with – unlike cymbals – no redeeming sound feature


‘Characteristics that affect timbre are the bell size , cymbal weight & profile.  The larger the bell, the more overtones the cymbal produces.’


shoaling buoyancy fanfare dollop truce

a fruit repast                calabash, pineapple, oranges, gourds zingling from cymbal slake

a flying citrus fiesta       encountering in air, seed spluttering playful humbuggery

            tintinnabulation saltatory salutation stall


B.B. King’s Lucille truss rod endlessly rocking


‘A full sound is one that produces partials.  It is not the distinct sounds but rather one broad articulation that blends the sound of both cymbals.’


coming together the coming together & entailment outcome contact outcroppings the misuse the use the downright utility/futility of entity-crash … no abbreviation capable of diagnosing the plagiarisms of horn flagellant overexposed bushwhack cafe air pocketed coffers trilogy


does one morph free like sound?  an emotional organism rippling into the ether?  at point of contact, where is one?  suction cusped?  compressed into a dualistic blur?  a duality posturing fusion?  a flight to the elusive and legendarily promising One?


navigate sound, laboratize sound, navigate contact-ings, penetrations, trip the peel lids to child slide boatswain bowsprit pistol whip the blueprints

                                                                                            gas firing

oven splutter triadic marshmallow sundae sliver timbre palette roastings      psychedelic blues biopsies                  dream bends                climax seeds                sequin hammers

glimmer arousal jostlings splash eighteenth century enlightenment rakings


Hal Bennink at Tonic1/9/07:

‘I play what they give me.  I used to bring my own cymbals … but now I play what is there.  My goal is to come into town with a matchbox and 2 matches and play the hell out of it.’


to the playground

to play is to ground

                                    to be ground-ed

clown sound resound bound round

                        Formica filly growth the bloom

frills & flummeries

                         frolic frolic candle bake

                         show me yours I show you make


rousing mandibular veracity fustigant perse


playground corporeal coil corporal the body preach the body Sound the Body Cymbalic!

lungs collude & collide – oxygen SPlash

kidneys thunderclapping

right atrium/left atrium

small intestine/large intestine forte-piano crash // clams prestidigitating

vulva lips

testicle gong

buttocks bash

hallelujah hip lock hammerheads

traditional hand hammered cymbals in pure B20 bronze

smash lash envelope CRASH


‘For I was Inca but not King.’

                                                  (Elvin cymbal scintillator

and I am stable and horse in the dying heart of the cloud

ringing perpetuosity prayers from fractious plates

palettes unwhettted & scolded on  the  eve  of  levitational  storm




1.  The Ultimate Guide to Cymbals by Nick Petrella.

2.  Antonin Artaud quotations from Here Lies (Exact Change, Boston, Translated by Clayton Eshleman, 1995, page 201).