I love wind chimes — especially when they’re owned by someone who lives several houses away. I simply think they’re best heard from a distance. I was, therefore, intrigued when I stumbled upon a forthcoming Kickstarter project that turns a wind chime into a doorbell.
Initially I wondered how this object, delightfully named Peal, would work, since the wind might at any point suggest you have a visitor when there’s no one at your door. Then it occurred to me that you’d probably hang the wind chime inside, so it only gets rung when the Peal makes it happen. I have no financial interest in this Kickstarter, nor do I know the person who’s running it (his name is Willard Trefren). I am interested in seeing what it is when it gets formally announced.
You might, meanwhile, ask: Why not a recording of a wind chime? There are at least two answers.
The first answer is it’s just not the same: the point of a wind chime is it’s constantly changing in tiny ways. A recording would always be the same wind chime, unless you come up with a contrivance to generate a new variation each time, or to rotate through a set of variations.
The second answer is that quality of sound just isn’t the same. The ancient doorbell in my home died in the past year, and we managed to get a physical doorbell to replace it, one by which something metal is actually hit — I know this seems archaic in 2022 — to make the sound. There’s no comparison to how that beautiful, physical resonance permeates this place when someone makes their arrival heard. The same is the case for wind chimes — arguably all the more so when they’re outdoors because we’re hearing them in the context of the wind that’s blowing. Our ears align with our other senses as a result. It’s safe to say that a wind chime is itself a sort of sonification of weather data.