February 21st, 2013

On 18th February 2013 I took out with me a large and a small set of cheap bamboo chimes and three sets of quality metal wind chimes, to my regular field recording location for wind chimes - the Teign Gorge, Drewsteignton, Devon, UK. This time, however, a brisk and fairly cold south-easterly wind drove me away from spots that would have been suitable on previous occasions, and this time eventually I settled for Hunter's Tor, a south-running rather rocky crest and spur that bounds the north side of the west end of the Teign Gorge. This was about half the height from the valley bottom as compared with my previous recording spots here, and a result of this was that my recordings here got more bird sound, which was an improvement.

However, the spot still turned out not to be ideal, in that, for a start, the recording was picking up some unwanted sounds from the fringing countryside. A distant cockerel belonging to one of the farm cottages down among the woods out to the west (straight ahead in the recording) kept crowing, and there was some power saw activity at times far away to the south. For the most part I removed parts of my recordings here in which the power saw was audible, though I think there is still a trace of it buried in a few of the noisier parts where the chimes were very active. As for the cockerel, although I didn't really want it, I had little option but to accept it as 'part of the scenery'. Also, the wind gusts were sometimes a bit too strong against the recorder, so that, despite its windshield, the microphone wind noise became a bit overpowering - albeit quite briefly. This was primarily the case for this particular recording - my first one at this spot - because I had the recorder in a position that caught the wind just a little more.

- Well, that was my initial impression, but upon subsequent listening through my hi-fi system I have considerably up-rated my assessment of this recording. Yes, some wind gusts are strong, but definitely within my limits of acceptability, and they simply give a greatly exhilarating effect. The sound of these particular chimes themselves is truly beautiful to my ears, at least in this setting, even though their sound is a dry staccato with no obvious 'sustain'. Indeed, I find the full 26-minute recording unsatisfyingly SHORT, and I feel a certain regret at not having continued the recording to about 40 minutes! I note the relative lack of interest in my bamboo-only chimes recordings by visitors to my Freesound pages, and that is a pity, because they are missing something very beautiful because of the preconceptions they evidently have about bamboo chimes sound.

I hung the chimes on small low branches of a particular well situated stunted tree, and had the recorder facing west, so that the fairly distant rushing sound of the River Teign well below was to the left. However, that sound is also combined with a general distant rushing sound of wind in the trees on the valley slopes - which is why its volume does vary during the recordings.

This recording is of the bamboo Chimes only - both large and small sets. It is a 5-minute excerpt from the 26 minutes full recording.

This photo shows my high-level recording studio for this particular day - on Hunter's Tor. The sets of chimes visible are the bamboo chimes, Chimes of Pluto, and Gypsy Chimes (Soprano and Mezzo). In this recording only the bamboo chimes were used (hanging at the same positions as shown), but the recorder was a bit further from them, on the left hand side of the track that you see in the foreground, and that meant, as already noted, that it was picking up a bit more wind than it was in the photographed position.

Recording made with a Sony PCM-M10 on a Velbon Mini Tripod, using the built-in microphones covered with a Rode Dead Kitten windshield. I have used a graphic EQ profile in Audacity to compensate for the slight muffling of the sound caused by the windshield. I caution that the wind noise in the microphones is bound to sound too intrusive when this recording is played back through speakers / headphones that are prone to boominess; good quality hi-fi speakers with extended and flat bass response are really needed for any of these recordings really to sound right. Please note that the volume level of this recording has been carefully adjusted for listening purposes, and ALL my recordings so far are meant to be listened to with a volume setting that would give a realistic level for playback of CLASSICAL music (a large but not exceptional symphony orchestra). If you have the right volume setting, you should not need to change that setting from one recording of mine to another.

** Please remember to give this recording a rating! **


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