chime bells | Ancient Chinese Culture

Posts Tagged chime bells

Chime Bells

Chime bells, called bian zhong in Chinese, is one of the Chinese earliest percussion musical instruments. In ancient times, it was regarded as the symbol of power and was usually performed in the Palace as only people from upper class had chance to appreciate the beautiful music it produced.

The history of Chime can date back to the period of Shang Dynasty (1600BC~1046BC). At that time, it only consisted of three bells. With the development of the times, the numbers of the bells gradually increased. Of all the existing chime bells, the most famous one is the set of Zeng Hou Yi Chime Bells which was produced during the period of Warring States (475BC~221BC). It consists of 65 musical bells and all the bells were made of bronze with exquisite fabrication. It is also regarded as one of the earliest and most extensive surviving groups of ancient musical instruments in the world.

Chime bells consists of a set bells in different sizes. All the bells will be arranged by the order of pitches and often are hung on a huge frame or bell cot. There is a close relation between the size and the tone. Generally, the smaller bell has lower tune while the bigger bell has higher tone. Beautiful tune will be produced when the bells are beat with a wood hammer and a long stick.

In ancient times, Chime bells will be performed during various occasions, such as going on campaigns, being presented at court, making a libation to the ancestors, etc. Nowadays, it has been widely known in China and is loved by the people throughout the world.

, , ,

No Comments