Percussion and Orchestra Bells
Bells are classified as a percussion instrument since they need to be struck with something to produce sound. Music can be produced by the body of the bell being struck by a clapper attached inside the bell or being struck by a separate mallet. Typically bells are made out of a bronze metal containing 23% tin.
Bells have been used as musical instruments for thousands of years. The ancient Chinese used bronze bells that were capable of producing two tones over three thousand years ago. Bells have shown up in a variety of cultures, including European cultures which have been casting bells since the fourth or fifth century.
One way bells are used in music performances is through bell choirs. Entire groups of people ring finely tuned hand bells in a carefully orchestrated manner. Another option for using bells in performance is to use them as an accent piece to add character to a musical piece that relies primarily on other instruments.