Bell chord

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Bell effect)
Jump to: navigation, search
"Bell effect" redirects here. For the effect of the bell on instruments, see brass instrument § Bore taper and diameter, and bell (wind).
Barbershop bell chord. About this sound Play 

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.[1] 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.[citation needed] Additionally, "Bohemian Rhapsody" by the rock band Queen contains two occurrences of this "bell effect" in the middle section.[2]


  1. ^ Averill, Gage (2003). Four Parts, No Waiting:A Social History of American Barbershop Quartet, p.205. ISBN 9780195116724.
  2. ^ ovolollo91. "Queen - The Making Of 'Bohemian Rhapsody' 'Greatest Video Hits 1'." YouTube, 17 Sep. 2011. Web.