Tubular Bells sound one octave higher than written

I am trying to write a percussion trio, and am experimenting with the sound of tubular bells in it. I am encountering an issue where the bells are played back an octave higher than written. This means, for example, if I want the sounding B natural on the middle line of the treble staff, I have to write it a ledger line below. Interestingly, Dorico recognizes that the lower B is out of the instrument’s actual range and highlights the note in red, but it still plays back the note in the higher octave.

My copy of Kent Kennan’s The Technique of Orchestration says that chimes/tubular bells are written from middle C to the F an eleventh above and sound an octave higher than written.


The HALion chimes/tubular bells appear to be assigned a written range an octave too low. There is no Transpose DOWN 1 octave; so the best solution is to change the transposition in the HALion player itself.

Thank you, Derrek. Interesting that your Orchestration book says chimes sound an octave higher than written; my copy of Samuel Adler’s The Study of Orchestration (4th ed.) says that chimes sound as written. But thank you so much for pointing me to the HALion editor. I’m very unfamiliar with literally everything in the “Play” tab of Dorico, so I never would’ve found that myself… Guess I’m still getting used to actually having intuitive software after using Sibelius for several years :laughing:

The ironic thing about many bells (which I learned to my chagrin as a singer in my teens) is that they often give the impression of being an octave lower than they really are (or else have such a strong first overtone that one can miss the fundamental).