Hi guys,

I'm working on the sound design for an animation and I need to create the sound of fairy dust. Visually think magic wand, or the sparkles that surround Tinkerbell. Light and magical and darting around.

I'm thinking the sounds needs to be light, high frequency and glistening, maybe chime like but not too musical. I have been recording bells and Glockenspiel with various processing but its not quite getting there.

Have any of you had any experience creating sounds for fairy dust or magical sparkles? Would be great to hear some techniques on how you have achieved this abstract sound.

Many thanks,


7 Answers 7


Have you tried the Bell Tree? It's definitely the staple for that type of sound. Check out the samples here. It is a bit of a cliché, but you can always process it more to make it more unique.

Perhaps also think about other layers to go with it. This depends very much on how it looks visually, is it real world (like smoke or something) or is it CGI particle type effects?

Sometimes it helps to start with lots of very small sounds and find ways of triggering them at different rates, with a bit of randomness. This can be a bit difficult with traditional sequencers, but is much easier in something like Max/msp or PD. Because they're not linear you don't have to paste loads of individual sounds onto a timeline, just set up the patch and adjust the settings. I've probably got a few patches around if you're interested.

Banks of tuned resonant filters can also add that bell like resonance to otherwise non-tuned sounds.

Good luck!


Crystallizer does a great job. I would start by processing ice in a glass, glass debris, or a bell tree and then chop off the attack and doppler it or futz with the spacial feeling in Enigma. You can then layer and blend it with some sand blowing in the wind or wind buffets.

I did something similar for Science Channel's cube logo animation when the cube breaks into a bunch of little cubes and then sucks back into the big orange cube. I used ice cubes and wood blocks through the same process. I also put in some blocks that were graphic specific and threw them through the doppler anomaly setting and reversed them when needed. It was kind of a washy high end sound. I bet using glass debris or a bell tree as the source material would result in fairy dust.


I like Mark's answer, seconded. Done this sound numerous times. There's a lot of freedom but I've found most people like something sparkly, often some processed bell tree works.


Bell tree with a white noise swoosh. Resonant filter the whole sound to give it movement. Also some kind of envelope to give the sound some impact if it's coming from a wand or something.


You can always use matchstick striking sounds instead of white noise. They have their own dynamics, and i find them very easy to use on abstract sounds.


Theres an absynth effect called Atherizer that makes sparkly sounds. I highly suggest. Also GRM tools has a combfilter plug that works towards the sparklies. Working with granulator plugins might prove sparkley


Thanks for the tips guys. Really great advice.

I have had fun experimenting with some of these techniques and have managed to create some pretty cool fairy dust.



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