Founder of Woodstock Chimes, Garry Kvistad, shares his knowledge about the sound and science behind the many sizes of Woodstock Chimes.
“People ask me a lot, what’s better? The big chimes or the small chimes? People like the deep tones of the big chimes and the tinkling of the small chimes.
My personal opinion? They’re all great! They work together and that’s what’s important. Just like an orchestra has a piccolo and a string bass. Those are very different-sized instruments. Without those instruments, it would not be an orchestra.
We have an orchestra of wind chimes and a lot of our different wind chime collections like the Amazing Grace Collection, the Windsinger Chimes, and the Gregorian Chimes, come in varying sizes. If you like the largest one, you’ll also like the medium, and the small, and they would all work well together.
The large Amazing Grace chime plays the opening notes of that beautiful tune, Amazing
Grace, the medium plays the same notes in a middle range, and the high one plays the same notes in a higher range. They all sound great together!
If I hold a chime tube at the holes where the string is threaded and suspends the chime, when I hit it with a mallet, the chime doesn't vibrate there. This point where I’m holding the chime is called the nodal point (the quietest point in a vibrating object). If I hold a chime tube lower, and hit it with a mallet, you notice there’s no sound.
This is an important part of the difference in the sounds of the sizes of our chimes.
There’s a proportion that’s a certain percentage of the length of the tube that determines the nodal point.
In a smaller rod that we use in some of our wind chimes, you’ll see that it’s suspended from the same nodal point but notice that the nodal point is much closer to the end of the small rod than it is to a larger tube.
Typically, the longer the tube, the lower the sound. The short tubes may sound very high. Here's an example of a smaller rod that we use in some of our wind chimes.
There are some other factors, such as tube wall thickness, that come into play when
determining the pitch of the chime, but the key element to variation in sounds
in different chimes is the location of the nodal point.
And that’s what makes Woodstock Chimes sound the way they do. Size does matter—in terms of tone—but all sizes are equal.”