Chimes - Bian Zhong

Chimes

The Chime is a kind of percussion instrument in ancient China, which is made of bronze. It is arranged by flat-round chimes of different sizes according to the order of pitch. It is hung on a huge chime stand. It can make different music by striking the bronze chimes with a T-shaped wooden hammer and a long rod. Because each chime has different pitch, it can play wonderful music by striking according to the music spectrum. It is one of the top representatives of bronze development in Chinese history.

As early as 3500 years ago in the Shang Dynasty, there were chimes in China. At the beginning, there were mostly three chimes in one set. Later, with the development of the times, the number of chimes in each set also increased. Ancient chimes were mostly used for court performance, which was rarely spread among the people. Chimes were always played during battles, court meetings or sacrificial activities. In ancient China, the chime is a special instrument for the upper class, a symbol of rank and power. In modern times, many ancient chimes were unearthed in the tombs of ancient princes and nobles in Yunnan, Shanxi and Hubei. Among them, the most striking one is the chime of Zeng Houyi found in the tomb of Zeng Houyi in suixian County, Hubei Province. This set of chimes is exquisite, with a range of five octaves. The scale structure is close to the modern seven tone scale in C major.

Chimes
Chimes

The chime has a long history. Due to different ages, the shape of the chime is different, but the body of the chime is painted with exquisite patterns. When the chime body is small, its tone will be high and its volume will be small; when the chime body is large, its tone will be low, so the size and shape of the chime when it is cast will have an important impact on the chime. The assembly and layout of chimes are very reasonable in terms of mechanics, aesthetics and practical operation. The whole set of chimes are decorated with people, animals, loongs, flowers and geometric patterns, adopting various techniques such as round carving, relief, intaglio carving and color painting, which are set off with red, black and yellow and the natural color of bronze, so they are solemn and magnificent.