Thoughts Concerning your MelodyChimes
These remarks are not an official directive from Schulmerich, but consider them as advice based on my observations and experience with chimes.
- Get the chimes up to room temperature before you ring them. It doesnʼt hurt chimes to store them in a cold place, but open the case(s), lay out the chimes, and let them warm up before you ring them.
- They just donʼt sound as good or ring as well when theyʼre cold.
- Ringing chimes cold, especially the larger lower pitched chimes, can crack them!
- The lower you go, the softer the chimes seem to sound. The chimes from B4 and down, as you ring them, donʼt seem as loud “in your face.” So, the temptation is to ring them harder to make them seem louder. You donʼt get the dynamic range with chimes, especially the lower ones, that you do with bells. A chime is only going to get “so loud” no matter how hard you ring it. And, if you ring it harder, all you get is a louder clunk from the clapper hitting. The chime still hums as loud as itʼs going to, and no louder. But, that “clunk” is the clapper deflecting the top blade on the tuning fork so that the chime will ring. The harder itʼs hit, the further the tuning fork is deflected, and the more likely it is to crack. (When a chime cracks, thereʼs a tiny crack in the notch at the base of the tuning fork. You canʼt see it, but the chime will start to buzz or “boing” and ultimately, it will go a half step flat!) Although a bass chime is not loud in the ringerʼs face, its tone will “couple” with the rest of the notes in a chord, and the presence of the low chimes is very much audible out in the room. (If you have questions about this, call me.) Adults will understand this pretty quickly, if you explain it to them. Kids, though, may be disappointed when ringing the lower chimes and want to “spank them harder” to make a louder sound. Youʼre just going to have to teach them that “weʼre going to make music, not noise. Your low chimes will come through fine with the rest of the music if you just ring them gently and normally.”
Far be it for me to tell you, as a musician, how to direct your choir or teach your ringers to use chimes. But, over the years, Iʼve seen my customers who follow the approach above have much better luck with their chimes. Yes, the chimes have a 5 year warranty, and thatʼs long enough to uncover a chime that may have a defect that causes it to fail. But, your chimes can make music for a long long time if you ring them properly and carefully!