Viscount Bells

Viscount Bells

(Tube A Phone, Tubaphone, Tubophone, Tubaphon, Tubuscampanophon)

Very bright tubaphone.

Price/Day $

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Viscount bells are a type of tubaphone. They are similar to glockenspiel, but instead of metal bars, they consist of small, hollow, metal tubes. However, the tube bells tend to be more sparkly, loud, and brilliant in timbre when played with hard glockenspiel mallets.

Emil Richards received them in the 1980s from film composer Michael Kamen, who brought them back from a trip to England and had Emil use them in the studio. Other composers, such as Elmer Bernstein and David Raksin used the tube bells in their scores as well; the sheer brilliance of them made them a favorite substitute for glockenspiel, or combined with glockenspiel, for recording.

This instrument is traditionally written for 2 octaves below where it actually sounds.


  • Listen for the high, metallic, hollow sound of viscount bells in this excerpt from Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) by Thomas Newman.

  • The title for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) by James Horner features viscount bells, which punctuate part of the melody, continuing at 1:53.

Please note: these are just examples, as playing technique and mallet/stick choices often have a great effect on the timbre.

These sound excerpts, to the best of our knowledge (unless otherwise noted), include this actual instrument from our collection. To hear the instrument yourself, or to let us know of any errors, please contact us.