A Rattling Pomegranate

Have you ever gently shaken a dried pomegranate? Probably not, but if you did, you would hear a soft rattling from the small dried membranes of juice hitting each other and the outer peel. The pomegranate, it turns out, was an inspiration for bells in Antiquity.* The pomegranate tree originated in the region of ancientContinue reading “A Rattling Pomegranate”

Mozart Visited a Carillon and He Wrote Nothing for it

In the carillon world we divide our music into categories, one of them being music by “real composers.” Demeaning to all the fine folks who compose carillon music, unfortunately. We’ve used this term to denote music written by those who primarily write music for other instruments and have significant recognition outside the carillon world: JohnContinue reading “Mozart Visited a Carillon and He Wrote Nothing for it”

“The Bell” by Hans Christian Andersen

In Hans Christian Andersen’s short story, “The Bell,” its characters walk through a deep woods to find a mysterious solitary bell. In short, the plot goes something like this: a bell is heard off in the distance from a town, a bell which no one can identify. Various people attempt to locate the bell thatContinue reading ““The Bell” by Hans Christian Andersen”

The Lost Columbian Exposition Bell

I have a special interest in Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, since I live in the neighborhood of its location. You may know about the exposition from the popular book by Erik Larson, Devil in the White City, the tale based on the serial murderer who operated a hotel nearby. What’s intriguing to me aboutContinue reading “The Lost Columbian Exposition Bell”

Roland the Alarm Bell

The largest bell in the municipal belfry of Ghent, Belgium—called Roland—signaled the beginning of the Brabant Revolution with its tolling in 1789. The role of Roland as an alarm bell for the liberty of all of Flanders actually dates back much earlier—to 1537.* At that time, present-day Belgium was under the control of Emperor CharlesContinue reading “Roland the Alarm Bell”