May 18, 2023
Blog by Thomas Lack
Of all of the AGE (Acoustic Grand Ensembles), this one is actually my favorite. Windchimes always have a magical sound, but the effect of the ensemble is really something else. The starry night effect is just out of this world, and I think I went through a phase where I used it on like every single track for a year. This is also the only one of these grand ensembles that is not a tuned/keyboard percussion-type instrument, so I have really been looking forward to getting my hands on the windchimes in Soundpaint - there is a lot of potential for cool new instruments and programs with this one especially.
A percussionist friend of mine once asked in orchestration class, “what’s the difference between the mark tree and windchimes,” when we were looking at a score that called for both. One of our instructors said, “I’m surprised you don’t know!” and proceeded to explain that a mark tree is the designed musical instrument, while windchimes are the decorative fixture one would put on their porch. And that definitely makes sense, although calling for both does seem at least a little redundant, unless the windchimes are acrylic or wood (some distinct sound from the metal mark tree). Personally, I don't think this is necessarily a universal truth, and I quite like using windchimes as an umbrella term.
If you ever want to make your own windchimes (mark tree), you can actually use keys. Like, keys that unlock doors and things, not musical keys. If you suspend them with string or fishing wire from a stick, you’ve got yourself a key tree! It’s a bit rougher sounding than a pristine mark tree, but sometimes that might even be preferable.