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What kind of bells are these?

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I'm having trouble identifying this sound heard often in anime, which I think are bells strung to some kind of stick (similar to sleigh bells), but they sound more wooden and authentically Japanese. I've scoured several sites on percussion instruments, even for wind chimes and meditative sounds, but found nothing. It's usually heard to set a traditional atmosphere like those bamboo fountains, so it might not even be an instrument.

listen here

better quality here

similar bells?

Oh yeah, I need them for a new arrangement I'm doing too!

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You could probably take a short sleigh bell and EQ it and apply a really resonant verb on it and get the same effect.

For example. I took the F SLEIGH BELLS RR patch from EWQLSO Gold XP and applied a ringy plate verb:


Pretty straight forward. You can get sleigh bells that sound like that, you just have to find the right ones (if you're looking for the instrument itself). (There are going to be different sizes and with varying numbers of actual bells, etc, etc--different materials, etc)

The reverb provides the drama--that feeling is all in the post processing. You're not going to find a bell/chime with that reverb built in, but you can find a way to apply it if you're in need of this instrument for a concert.

Otherwise, yeah, it's just a sleighbell with some processing.

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Well, it's not as much the reverb as it is the authenticity. I'm attempting to find out if this is an instrument (it may not even be an instrument) that is used for a specific purpose, like Kabuki theatre or something. If worst comes to worst I'll just make something similar using sleigh bells.

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Everything I know about traditional Japanese instruments, especially those used in theater, do not include any sleigh-bell like chimes.

I think it's a sound cue for drama, like a musical water-drop.

It probably speaks more to a zen fountain than musical instruments.

What I know about traditional Japanese theater is limited to me having studied Noh drama and Kabuki as part of my Japanese degree at the University of Colorado.

As of now, I've only physically attended one Noh drama, two Kabuki dances, and three or four survey concerts of traditional Japanese instruments.

Admittedly, that's not very much.

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Like the water drop, I've always assumed the bells had some cultural significance since they seem so prevalent in anime, as you say, to enhance the drama somewhat. It's possible it might be a borrowed sound from Western culture (sleigh bells are a kind of nostalgic sound, I guess) but it's interesting that they'd be used like any other traditional sound.

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Bells do, but the bells that have that powerful cultural significance, as far as I know, aren't the kind that make that noise.

I think it has more to do with a sound design language that was derived from older anime sfx.

Remember that western cultural proliferation is at its strongest been occuring consistently for the last 150 years and extremely in the last 50. It's not unusual, of course, to find many western instruments in film score ensembles.

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  • 1 month later...


They're called Suzu:


and can be heard here:


They're a lot like sleigh bells (so it's easy to see the confusion with them) but definitely darker and not as striking a sound. I'm going to use the recording to make a sample (in gig format) and I'll post it if anyone's interested.

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That's so fascinating. Obviously, I never was taught about them because they seem specific to Shintoist ceremonies/rituals!

Awesome tenacity!

I'm totally interested in the Giga file, bro!

EDIT: Also, I think SUZU is the sound effect used for a bell.

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  • 1 year later...

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