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date: 19 February 2020

Tubular bells [chimes, orchestral chimes] (Fr. cloches; Ger. Glocken, Röhrenglocken; It. campane, campanelle)locked

  • James Blades
  • , revised by James Holland


[chimes, orchestral chimes] (Fr. cloches; Ger. Glocken, Röhrenglocken; It. campane, campanelle)

A set of tuned metal tubes (classified as an idiophone: set of percussion tubes). They are used for bell effects in the orchestra and on the operatic stage, real bells being cumbersome, heavy and difficult to play with rhythmic precision. Tubular bells consist of a series of brass or steel tubes ranging in diameter from about 3 to 7 cm; the greater the diameter, the longer the bell tube. The compass of the standard set of tubular bells is c′ to f″ or g″. Two-octave sets (f–f″org″) are used in continental Europe and Kolberg has produced a three-octave set (c–c‴). The tubes hang in a frame mounted in two rows, keyboard-fashion. They are struck at the top edge, which is capped or reinforced with an inner metal disc or pin. For general purposes a rawhide or plastic mallet is employed, one side usually covered with leather or felt for a contrast in tone. The bells are damped by a foot-pedal mechanism. To play one of the larger instruments, with some tubes 3 metres or more in length, the player stands on a platform; a music stand is incorporated above the instrument....

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