Wind chimes have been around since before recorded history. They are used extensively in the East, where they have historically been used in sacred places. Since you strike chimes to create the music, wind chimes can be considered percussion instruments.
The base, or platform, of a wind chime is where everything connects: the chimes, hanging assembly and clapper and weight. It is perpendicular to the ground.
Chimes can be made of any material that makes a pleasing noise when struck, usually bamboo or metal. Soft metal makes mellow noise, hard metal and short pipes make sharp sounds, and pipes 1 foot long or more make soft noises.
A clapper hangs beneath the base amid the chimes. Its function is to strike the chimes to make noise. Sometimes the clapper is missing, the chimes arranged to strike each other as the wind dictates.
The weight of a wind chime also hangs down the center beneath the clapper past the bottom of the chimes. Its purpose is to stabilize the instrument.
Cords can be string, nylon or metal. The weight hangs by one, which threads through the base. Cords also thread through chimes and up through the base.
All the cords gather to a point over the top of the base. At the point's top, the cords attach to a hook or ring that is used to hang the wind chime. Alternately, the hanging apparatus is attached directly to the base.