Chicago Bronze Equipment
It takes a lot of equipment to play in a handbell group.
Still, we're grateful to our patrons who have enabled us to expand our holdings and continue to explore new sounds.
Our bells and chimes are from the bellcraftsmen of Malmark, Inc.
We own 5 octaves of bells, which make 61 individual bells, similar to a row of 61 keys from a piano keyboard.
The largest, named C3, weighs 8 pounds, 4 ounces and is 10 7/8 inches wide. The smallest, C8, weights 7 ounces and is just 2 inches wide.
You can see a list of every bell's size and weight on this chart
Bells are made of bronze, which is an alloy of 80% copper and 20% tin. All bells have this approximate composition, even the Liberty Bell
We also have 5 octaves of chimes; each chime has a pitch to match each of our bells. While the bells are characterized by complex harmonics,
chimes have very little harmonic overtone, giving them a pure pitch similar to a tuning fork.
We use these two similar but very different instruments to create complimentary sounds during our performances.
Bells and music are kept on tables, which we stand behind to play. We have 6 tables, three feet by six, and 2 smaller tables, three feet square.
This allows us to arrange our tables in a variety of configurations based on the performance space available.
We keep four inches of foam padding on our table. This allows us to safely put the bells down without damaging them, and sometimes are used to create different sounds with the bells.
While there are tables designed specifically for bells, our current six foot tables come from the fine folks at Ace Hardware