The Chimes

Date published: 23 Jan 2013

Posted by: Joe Pick

City Arts chimes illuminated

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This exceptional group of percussion instruments was designed and built in partnership with City Arts by artist and musician Michael Davis. City Arts secured investment from the Foundation for Sport and the Arts and the Co-op Foundation to create the instruments.

They are based on the same principle as a domestic wind chime, but scaled up. They are hand-made instruments each being a hollow length of aluminium cut to a pre-determined length so that when it is struck it plays a true note. Any length of metal can be cut so that it rings a true note as long as the ratio between the diameter and the length is consistent.

All the instruments, bass, treble and soprano, are tuned to a pentatonic scale. This is a five note scale as opposed to the more familiar octave structure. The beauty of the pentatonic scale is that there is no disharmony – none of the notes clash with each other in a way that is unpleasant to listen to. This makes them ideal for a participatory space or a beginner player.

Pentatonic music is found all over the world from Indonesian gamelan to Scottish bagpipes and now our chimes join that heritage.

The chimes can be part of any festival or event, creating an exciting sonic space for the public to join. Contact us to talk about hiring the chimes for your event.