Wind chime


Wind chime

Wind chimes or Aeolian chimes are often hollow or solid metal, glass, or wooden tubes which are usually hung outside of a building and are intended to be played by the wind, which causes the chimes to strike each other or metal, wood, or rubber balls which may be hung in the centre.

Wind chimes produce inharmonic (as opposed to harmonic) spectra, although if they are hung at about 1/5th of their length (22.4%), the higher partials are dampened and the fundamental is brought out. This is common practice in high-quality wind chimes, which are also usually hung so the center ball strikes the center of the wind chime's length. Frequency is determined by the length, width, thickness, and material. There are formulas that help predict the proper length to achieve a particular note, though a bit of fine tuning is often needed. Wind chimes are thought to be good luck in parts of Asia and are used in Feng Shui. In Japan they produce pleasant ringing sounds and are hung by the windows during hot humid summers in order to bring cooling relief.Fact|date=August 2007

Chimes are also made of materials other than metal or wood and in shapes other than tubes or rods. Many people accept bamboo, stones, horseshoes, mechanics tools, PVC pipe, glass, seashells, old silverware, etc., as chimes. Every material makes a different sound. The sounds these make are not tunable to specific notes and range from pleasant tinkling to dull thuds. The idea seems to be that if it is moved by the wind and makes a noise, it is a wind chime.

The tone will depend on the material (steel, aluminum, brass, the exact alloy, heat treatment and so on), whether you are using a solid cylinder or a tube, and if a tube, the wall thickness. It may also depend on the hanging method. The tone quality will depend on how you strike a tube (with a hard object or a soft one, for example).

Note that with a whistle, such as an organ pipe, the pitch is determined primarily by the length of the air column. It is the air that vibrates. The pipe material helps determine the "timbre" or "voice" of the pipe, but the air column determines the pitch. In a wind chime, the pipe itself is being struck and the air column has little to do with things.

Chimes may be used to observe changes in wind directions. For instance, if a chime is positioned on the north side of the house only a north wind will move it. It may alert the inhabitants to a weather change. Conversely, for a south wind a chime is mounted on the south side.

Use in Classical Music

Different types of wind chimes have been used in recent years in classical music are listed as a percussion instrument. The following is a brief list of composers works who have used them:

*Oliver Messiaen: Saint-François d'Assise (one set of glass, shell and wood chimes)
*Toshiro Mayuzumi: Bugaku (one set of wood and glass chimes)
*Giles Swayne Symphony No. 1 (one set of glass chimes)


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • wind chime — noun Date: 1927 a cluster of small often sculptured pieces (as of metal or glass) suspended so as to chime when blown by the wind usually used in plural …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • wind chime — noun a decorative arrangement of pieces of metal or glass or pottery that hang together loosely so the wind can cause them to tinkle • Syn: ↑wind bell • Hypernyms: ↑decoration, ↑ornament, ↑ornamentation * * * noun, pl ⋯ chimes [count] : a… …   Useful english dictionary

  • wind chime — noun (C) long thin pieces of metal or glass hanging together in a group that make musical sounds when the wind blows …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • wind-bell — /wind bel /, n. 1. a bell sounded by the action of the wind. 2. See wind chimes. [1920 25] * * * also called  wind chime         a bell or a cluster of resonating pieces that are moved and sounded by the wind. The wind bell has three basic forms …   Universalium

  • Chime — Contents 1 Musical instrument or tone 2 Popular culture 3 Other 4 …   Wikipedia

  • Chime (bell instrument) — A carillon like instrument with fewer than 23 bells is called a chime. American chimes usually have one to one and a half diatonic octaves. Many chimes play an automated piece of music. Prior to 1900, chime bells typically lacked dynamic… …   Wikipedia

  • wind bell — noun a decorative arrangement of pieces of metal or glass or pottery that hang together loosely so the wind can cause them to tinkle • Syn: ↑wind chime • Hypernyms: ↑decoration, ↑ornament, ↑ornamentation * * * wind bell «wihnd», a bell or bell… …   Useful english dictionary

  • wind-bell — noun Date: 1897 1. wind chime usually used in plural 2. a bell that is light enough to be moved and sounded by the wind …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • wind chimes — ► PLURAL NOUN ▪ pieces of glass, metal rods, or similar items, suspended from a frame and typically hung near a door or window so as to chime in the draught …   English terms dictionary

  • chime — [[t]tʃa͟ɪm[/t]] chimes, chiming, chimed 1) VERB When a bell or a clock chimes, it makes ringing sounds. He heard the front doorbell chime. [V n] ...as the Guildhall clock chimed three o clock. [V ing] ...a mahogany chiming clock. 2) N COUNT A… …   English dictionary