Rotating Key Chime, RKC-24, is one of Ron’s instruments he named under one of his percussion brands, ‘BloomingtonProducts.com’ out of affection for and great memories of his remarkable time spent in Bloomington Indiana at the Indiana University School of Music with George Gaber, Joseph Gingold, Richard Johnson, David Baker, and other vital teachers and friendships.
Ron’s Rotating Key Chime, RKC-24, is another innovation that’s been providing a great solution for players for over 15 years. This chime originates from Ron’s original patented rotating chime from the 1970’s, (pictured below).
Today’s current-day iteration of Ron’s rotating chime invention is made from an original, polymer cast frame from which 24 brass alloy keys are suspended.
These keys are annealed to the interval of a perfect fourth, and they alternate around the chime frame so that they ‘sing’ in an open, perfect 4th when played.
The diameter of the chime is approximately 6.75 inches.
In the center of the chime body is an integral polymer bearing, (shown below), allowing the chime body to rotate freely and smoothly for a gliding, even spin that is central to how, and why this chime performs so beautifully in both recorded and live musical settings.
This polymer bearing is mounted on a 3/8″ diameter stainless steel rod that can be clamped into most any current-day percussion hardware, including Ron’s stainless steel FlexMount hardware. When inserted over the bearing, the chime body will rotate smoothly and gently. Each individual chime bearing is literally matched to each individual chime body.
Best performance technique:
The most sound can be produced from this great little chime by turning it at a slow, gentle speed, and placing one or more of your fingers into the keys as they rotate. To increase the crescendo and volume, continue turning the chime slowly, placing more of your hand/fingers into the keys, while allowing the keys to gently spill over your fingers by rotating the chime with your other hand.
And now for the perfect decrescendo/fade:
When you want the chime to fade, gently remove your fingers from the keys completely, and gradually begin to increase the rotation speed of the chime. Each individual key will separate from the others by centrifugal force, and each individual key will decay in sound perfectly. There is no finite ‘end’ to the sound. It just fades beautifully and evenly until there’s nothing to hear.
This is an especially terrific result in recordings of all kinds, as well as live performances.
This little chime creates the perfect fade, every time.
Rotating Key Chime, Travel Tip:
When you’re heading home from the studio or show and you want to pack up your Rotating Key Chime, lift the chime off the bearing and gently spin the chime down into the carton it was shipped in. This is the secret to always having your key chime ready, and mostly untangled.
The most important part of this is the ‘spin-down’.
As you put the chime back in the carton on the foam cushion it came with, rotate the chime as you put it down. This will ‘sweep’ all of the keys in the same direction, and will go a long way to keeping your chime tangle-free and ready to use next time.
Make sure to save the two pieces of foam inside the carton. One goes on the bottom of the carton, and one on the top, with your chime in between, like a ‘chime sandwich’.
Put the bearing/rod on the very top piece of foam, close the carton, and your ready to travel to your next performance.