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The bell effect, also known colloquially as "bells", is a technique used in musical arrangement in which single notes of a chord are played in sequence by different instruments 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". In barbershop music, it is typically referred to as "bell chords".

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. A more modern example is "Gronlandic Edit" by the indie-pop band Of Montreal.

Don Davis's soundtrack for the Matrix trilogy features prominent use of the bell effect in the brass.

The bell effect was used numerous times by the rock band Queen on songs such as "The March Of The Black Queen" (Queen II), "Bring Back That Leroy Brown" and "Killer Queen" (Sheer Heart Attack), "Good Company" and "Bohemian Rhapsody" (A Night at the Opera) and "Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy" (A Day at the Races).








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