The cymbal dynasty

The New York Times’ Lara Pellegrinelli profiles an extraordinarily long-lived dynasty of instrument makers: The Zildjian family, descended from an Armenian metal crafter who in 1618 was tapped by the Ottoman Sultan Osman II to make cymbals for the janissary military bands – whose percussive marches were echoed in the “Turkish” music of European classical composers – and for the sultan’s court orchestras and harem dancers.

The family firm went on to produce cymbals prized by symphony and opera orchestras since the 19th century, and, from the 1920s onward, models tailored to the sounds of jazz and rock. Now the 14th generation of Zildjians are developing an electronic cymbal:

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