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Topic: Quick question

  1. #1

    Quick question


    I'm new to this place and I've just started exploring the world of orchestral composing a few weeks ago, so consider me a beginner.
    I have a (probably simple) question.

    There is a quite common effect in orchestral music (most often used in John Williams-type film scores) that sounds like a rain of snowflakes or crystals. I don't even know which instrument is used there, probably the Glockenspiel, but it might as well be something similar (Xylophone maybe). I hope you know what I'm talking about, I've heard this effect alot (often accompanying strings) and I wanna find a way to create it myself.

    My first guess was that it is a Glockenspiel just going up and down a scale quickly, but when I try this, it doesn't sound quite right. If you know what I'm talking about, I'd appreciate any help on this issue, maybe there's an online tutorial for creating this effect somewhere (haven't found anything on this in the Garritan.com tutorial section).

    If you have no idea what I'm actually talking about, please ask, so I can try and give you some more information. However, since it's a pretty common effect, I'm sure some of you know it already.

    Any help is appreciated.

  2. #2

    Re: Quick question

    I would suggest posting a brief audio snippet of the effect rather than trying to describe it. You'd probably get an identification quickly that way.


  3. #3

    Re: Quick question

    It's just a guess, but it sounds to me like you may be describing a bell tree or marktree. If you are using GPO, you will find one amongst the Percussion Toys.

    Hope that helps


  4. #4

    Re: Quick question

    Following my post, it occurred to me that I do not know if a marktree and bell tree are one and the same or different. Google didn't reveal the answer, apart from the fact that Marktree seems to be an wine!

    I don't want to hijack this thread if it was not a marktree that Teounodus was describing, but can anyone fill me in with the subtleties on the differences please?



  5. #5

    Re: Quick question

    I think I know what you're talking about. Whenever I hear it it sounds like a bunch of hanging wine glasses scraped with a wire brush or something. Well, maybe not, but I know what you're talking about. I can't remember what that sounds like, but I know what you're talking about.

    If you could post that sound to refresh my memory that'd be great!


  6. #6

    Re: Quick question

    Try the celesta under keyboard instruments.
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  7. #7

    Re: Quick question

    Yes Skysaw, I've just read the message again, and you are most likely right. I think I read the message too quickly, and missed some of the important details.


  8. #8

    Re: Quick question

    I think you mean percussion chimes, like a wind tree but more bars arranged on a row.

    Have a look here:


    If they are in GPO you'll probably find them under Percussion Toys, as suggested by Ian.


  9. #9

    Re: Quick question

    Well, it's indeed the bell tree.
    I just wanted to post this link in order to make it easier to identify it, since the effect is quite prominent in this piece:

    But it looks like it has been solved already, so thanks everyone.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Los Angeles

    Re: Quick question

    The effect you're talking about can be acheived with either a Mark Tree or a Bell Tree. The differences between the two are:

    1) The Mark Tree has a slower decay time (about 6 seconds) than the Bell Tree.

    2) The Mark Tree has a somewhat more delicate sound than the Bell Tree.

    3) The Mark Tree is played by the player running his hands through the hanging bars, therefore no mallet is needed. Whereas the Bell Tree requires a glock or xylo mallet (or the butt of a snare stick or timpani mallet). Depending on which mallet is chosen (brass/metal glock mallet, hard wood or soft rubber xylo mallet) the sound will be slightly different.

    4) The Bell Tree can be used for faster strokes than the Mark Tree, and conversely the Mark Tree can be used for slower strokes than the Bell Tree.

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