Music of the Spheres Wind Chimes


Most wind chimes are little more than pseudo-musical toys. The sole exception to this generalization are the excellent hand-crafted wind chimes made in Texas by Music of the Spheres, which are truly fine musical instruments. These chimes were designed by the late Larry Roark, a professional musician and superb craftsman. Each instrument is carefully made, voiced, and tuned to a'=440 Hz. There are five different sizes (soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, tenor, and bass) and each size is available in ten different hexatonic (six-note) tunings: Pentatonic, Quartal, Chinese, Mongolian, Aquarian, Gypsy, Hawaiian, Balinese, Japanese, and Whole-tone. In additional to these fifty models, there are three specialized models: six-note contrabass and basso profundo models, available only in quartal tuning, and a four-note Westminster chime tuned to the notes of the Big Ben tower in London.

The tubes are made of a custom tempered aluminum alloy for optimal tone quality as well as durability. The stainless steel rings are attractive and wholly weather-proof, the polyethylene clappers are stable and provide optimal sound quality as well, and the synthetic braided cordage is UV stabilized and highly resistant to abrasion, rot, and mildew. The wind catchers are optimized in size for each model and will respond to wind speeds of 8-10 mph, but can be easily removed during storm conditions if desired. We can custom-voice an individual chime or a set of chimes to personal preferences or prevailing wind conditions by upsizing or downsizing the wind catchers and will gladly exchange the wind catchers for different sizes if you find that the chimes are too quiet or too active after installation.

Please note that, like pipe organ flue pipes, wind chimes get longer and heavier very quickly as one proceeds from the smaller sizes to the larger ones. Please be certain that you have a adequate means of support and suspension if you are considering purchase of any of the larger sizes from tenor on down. These wind chimes are intended for year-round use in all climates. The three smallest sizes have a warranty of seven years and the larger models have a warranty of fifteen years.

Thanks to the ingenious design and the careful voicing and tuning, these wind chimes can function not just individually but also in matched sets or consorts. The most obvious combinations are mixtures of different sizes in the same tuning. However, it is also possible to create even more complex ensembles by mixing the same sizes in different tunings, or different sizes and different tunings, for that matter. The tuning combinations that we have found to work best together are Pentatonic and Hawaiian, Mongolian and Aquarian, and Chinese, Japanese, and Balinese. The Contrabass and Basso Profundo models, with their quartal tunings, will blend nicely with any of the ten tunings of the smaller models.

Please note that the windchime size designations differ to some degree from the normal size nomenclature of other musical instruments such as recorders, which can be a bit confusing at first. However, the size relationships will be readily apparent from the following chart:

Windchime Size Recorder Size
Soprano Sopranino
Mezzo-Soprano Soprano
Alto Alto
Tenor Tenor
Bass Bass
Contrabass Greatbass
Basso Profundo Contrabass

After having lived with these chimes for a period of time, it has become apparent to us that each size has its own distinctive musical personality, which derives from the interplay of a number of differing performance parameters, some of which are obvious and others not quite so obvious. In an ensemble of different size wind chimes, each instrument makes its own unique contribution to the fabric of the aleatoric musical "composition," and the varying wind speeds create a rich tapestry of continuously changing patterns of sonorities. We have compiled the following chart to show how these characteristics are related to one another:

Windchime Size Tube Length Tube Diameter Pitch Overtones Attack Pitch Change Sustain Decay
soprano
to
the
basso profundo
smallest
to
the
largest
shortest
to
the
longest
narrowest
to
the
widest
highest
to
the
lowest
least
to
the
most
sharpest
to
the
smoothest
fastest
to
the
slowest
least
to
the
most
most rapid
to
the
least rapid

Music of the Spheres Wind Chimes

Size Tuning Pitches Suspended
Height
Tube
Diameter
Approximate
Weight
Price
Soprano Pentatonic A, B, D, E, F#, A 30 inches 7/8 inches 2 pounds $80.00
Quartal A, B, D, E, G, A
Chinese A, C, D, F, G, A
Mongolian A, B, C#, E, F#, A
Aquarian A, B, D, E, G#, A
Gypsy A, Bb, C#, D, E, F
Hawaiian A, B, C, E, F#, A
Balinese A, Bb, C, E, F#, A
Japanese A, Bb, D, E, F, A
Whole-Tone A, B, C#, Eb, F, G
Mezzo-Soprano Pentatonic D, E, G, A, B, D 38 inches 1 3/16 inches 5 pounds $114.00
Quartal D, E, G, A, C, D
Chinese D, F, G, Bb, C, D
Mongolian D, E, F#, A, B, D
Aquarian D, E, G, A, C#, D
Gypsy D, Eb, F#, G, A, Bb
Hawaiian D, E, F, A, B, D
Balinese D, Eb, F, A, B, D
Japanese D, Eb, G, A, Bb, D
Whole-Tone D, E, F#, Ab, Bb, C
Alto Pentatonic A, B, D, E, F#, A 50 inches 1 1/2 inches 10 pounds $181.00
Quartal A, B, D, E, G, A
Chinese A, C, D, F, G, A
Mongolian A, B, C#, E, F#, A
Aquarian A, B, D, E, G#, A
Gypsy A, Bb, C#, D, E, F
Hawaiian A, B, C, E, F#, A
Balinese A, Bb, C, E, F#, A
Japanese A, Bb, D, E, F, A
Whole-Tone A, B, C#, Eb, F, G
Tenor Pentatonic D, E, G, A, B, D 60 inches 2 inches 27 pounds $378.00
Quartal D, E, G, A, C, D
Chinese D, F, G, Bb, C, D
Mongolian D, E, F#, A, B, D
Aquarian D, E, G, A, C#, D
Gypsy D, Eb, F#, G, A, Bb
Hawaiian D, E, F, A, B, D
Balinese D, Eb, F, A, B, D
Japanese D, Eb, G, A, Bb, D
Whole-Tone D, E, F#, Ab, Bb, C
Bass Pentatonic A, B, D, E, F#, A 90 inches 2 1/2 inches 45 pounds $568.00
Quartal A, B, D, E, G, A
Chinese A, C, D, F, G, A
Mongolian A, B, C#, E, F#, A
Aquarian A, B, D, E, G#, A
Gypsy A, Bb, C#, D, E, F
Hawaiian A, B, C, E, F#, A
Balinese A, Bb, C, E, F#, A
Japanese A, Bb, D, E, F, A
Whole-Tone A, B, C#, Eb, F, G
Contrabass Quartal D, E, G, A, C, D 9 feet 3 1/2 inches 100 pounds $1,520.00
Basso Profundo Quartal A, B, D, E, G, A 14 feet 5 inches 200 pounds $3,040.00
Westminster Four-Note A, D, E, F# 90 inches 1 1/2 inches 15 pounds $251.00


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