Tubular Bells? Version 2.3.1

• Jul 15, 2018 - 23:24

I use these frequently in my latest piece however they seem to have gone missing from the instrument menu i have to put in a timpani line then change the stave properties to rename it tubular bells and then go to the mixer to change the sound to tubular bells why? is this just an oversite?
Cheers Lindz


Strange, try setting the language to System (or Italian) here I see 'Campane tubolari'


But Chimes should be the corresponding instrument.

In reply to by underquark

This is a difference between British and American English. I think we should further clarify this in US and UK versions.

In American English the instrument is always referred to as Chimes.

Tubular Bells has no clear meaning in American English (search Lone Star, largest percussion retailer in USA - 0 results), and could refer to a number of different instruments.

This is sort of like biscuits or scones in British vs. American English. They both have a very clear and different meaning.

How is best to sort this out? Localization?

In reply to by Jojo-Schmitz

Out of curiosity, what do we use for this instrument in German? Röhrenglocken? Glöckchen?

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As you can see, since it is an American English reference, it sends users to Chimes from the Tubular Bells entry.
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This guide does have terminology for a number of languages, so, pretty useful reference.

As a bit of background, here are some of the texts I have found very useful for reference when confirming/adjusting some of these instruments (each refer to chimes vs. tubular bells, except Gould.. because she is English :-) ):

Strain, James A. - A Dictionary for the Modern Percussionist and Drummer (Dictionaries for the Modern Musician), Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Cook, Gary D. - Teaching Percussion, Wadsworth Publishing (<< 500+ page guide, considered "bible" for percussion education in USA)

Hoffman, Stewart - The Band Teacher's Percussion Guide: Insights into Playing and Teaching Percussion, Oxford University Press

Gould, Elaine - Behind Bars: The Definitive Guide To Music Notation, Faber Music Limited.

Bornstein, Robert G. - Range, Transposition & Tuning: A Guide for Over 500 Musical Instruments, Hal Leonard

Adler, Samuel - The Study of Orchestration, W.W. Norton Company

In reply to by Daniel

I would disagree about Tubular Bells having no clear meaning in American English. I'm an American and have always called them Tubular Bells with the knowledge that they are the same thing as Chimes. I'm not a percussionist and most of my experience was growing up in concert and jazz bands. As an adult most of my experience is from examining classical music scores, which rarely use Tubular bells or Chimes.

In reply to by mike320

By contrast I am British and have always called them Tubular Bells. Until this thread I wasn't even aware that "Chimes" was used as the name of an orchestral instrument. So yes please, can we have British English localised to use "Tubular Bells"?

In reply to by DanielR

Done, en_UK now has them as "Tubular Bells" and "T.B.", de now has it as "Röhrenglocken" and "Rgl." (I erroneously translated them as "Windspiel", confusing them with wind chimes, so now left a comment on Transfer to clarify this).
Translations are not down via pull requests, only the original strings can get changed there. And if there is something wrong, we have the en_US translation as band aid.

In reply to by mike320

FWIW, I'm no percussionist but am in the US and did grow up playing in school bands from elementary school through college. I also was introduced to electronic synthesizers around that time and used some of the early GM-type devices such as the Roland Sound Canvas. The name "tubular bells" was what I normally heard them called, although I had heard "chimes" as well.

The encylopaedia Britannica -
Chime, any of several sets of tuned percussion instruments. Most frequently “chime” refers to the bell chime (q.v.), but it also denotes tubular bells (q.v.), or orchestral bells; the stone chimes (q.v.), or lithophone; drum chimes, sets of tuned drums found in Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand; and gong (q.v.) chimes, the sets of tuned gongs used in the gamelan orchestras of Southeast Asia.

Unfortunately we are not all american and Chimes seem to refer to a number of different sets of bell like instruments - i suggest that Tubular Bells should be reintroduced to the percussion section ?

So Tubular bells was removed to meet midi standards but there was no consideration for the clef. Chimes is written in treble clef and Tubular bells range down below the root C on the bass clef. Would be easy enough to keep the midi simplification and allow tubular bells to be called with the chimes kit with a bass clef showing and standard range restrictions for that instrument, while using same midi pad, just notating a different set of written rules.

In reply to by spyemanciator

The problem is that there are so many terms like this.

Is it tympani or kettle drums?

We called it a gong. Never heard of a tam tam.

Marching glockenspiel? No, bells.

Volta? What's that? It's a repeat.

At least baritone and euphonium are two different instruments.

Pretty sure we can all think of more.

In reply to by bobjp

Its not two names for the same thing. They have completely different ranges, and while the whole range can be carried by one midi instrument, a user is effectively served by the convenience of not having to reference ranges independently, something musescore does effectively for other instruments. With chimes and tubular bells its a hard range, no yellow notes, just yes or no I can play this note.

Maybe Muse score 4 can correct this by making two range dependent instruments using the same standardized midi pad as it seems fairly low effort and restores the function that (I assume) was in older versions.

In reply to by spyemanciator

Tubular bells and chimes are exactly the same instrument (this seems to be a bit of a zombie argument on these forums).

What you are taking about in terms of Chimes vs. Tubular bells being notated differently is simply a comparison of two common practices related to specific use case. Most modern views on this would actually argue that notating in bass clef is incorrect (as explained in the excerpt further below).

Similarly, you'd write Euphonium in treble clef for brass band, but in bass clef if writing for concert band or wind ensemble. It is exactly the same instrument, just common practice is different for the different use cases.

To clarify this point further, I'll refer to "Teaching Percussion" by Gary D. Cook, one of the most comprehensive resources for percussion.


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I'll also throw in Samuel Adler for good measure.
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