What are Wind Chimes?
Wind chimes produce music when wind blows over them. Wind chimes are hung outdoors where the wind can blow over the dangling parts of the chime. Some wind chimes are very loud and can be heard for a long distance. Where you hang your wind chimes depends on how well you want to hear them, and how loud they are (and possibly, the proximity of your neighbors).
How Does a Wind Chime Work?
Wind chimes can be made of various materials, including glass, shells or wood. Most are made from metal tubes that are arranged in a circle with an object in the center (such as a ball or plate) that can strike the tubes. Metal tubes are cut to various lengths which alters the sound they make when they are struck. The larger the tube, the deeper the sound. The tubes can be constructed in differing diameters too, which also changes their sound. Tubes with smaller diameters create a higher pitch than those with large diameters.
Regardless of the size of the tubes, they work on the same principle--vibration. When a tube is struck, it vibrates the tube. Unlike an instrument, the sound is independent of vibrations of the air within the tube.
Things to Consider When Purchasing a Wind Chime
Wind chimes made of different material create different noises, and should be purchased with this in mind. Shells will create a tinkling sound that is relatively even in tone, while wooden chimes will sound hollow. The price of wind chimes can vary widely. Usually, the more expensive the wind chime, the more pleasant the sound and the more durable it is. The object in the center of a high-end wind chime will hit each tube approximately half way down the tube, which gives it a more harmonic sound. Inexpensive wind chimes are often cheaply made and can become easily tangled in the wind or fall apart over time.