Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday Search Challenge (Oct 6, 2010) - What instrument is that?

Here's a real challenge -- I'd rank this one as hard... but maybe you'll surprise me.

Situation:  You're a beginning music composer, and you're listening to a recording of a piece of music.  In the middle, there's the sound of a wonderful wind-chime thing...  that's precisely what you want -- but what's it called?

You already know what most instruments are -- but you can't figure out this one.

What's the name of the instrument that makes this sound?  What's the proper name for it?

Mystery instrumental sound

And, so you won't waste time, it's NOT a wind chime, or anything like "tinkly bells."  It has a real name that's not 100% obvious.

Search on!


  1. I went straight to Wikipedia to find the entry on wind chimes. At the bottom of the entry, someone had noted that "Often, Mark trees are mistakenly called wind chimes, but they are different instruments." The entry in Wikipedia for "mark trees" suggests that "There are two common mislabelings given to the mark tree. The first is wind chimes. Although they may seem similar, percussionists make a distinction between the two. On a mark tree, the chimes are mounted linearly, while on a set of wind chimes, the chimes are typically mounted in a circular fashion with a hanging beater strung in the center of them. The second is bell tree, which refers to a set of graduated cup-shaped bells mounted vertically along a center post."

    To verify the Wikipedia entry, I then did a search for "mark tree," where I found entries like this one from the music dictionary hosted on the music department website at the University of Vermont.

  2. I'm pretty sure it's either a bell tree or a mark tree (most likely the first), but the combination of the samples I've found and my ears aren't good enough to be sure.

    How'd I get there? I Googled "chimes high-pitched"; the first hit was which sounds pretty close. I then backed up through their breadcrumbs to and read about bell trees and mark trees. A Google for "bell tree" "mark tree" led me to which had samples of both instruments.

  3. Is it a glockenspiel? Or a zimbelstern?

  4. It's a Mark Tree."mark+tree"

    I tried searching for high pitched chimes and musical instrument libraries and was getting closer At the same time I try to keep tabs on the expertise of those in my personal learning network.
    I emailed 3 music teachers and within 1 hour got a response.

  5. NICE job everyone. See my answer in today's post.

  6. Awww, Mark Tree isn't half as fun to say as zimbelstern.