Wind chimes: harmony and tranquility from Asia

Invented thousands of years ago in Asia, wind chimes symbolize gentleness and tranquility. The wind that passes through them reveals their soothing sounds. Let us unravel the mystery of their magical serenity.
But where does the beautiful sound of wind chimes come from?
Wind chimes are generally made of 5 to 8 tubes or strips of metal (copper, aluminum…), alloy (brass, bronze…) or bamboo. Hung at the entrance or inside the houses, they tinkle under the action of the air movements, or when we touch them. The different lengths of the tubes allow for a wide range of sounds. Other suspended objects, such as bells, stones or small glass shapes can also constitute or complete the chime.

The origin and symbolism of wind chimes
The first wind chimes were probably made in China. It is in Asia very much linked to the practice of Feng Shui. Between art and mystical belief, Feng Shui proposes to arrange homes to optimize the flow of energy. According to this belief, wind is, with water, one of the two elements essential to the circulation of these energy flows. Feng Shui attributes different properties to wind chimes (to fight misfortune and bad luck, to attract prosperity…) according to the number of their tubes, or their location in the house, the preferred location being the center of the house and the four cardinal points.

However, the Romans were not left out: the tintinnabulum, bell suspensions also preserved the houses from bad luck. More prosaically, the chimes placed in the fields made it possible to frighten birds and other small pests of cultures, thus supporting better harvests.

Now widespread all over the world, whether you are a Feng Shui enthusiast or not, they brighten up houses and their harmonious tinkling helps their inhabitants to relax.

Which wind chime to choose?
It all depends on your aesthetic and musical tastes. You may prefer the decorative aspect, the purity of the sound, the esoteric character…

Metal tube wind chimes are tuned by the manufacturer to produce a melodious tone. The tone will depend on the material used and the length of the tubes. For outdoor use, aluminum is more robust. The tubes are often combined with other suspensions, (bells, various shapes…) for decorative purposes or to expand the sound palette.
The bamboo chimes provide a more authentic impression. Their tone is lower and more exotic. But it is best to hang them in a weatherproof place and treat the wood to preserve its properties. Bamboo chimes are sometimes combined with metal (bamboo plated on metal), producing a mixed sound that is also very pleasant.
Another family of chimes consists of a set of wires on which are hung small geometric shapes, mother of pearl or glass. The sound is more crystalline but also less varied than that of the tube chimes. But from a decorative point of view they offer a nice range of colors.
And the other chimes?

  • The word carillon evokes in French the idea of a bell. The musical instrument so named, most often present in churches, has at least 4 bells, and up to several dozen. They are operated by hand by their string, or by a keyboard and a pedalboard, as we can discover in the famous movie “Les Ch’tis”.
  • The orchestral carillon is composed of tubes, reminiscent of the wind chimes, struck by a mallet.
  • The Japanese carillon orugoru is composed of 5 bronze bells of decreasing size suspended from a wire. They too are struck by a mallet to obtain the sound.

All chimes have in common the harmonious tinkling of a hollow object moved by the wind or manually, but also an idea of spiritual elevation. Bring a little magic into your home or garden…

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