Some of the most fun percussion to play is the kind that adds color and effects to the sound of your ensemble. When used at the right moment, it can do a lot to draw the audience into the performance as well as creating a sense of atmosphere for a concert, play or any other event where you choose to include them. In this family of instruments, bar chimes and mark trees are among the most recognizable, heard in orchestral music, praise bands, pop songs and more - anywhere you want their distinctive effect, they're definitely worth adding. And since you can play them in all kinds of ways (with your hand, drumsticks or a triangle striker, to name a few), there are tons of possibilities.
One question that might pop into your head when looking at bar chimes is how to decide which set is right for you. To that end, the first thing to keep in mind is that more chimes doesn't necessarily mean a better set - resonance is their most important quality, and that comes from the grade of metal used to make the chimes. So a short set, like the Treeworks Hand Held Chime, can be just as good as a larger one such as the Meinl Headliner Series 33-Bar Chimes: what's most important is that the chimes you choose are a good fit for the way you plan to play them.
Not all chimes come in bars, of course - some, like the LP Percussion Cluster Chimes, bear a closer resemblance to wind chimes. Others are included as components on trees alongside triangles and other percussion, such as in the Treeworks Extra Large MultiTree Chimes. In fact, trees can even be a whole other animal in their own right, with really exotic options to choose from like the Treeworks Springtree with Mount, Beater & Finger Cymbal.
Picking out the best handheld chimes, bar chimes and mark trees for your needs is as easy as deciding how many chimes you want, whether you'd like extra features such as dampening bars, and then sifting through the options that meet your criteria to find the perfect fit. With instruments ranging from the enormous Treeworks InfiniTree 140-Bar Double Row Chime to single-bar energy chimes made for effects and meditation use, there's something here for everyone, professional or otherwise.