an introduction to wind chimes

Wind chimes have moved on a long way since man (or woman?) first strung some random items together and hung them up to bang against each other and make some sort of noise.
A modern, quality wind chime is crafted using a scientific approach in order to achieve the most melodic and harmonious sounds. The placement of each pipe is dependent upon where it will vibrate most when struck by the clapper, which is why the lengths and placements of a set of chimes may appear to have been put together in a random fashion. That part of the pipe which resonates with a clearer, truer sound is known as the “anti-node” and generally occurs at each end as well as in the centre.
String placement is very important, the holes should be drilled at that point where the pipe vibrates least - the “node of vibration”. This magic spot is located at a point 22.5% of the length of the chime from the end.
The best quality chimes may have a small metal rod set inside the chime instead of a pair of holes at the node of vibration, to which a single line is attached. This stops the “dampening” effect which the string would otherwise have upon the vibration of the chime, resulting in much more resonant chime.
The most pleasing sounds are created when wind chimes are tuned to the pentatonic scale - which correlates to the black keys on a piano. Even if the notes generated are in a random sequence, they still work well together.
The quality of sound depends on the materials used: top quality wind chimes tend to have thicker walls and are therefore noticeably weightier, producing a greater depth of sound. Those with thin walled alloys chimes produce thin, tinkling sounds.
Bamboo wind chimes lack the resonating quality of metal, which can be an important factor if you don’t want to upset your neighbours. All bamboo chimes generate very muted tones, and even the largest bamboo chime tends to thud more than chime (plus it needs a Force 8 to get it moving enough to make any noise at all).
Glass chimes usually have more of a visual impact than an aural one; they produce random tinkling sounds which are, despite their lack of musicality, quite pleasing.
Old horse shoes, bicycle parts, spoons, sea-shells, pebbles….anything can be made into a wind chime in the sense that it will make a noise when the chosen objects make contact with each other as they move in the wind. They are supposed to create a sense of harmony and peace - though they do frequently provoke strong negative feelings in many people.
You either love ‘em or hate ‘em.