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Bells and chimes are both steeped in a long history of spiritual purposes. You’ve heard of church bells and wedding bells, as well as hell’s bells. Agogo bells, possibly the oldest samba instrument, were an essential part of spiritual ceremonies in Africa. Wind chimes have been known to scare away evil spirits, as well as maximize the flow of chi. Then there's energy chimes, which can be tuned to the chakras and used to create soundscapes that revitalize the soul.
In music, this spiritual connection is not lost on the more astute percussionist. These ceremonious sounds can rise and fall in glimmering glissandos; they can ping and shimmer, polarize and unify, undertone and overtone, manifest and dissolve, invigorate and relax, and generally bend the emotional nuances of your music in any direction you care to take it. Even if you don't believe in chakras and chi's, these instruments can be a powerful tool.
Bells are typically used to drive the beat and energize the rhythm. Jingle bells and ankle bells are often used in stomp music and folk dances, creating uniquely intuitive rhythms based on motion. Agogo bells are arguably the most addictive, with their distinctive cowbell-like sound and clave-rhythm style of play. Meanwhile, chimes are known for their ethereal presence, seamlessly simmering like a secret ingredient in a complex and meditative soup.