A bell chord, also known colloquially as "bells", is a technique used in musical arrangement in which single notes of a chord are played in sequence by separate instruments (or multiples of the same instrument) which sustain their individual notes to allow the chord to be heard. It is, in effect, an arpeggio played by several instruments sequentially. This is also known as a "pyramid" or "cascade". It is common in barbershop music.
The technique originated with jazz big bands and is a staple of trad jazz. A good example can be heard in the introduction to "The Charleston" by The Temperance Seven. Additionally, "Bohemian Rhapsody" by the rock band Queen contains two occurrences of this "bell effect" in the middle section.
- Averill, Gage (2003). Four Parts, No Waiting:A Social History of American Barbershop Quartet, p.205. ISBN 9780195116724.
- ovolollo91. "Queen - The Making Of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' 'Greatest Video Hits 1'." YouTube, 17 Sep. 2011. Web.