Monday, November 28, 2011

Keyboard Percussion 4: Glockenspiel and Chimes

Finally, we come to the instrument that many of us started on, the "bells." The orchestral instrument is actually called glockenspiel.

I have to be honest here. In my opinion, glock is like thai pepper oil: used very sparingly, it is a beautiful thing. But use too much and you're in for some serious pain.

In the following clip, the glockenspiel used probably doesn't look like the one you play (or played) at school. It's on it's own frame and has a damping pedal, and it also has more range (more bars) than a standard glock. But the metal bars and the mallets used are just the same.

This piece is probably familiar to you, especially if you like Disney!

Next, chimes or tubular bells. Truly one of my favorite percussion instruments, and you find them in all types of music. Just a quick look at "Gavorkna Fanfare" by Jack Stamp. Chimes are very present throughout.

Chimes also get struck or played usually with a hammer. Hammers are a lot heavier and more awkward than a normal mallet, but it's the weight and the increased surface area that allow the player to get a big, full tone from the chime. It takes some practice, but you can definitely play quick passages on the chimes.

Happy mallet playing!

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