Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Your Wind Chime Symphony May Be Sour Note Next Door

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Your Wind Chime Symphony May Be Sour Note Next Door

Article excerpt

Wind chimes let you play the breeze like a musical instrument. A cluster of bamboo reeds, a bronze bell or a shining swirl of bright metal tubes can sound like a symphony when the air stirs.

They used to be simple little affairs -- a few pieces of glass decorated with bits of tinsel, hanging by a thread and usually all tangled up. Now they're sophisticated musical mobiles, and they don't just tinkle anymore.

There is an almost endless selection of imaginative and beautiful wind chimes on the market. Big steel or bronze bells may ring like mission bells or resonate with the lonely tone of a harbor buoy. Chinese temple bells, said to bring good luck, ring discreetly in quiet corners of the garden. In a window box, little wind chimes on a curved wire stake play a sunny chord among the geraniums.

Modern wind chimes have been designed to sound like ancient harp music, romantic nocturnes and the scales of Eastern and African music.

J.W. Stannard's wind chimes are among the most widely available. The company's gleaming tubular metal chimes are displayed in garden shops around the country. A six-note J.W. Stannard chime called the Bluebird "rings out a mellow C-sharp ninth chord guaranteed to chase away the blues," according to the company's wholesale catalog. Dozens of styles are available.

Mail-order suppliers also offer a large repertoire of chimes. Wind & Weather offers a set of garden bells that look like upside-down bicycle bells, arranged like a bouquet of flowers (with slim steel rods for stems), and jingle in the wind or at the lightest touch of a hand. After a rain, when the bells are filled with water, the tones deepen.

They also sell a flamboyant "windharp" in the gracefully stylized form of a pink flamingo. Gardener's Supply's bamboo chimes look as natural as the garden around them and make a distinctively old-world sound.

"It's a little like the sound of distant horse hooves on cobblestones," says Meg Smith of Gardener's Supply. …

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