Tubular bells - Sound characteristics
Bright, solemn, eerie, metallic, resounding, wafting, rich in overtones, vibrating, lustrous, mellow, distant.
Strike note and resonance
The strike note is a short, forceful, metallic sound impression at a single pitch, an octave above the fundamental; the resonance is a long, resounding note rich in overtones in which the pitch of the fundamental is more prominent. The fundamental sounds an octave lower and is audible in the resonance along with many other higher notes. The pitches written in the score refer to the strike note and not the fundamental. Like all metal idiophones (metallophones) tubular bells’ notes decay slowly, that is, they resonate for a relatively long time.
Different mallet types
The hardness of the hammer-like mallet influences the timbre as follows: softer mallets bring the lower partials to the fore, the high partials are not set in vibration. This makes the sound softer, rounder and more gentle. Hard mallets allow the higher partials to dominate over the lower, making the sound brighter, harder and more incisive.
Hardness of the hammers
The following connection exists between the hardness of the mallets and the sound: Softer hammers support the lower partials, the high partials are not brought to sound. This makes the sound softer, rounder and more tender. Hard mallets force the higher partials more than the lower ones, thus rendering the sound brighter, harder and sharper.