Tubular bell

Tubular bell

Overview
Tubular bells are musical instruments in the percussion
Percussion instrument
A percussion instrument is any object which produces a sound when hit with an implement or when it is shaken, rubbed, scraped, or otherwise acted upon in a way that sets the object into vibration...

 family. Each bell
Bell (instrument)
A bell is a simple sound-making device. The bell is a percussion instrument and an idiophone. Its form is usually a hollow, cup-shaped object, which resonates upon being struck...

 is a metal tube, 30–38 mm (1¼–1½ inches) in diameter, tuned by altering its length. Its standard range is from C4-F5, though many professional instruments reach G5 (see photo). Tubular bells are often replaced by studio chimes, which are a smaller and usually less expensive instrument. Studio chimes are similar in appearance to tubular bells, but each bell has a smaller diameter than the corresponding bell on tubular bells.

Tubular bells are sometimes struck on the top edge of the tube with a rawhide- or plastic-headed hammer
Hammer
A hammer is a tool meant to deliver an impact to an object. The most common uses are for driving nails, fitting parts, forging metal and breaking up objects. Hammers are often designed for a specific purpose, and vary widely in their shape and structure. The usual features are a handle and a head,...

.
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Encyclopedia
Tubular bells are musical instruments in the percussion
Percussion instrument
A percussion instrument is any object which produces a sound when hit with an implement or when it is shaken, rubbed, scraped, or otherwise acted upon in a way that sets the object into vibration...

 family. Each bell
Bell (instrument)
A bell is a simple sound-making device. The bell is a percussion instrument and an idiophone. Its form is usually a hollow, cup-shaped object, which resonates upon being struck...

 is a metal tube, 30–38 mm (1¼–1½ inches) in diameter, tuned by altering its length. Its standard range is from C4-F5, though many professional instruments reach G5 (see photo). Tubular bells are often replaced by studio chimes, which are a smaller and usually less expensive instrument. Studio chimes are similar in appearance to tubular bells, but each bell has a smaller diameter than the corresponding bell on tubular bells.

Tubular bells are sometimes struck on the top edge of the tube with a rawhide- or plastic-headed hammer
Hammer
A hammer is a tool meant to deliver an impact to an object. The most common uses are for driving nails, fitting parts, forging metal and breaking up objects. Hammers are often designed for a specific purpose, and vary widely in their shape and structure. The usual features are a handle and a head,...

. Often, a sustain pedal
Sustain pedal
A sustain pedal or sustaining pedal is the most commonly used pedal in a modern piano. It is typically the rightmost of two or three pedals. When pressed, the sustain pedal "sustains" all the damped strings on the piano by moving all the dampers away from the strings and allowing them to vibrate...

 will be attached to allow extended ringing of the bells. They can also be bowed at the bottom of the tube to produce a very loud, very high-pitched overtone.

Tubular bells have been popularized in western culture by the song "Carol of the Bells
Carol of the Bells
"Carol of the Bells" is the common English language title of a Christmas carol of Ukrainian origin, which has in recent years grown in popularity, particularly in English-speaking countries. The work was originally a choral miniature composition by the Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych based on...

", and the Mike Oldfield album Tubular Bells
Tubular Bells
Tubular Bells is the debut record album of English musician Mike Oldfield, released in 1973. It was the first album released by Virgin Records and an early cornerstone of the company's success...

 and its sequels, the latter best known as the opening theme from The Exorcist
The Exorcist (film)
The Exorcist is a 1973 American horror film directed by William Friedkin, adapted from the 1971 novel of the same name by William Peter Blatty and based on the exorcism case of Robbie Mannheim, dealing with the demonic possession of a young girl and her mother’s desperate attempts to win back her...

.

The tubes used provide a purer tone than solid cylindrical chimes, such as those on a mark tree
Mark tree
A mark tree is a percussion instrument used primarily for musical colour. It consists of many small chimes – typically cylinders of solid metal approximately 6 mm in diameter – of varying lengths mounted hanging from a bar...

.

The animated television series Futurama
Futurama
Futurama is an American animated science fiction sitcom created by Matt Groening and developed by Groening and David X. Cohen for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series follows the adventures of a late 20th-century New York City pizza delivery boy, Philip J...

s theme is played on tubular bells. The "funding for this program provided by ..." rider that followed the end credits of the children's television show Sesame Street
Sesame Street
Sesame Street has undergone significant changes in its history. According to writer Michael Davis, by the mid-1970s the show had become "an American institution". The cast and crew expanded during this time, including the hiring of women in the crew and additional minorities in the cast. The...

 also prominently featured tubular bells in the 1980s.

Chimes are often used in concert band pieces (e.g. "Eiger" by James Swearingen
James Swearingen
James Swearingen is an American composer and arranger. He holds a Masters Degree from Ohio State University and a Bachelors Degree from Bowling Green State University and is currently Professor of Music, Department Chair of Music Education at Capital University, Columbus, Ohio.The music he writes...

). Most composers write Chimes under the category of Percussion > Mallet Percussion. It rarely plays melody, mostly a bass that brings out some color but sometimes has some solos or solis, often very simple.

As church bells


An example of tubular bells used as church bells is St. Alban's Anglican Church
St. Alban's Church, Copenhagen
St. Alban's Church, locally often referred to simply as the English Church, is an Anglican church in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was built from 1885 to 1887 for the growing English congregation in the city...

 in Copenhagen
Copenhagen
Copenhagen is the capital and largest city of Denmark, with an urban population of 1,199,224 and a metropolitan population of 1,930,260 . With the completion of the transnational Øresund Bridge in 2000, Copenhagen has become the centre of the increasingly integrating Øresund Region...

.

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