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From French.


crotale (plural crotales)

  1. (music, usually in the plural) A percussion instrument of archaic origin, resembling a metal castanet or cymbal.
    • 1970, James Blades, Percussion Instruments and Their History, 1992, page 167,
      In contrast to the cymbals of beaten metal, the British Museum collection includes several pairs of cast crotales. Strictly speaking, crotales are metal castanets, resembling cymbals. A pair of bronze crotales (from Thebes c. 200 BC) with large central boss and upturned rim, measure 27/16 inches in diameter, a thickness of approximately 1/8 inch, and a weight of 13/4 ozs.
    • 1983, Norman Del Mar, Anatomy of the Orchestra, page 420,
      Orchestrally, however, crotales and antique cymbals are virtually synonymous, the only difference being that strictly speaking crotales are thicker and less finely wrought and unlike antique cymbals are not held freely in the hands.
    • 2009, Michael Downes, Jonathan Harvey: Song Offerings and White As Jasmine, page 69,
      Tension gradually mounts through the instrumental section as the dynamics build to a climactic point at bar 69 (5.12): the first occasion on which we hear the double-bass player strike the crotale - tuned, of course, to g3, the note identified by Harvey as the ‘death note’.





Borrowed from Latin crotalum, from Ancient Greek κρόταλον (krótalon).



crotale m (plural crotales)

  1. (in the plural) crotales
  2. pit viper
  3. (loosely) rattlesnake

Further reading[edit]