The Chimes Of India: Inside A Pune Studio Crafting Windchimes Tuned To Indian Ragas

The Chimes Of India
The Chimes Of IndiaPankaj Anand

Wind chimes are ubiquitous objects that have a history dating back 5000 years, according to archaeological finds. Windchimes in diverse forms span cultures, continents, and uses. In the past, there was a belief that chimes had the power to repel malevolent spirits. In Indonesia, they were also used practically to frighten birds away from crops. In modern society, they are primarily appreciated for its visual aesthetic and the waves of tranquility and positive energy they create with every chime.

Wind chimes have traditionally been made by combining bells, tubes, and other resonant shapes that moved with the wind and produced various sounds. These sounds were typically different from each other and lacked a specific theme. The introduction of bronze bells in India and China resulted in the creation of harmonious wind chimes that produced pleasing melodies. However, it is only in recent times that wind chimes made from tuned tubes or pipes, strung together to create a specific set of notes, have become popular.

Pankaj Anand’s studio workshop, The Chimes of India, takes innovative designs based on modern windchimes up a notch. He has ingeniously fused object design with music, celebrating the rich heritage and pride of the subcontinent's classical music. His windchimes are not just creating sound but are musical instruments in themselves. Anand creates a wide range of handmade musical wind chimes that are crafted using carefully chosen materials. What's even more special is that these wind chimes are meticulously tuned to the notes of Indian Classical ragas. Every chime is intricately designed to harness the maximum power of the wind. Anand personally tunes each note tube with great accuracy to achieve the perfect pitch, tone, and sustain, all of which complements the chosen composition and raga.

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Each set of chimes consists of a group of tubes that are connected and suspended from a wooden frame designed to hold the chimes. Inside the tubes, there is a striker that hangs from the top of the set. Attached to the lower end of the string that passes through the striker is a piece of wood called the 'sail', which catches the wind and moves the striker to strike the tubes as it is blown by the wind or a gentle breeze. The tubes are made of a special aluminum alloy to ensure the best sound quality and are coated with a satin finish in a range of pleasing colors. The wooden components are carefully sanded and sealed multiple times and have a top coat of acrylic or polyurethane to withstand outdoor conditions. The cord used is highly resistant to damage from abrasion, rot, and fungus. The current series of chimes have an average size of one meter in terms of overall hanging length and weigh around one and a half kilograms.

Pankaj Anand has a rigorous and distinct design and construction approach
Pankaj Anand has a rigorous and distinct design and construction approach The Chimes of India

The best way to enjoy The Chimes of India is by placing them on your porch, garden, terrace, or balcony where there is an occasional gentle breeze. It is important not to strike the tubes by hand, as their melodious sound is produced when they are softly struck by the wind. When the wind or air flow causes the sail to sway, it gently strikes the tubes in a random sequence. Each tube produces a note that resonates for 20 to 25 seconds. When multiple notes are struck within this time frame, they create harmony that's perfectly in key. This unique feature sets Anand's windchimes apart.

At present, there are 14 compositions based on Indian ragas like Bairagi Bhairav, Tori, etc. to choose from. You can listen to the chimes while deciding which one to purchase. The windchimes themselves come in various pleasing colors like burnt copper, champagne gold, etc., as well.

You can buy your own one-of-a-kind wind-powered, hand-crafted harmonic instruments from The Chimes of India here.

A wide range of wwindchimes for you choose from
A wide range of wwindchimes for you choose fromThe Chimes of India

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