Fork cymbals

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Fork cymbals are small cymbals or cymbals that are struck in pairs and attached to the ends of a springy metal fork . The percussion instrument , which is similar to grill tongs , is classified as a counter-strike idiophone .

In the 3rd and 4th centuries, forked basins were depicted on Roman and Egyptian reliefs. Forked basins with domed and curved plates made of yellow or white metal appear in antique Carolingian book illuminations in the 9th and 10th centuries . The relatively precise representations suggest that this form of the fork basin was actually used in the Middle Ages and not only taken from ancient images. The player held a forked cymbal at the lower end in each hand and rhythmically moved both of them back and forth so that the cymbals collapsed.

According to Curt Sachs , beggars in Myanmar used similar forked cymbals in the early 20th century along with a bamboo rattle called vâ-let-kyot . This is to be seen as a preliminary stage of the fork pelvis. Such bamboo rattles are regional in the Malay Archipelago , in Polynesia and in the northeast Indian state of Assam , where they are called toka .

More closely related to the medieval fork cymbals are the metal tongs chimta played in northwest India and Pakistan , which are set with a number of cymbals. A typical fork basin is in a gamelan in Bali together with the small Aufschlagidiophon gumanak and other percussion instruments used kangsi .

In Turkish folk music, zilli maşa are charcoal tongs that are incised lengthways in the front area and bent laterally apart, with a pair of cymbals attached to each end.


  • Curt Sachs : Handbook of musical instruments . Breitkopf and Härtel, Wiesbaden 1920; 2nd edition: Georg Olms, Hildesheim 1967, p. 13 (“Gabelbecken”), ISBN 3-7651-0051-X

Individual evidence

  1. Illustration of two kangsi. Sejarah gamelan gambuh di desa Pedungan .