Wind chime

A metal wind chime

Wind chimes are a type of percussion instrument constructed from suspended tubes, rods, bells or other objects that are often made of metal or wood. The tubes or rods are suspended along with some type of weight or surface which the tubes or rods can strike when they or another wind-catching surface are blown by the natural movement of air outside. They are usually hung outside of a building or residence as a visual and aural garden ornament. Since the percussion instruments are struck according to the random effects of the wind blowing the chimes, wind chimes have been considered an example of chance-based music. The tubes or rods may sound either indistinct pitches, or fairly distinct pitches. Wind chimes that sound fairly distinct pitches can, through the chance movement of air, create simple melodies or broken chords.


Ancient Rome

Bronze tintinnabulum, Roman, 1st century AD, British Museum.

Roman wind chimes, usually made of bronze, were called tintinnabulum and were hung in gardens, courtyards, and porticoes where wind movement caused them to tinkle. Bells were believed to ward off malevolent spirits and were often combined with a phallus, which was also a symbol of good fortune and a charm against the evil eye.[1] The image shows one example with a phallus portrayed with wings and the feet and tail of an animal, perhaps a lion. These additions increased its protective powers.[2]

Eastern and Southern Asia

In India during the second century CE, and later in China, extremely large pagodas became popular with small wind bells hung at each corner; the slightest breeze caused the clapper to swing, producing a melodious tinkling. It is said that these bells were originally intended to frighten away not only birds but also any lurking evil spirits. Wind bells are also hung under the corners of temple, palace and home roofs; they are not limited to pagodas.[3] Japanese glass wind bells known as fūrin (風鈴) have been produced since the Edo period,[4] and those at Mizusawa Station are one of the 100 Soundscapes of Japan. Wind chimes are thought to be good luck in parts of Asia and are used in Feng Shui.

Wind chimes started to become modernized around 1100 B.C. after the Chinese began to cast bells. A bell without a clapper, called a yong-zhong, was crafted by skilled metal artisans and primarily used in religious ceremonies. Afterwards, the Chinese created the feng-ling, which is similar to today's modern wind bell. Feng-lings were hung from shrines and pagodas to ward off evil spirits and attract benevolent ones. Today, wind chimes are common in the East and used to maximize the flow of chi, or life's energy.

Other Languages
català: Fūrin
Cymraeg: Clychau gwynt
español: Fūrin
français: Fūrin
Bahasa Indonesia: Genta angin
italiano: Fūrin
עברית: פעמון רוח
日本語: 風鈴
norsk: Vindspill
norsk nynorsk: Vindspel
português: Espanta-espíritos
Simple English: Wind chimes
suomi: Tuulikello
Türkçe: Rüzgar çanı
Tiếng Việt: Chuông gió
中文: 风铃