tubular bells

tubular bells

Tubular bells.

The ranges of various tuned percussio instruments

The ranges of various tuned percussion instruments.

The tubular bells, also called orchestral chimes, are a set of tuned metal tubes, hung vertically from a frame with a pedal damper. The tubes are hollow and capped at the top with a reinforced metal disk. They are struck at the top with a wooden or rawhide mallet that looks like a hammer. The pedal controls the sustain.


The standard range of the tubular bells is one and a half octaves, from middle C (c') up to F (f ")or sometimes G. Each tube is about 5–6 centimeters (2 inches) in diameter, and ranges from 75 centimeters (f ", 30 inches) to 155 centimeters (c', 62 inches) in length. They have a complex series of overtones, and are often used to imitate the sounds of church bells.


Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells album was released in 1973.