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What are Wind Chimes?

R. Kayne
R. Kayne

Wind chimes are outdoor mobiles that strike pleasant notes when stirred by a breeze. The most common types are constructed of tubular pipes of metal or wood, suspended from an O-ring. The pipes are of different lengths and may be solid or hollow. When wind blows through the chimes, the tubes bump one another, producing pleasant tones. Some chimes feature a central pendulum that functions much like a bell clapper to keep chimes tinkling.

Dating back several millennia to ancient Asia, wind chimes decorated temples and were thought to attract kind spirits and repel evil ones. Buddhists were especially known for their ubiquitous use of these chimes. Though they developed independently all over the ancient world, they didn’t become popular in the West until the 1800s. Today, the tiers of sacred structures and Chinese pagodas are still commonly fringed with chimes. They also decorate public and private gardens, patios, and are even hung inside homes.

Seashells can be used to create wind chimes.
Seashells can be used to create wind chimes.

It is well known that different sounds have specific effects on the body. The calming rhythm of surf breaking on the shore effects the nervous system differently than the crying of a baby, or squeal of screeching tires. Some believe sound so impacts health and well being that they treat children in utero to classical music or other pleasant sounds. Wind chimes, of so many varying tones and timbers, can have a like effect on our surroundings, physically soothing, creating a kind of aural meditation.

Some wind chimes are even made from PVC pipe.
Some wind chimes are even made from PVC pipe.

The type of chimes that appeal is a personal preference. Tiny metal ones create light, tinkling music; while heavier metal tubes strike deeper, richer tones. Wooden wind chimes produce an organic musical sound, while bamboo chimes can sound like a babbling brook.

Wind chimes have become so popular that they are now made with countless types of materials. This includes ceramic, seashells, glass and even polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe. While these are perhaps somewhat cruder, they can produce sounds that appeal to the buyer.

For enthusiasts, some companies that produce wind chimes offer them in particular musical styles. These chimes are tuned individually and precisely to create very specific, traditional or personalized musical effects.

Whether metal, wood, bamboo or something less traditional, wind chimes can add a charming ambiance to any environment. The music, conducted by the playful zephyr, strike the right note in any yard, patio or landscape.

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Discussion Comments


@ GeorgesPlane- I am going to Phoenix for a convention next month and I am looking for something fun to do with my wife. I thin taking a stroll through Cosanti would be great. She also likes wind chimes too, so that is an added bonus (She has bamboo and feng shui style wind chimes all over the yard). I will probably visit Cosanti and the Desert Botanical Gardens in the same day.


@ highlighter- I have actually been to both Cosanti and Arcosanti and both places are amazing. I went on a morning tour and watched them make the beautifully tuned wind chimes they sell. It was great to watch artisans pour molten metal into the molds and create these uniquely crafted pieces of art.

I also enjoyed the grounds and architecture of both places. I never knew that Paulo Soleri was an architect as well. The sites blend Earth and material in a perfect fashion. I also learned that the sites are considered Arizona Landmarks. This is definitely one of the places to visit if you visit the state. This ranked up there with the Frank Lloyd Wright Museum and various Wright properties in the Valley.


The bet sounding wind chimes in the world are made right here in Arizona. Paolo Soleri sculptures and bronze and copper wind chimes can be bought and viewed at Cosanti in Paradise Valley and Cordes Junction, Arizona. The bells have a very unique sound, and they are hand forged at these two Arizona locations. If you want to buy a wind chime for someone as a gift, these are the ones to get, and they are reasonably priced as well.

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    • Seashells can be used to create wind chimes.
      By: Gordan Jankulov
      Seashells can be used to create wind chimes.
    • Some wind chimes are even made from PVC pipe.
      By: thejimcox
      Some wind chimes are even made from PVC pipe.