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The sound of music

More than just being associated with good luck and peace, wind chimes air a melodious music

Photo: K. Ananthan

Tune in Selection of wind chimes play a vital role

Wind chimes are generally associated with good luck and peace. But more than only luck, the soft tinkling melodious music as the wind playfully nudges the quaint and dainty tubes of the wind chime is an aural delight.

Believed to be invented by the Chinese, a wind chime or an Aeolian chime is basically made of hollow tubes, which sway with the wind and creates sounds. In Japan they are known as ‘Furin’.

The Chinese ostensibly hung wind charms in the farms and fields as a symbol of good charm to ensure a bountiful harvest (and to ward off birds with their tinkling sounds). In Bali, bamboo wind chimes are still used by farmers in rice fields to discourage birds.

Wind chimes are varied, available in bamboo, metal, wood, glass or ceramic, also in different shapes and sizes. Depending on the material, length and thickness of the rod, chimes produce unique and distinctive sounds ranging from dull and monotonous thuds to a pleasant tinkling tone.

Not all wind chimes are created equal and selecting the proper wind chime is important for peace and tranquillity. Quality wind chimes have a precise musical pitch harmonising with one another to create a soothing effect on the listener. Most of the so-called wind chimes from the gift and department stores are in reality only cute decorative noise makers.

Their tiny size, typically thin and un-tuned metal tubes give them a very high pitch and very often, the resulting dissonance irritates rather than calms.

Traditional and precise wind chimes are built with similar care given to the making of a musical instrument.

They are perfectly tuned and durable. The materials that go into such chimes resonate sweetly, develop harmonious overtones and create a whole new acoustic dimension in the surrounding environment. In fact, a few wind-chime aficionados actually build their own wind chimes, tuned to their liking. Several web sites dwell in detail on the mathematics of tuning, harmonics and resonance of chime tubes and various materials.

So how does one choose the right wind chime? Insist on a demo. Listen carefully, soak in the music and see if it sounds sweet and calming.

Be prepared to spend, as most quality chimes are higher priced. And if buying for a specific purpose like Feng Shui corrections, it is better to seek the advice of a professional practitioner.

UMA CHODAVARAPU

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