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Why Wind Chimes Sound Great

All wind chimes have a pleasing sound as they catch the wind. Some are more melodic than others, though. Making great sounding wind chimes is an art and a science.

The best sounding wind chimes are tuned. Tuned wind chimes are usually made from bamboo, wood or metal rods or tubes. These wind chimes aren’t just breeze-catching accessories; they are finely crafted percussion instruments.

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Each rod is crafted to produce a specific note. The craftsman making the wind chime chooses a particular material. He determines whether the rods will be hollow or solid and how thick they will be. Then he cuts the rods to precisely calculated lengths.

After the rods are cut, the craftsman assembles the wind chime. Each rod is placed in precise relationship to the other rods. She usually adds a clapper that strikes the rods when the wind plays the chime. The clapper strikes the rods and they strike each other, producing the particular chime the craftsman is creating.

Finally, she fine tunes the chime by adjusting the placement of the rods and clapper until they produce perfect notes. It takes perfect pitch to create a great sounding wind chime.

Each wind chime is tuned to create a specific effect. Soprano chimes tinkle softly, while basso chimes bong like a clock. In fact, wind chimes can be tuned to the same notes as the Westminster chimes that commonly call out the time from clocks.

Sometimes the craftsman tunes the wind chimes to a particular scale to create a specific emotional effect. Eastern scales “feel” calm, Gregorian scales “feel” meditative. Some scales evoke a particular culture, such as the Balinese scale or the Hawaiian scale.

Windchimes can be tuned to evoke sounds of nature, too. Winter chimes sound like tinkling ice. Himalayan chimes recreate the crystal sounds of high, thin air. Some chimes sound like rain falling.

Wind chimes sound great because of the care and skill of the craftsman who creates them. Those wonderful, melodic sounds are the result of careful planning, skilled craftsmanship, attention to detail and the gift of perfect pitch.