General Question

rojo's avatar

How long do you make it? A question about wind chimes, details inside.

Asked by rojo (22315points) February 19th, 2013

You know these windchimes that you find at Renfairs, etc. the ones with the wonderful tones and clear notes?

How do you determine the correct length for the pipe to get the proper note? I know it has to do with length, diameter and wall thickness but is there a formula for it or is it all trial and error?

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8 Answers

DrBill's avatar

It also depends on the material it is made of.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
thorninmud's avatar

This web page has a downloadable calculator that lets you input various tube materials, diameters and wall thicknesses, and will calculate lengths for specific notes.

PhiNotPi's avatar

It has to do with a very wide variety of factors, such as material, length, and thickness. The math is insanely complex. I strongly suggest using @thorninmud‘s link, which does all of the math for you.

If you know what material you are using, and what notes you want (minor, major, pentatonic?), I think that I could use the calculator to generate some specs for you.

wundayatta's avatar

I would play around on your own as well as using the calculator. You’ll learn about materials and more importantly, what pleases you and how to get there. This is an art as well as a science. You may find certain tones and intervals that please you by experimenting. This is not something you can know when you predetermine things using math. No one knows how it will feel in their bodies using math. You can only find that out by experimenting.

Strauss's avatar

I think the Cuck’s Chimes website mentioned above would be your best source for the math. As far as the particular frequencies, some “sound healers” such as Jonathan Goldman use the Pythagorean tuning for the supposed healing properties of the various frequencies.

PhiNotPi's avatar

First of all, sound healing as portrayed in those above links isn’t real. I would never waste my time on that.

Second, I would suggest not using equal-temperament tuning. There are multiple tuning systems, which all have their trade-offs. Since we are only going to be producing a single chord with a very limited range, I would suggest just intonation tuning.

If, for example, you wanted to produce a major chord (often described as happy or uplifting), you might choose these notes:


If you wanted a darker and more gloomy sound (although equally beautiful), you might want a minor chord, such as


The numbers after each note represent the octave range. To bump these up (or down) an octave, simply add (or subtract) a 1 from each number.

dxs's avatar

@PhiNotPi I think that most wind chimes are a pentatonic scale (the Chinese scale; c,d,e,g,a,c). I went into a store with various wind chimes in it the other day, and being a music geek, found the pitch of each set of wind chimes and they were all based off of the pentatonic scale (the Chinese scale; c,d,e,g,a,c).

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