What Should the Carillon Play? Part II

In a recent post, I discussed repertoire for the carillon. So maybe the question us carillon performers should be asking ourselves when determining what to play is—what sounds good on the bells? I’m going to leave aside the thoughts of past carillonneurs and focus on two issues that arise today. Carillonneurs often bring up the […]

Jacob Van Eyck and the Hemony Brothers

It’s hard to underestimate the standing of the Hemony brothers—Pierre and François Hemony—in the carillon world. With the likely help of Jacob Van Eyck, they were the first European bell founders to effectively tune the lower five partials in bells. Before them, an instrument of well-tuned bells was a dream that many strived for but […]

The Wedding Bells of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Part II

So what’s the solution to our tuning problem introduced in my last blog post? On the one hand, if we tune the five lowest partials in all the bells to perfect equal temperament tuning, we will avoid beats (an unpleasant effect resulting from tones very close together in frequency sounding simultaneously) when different bells ring […]

The Wedding Bells of Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Part I

Remember those countless years ago when the bells of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London pealed out for Prince Charles’ and Princess Diana’s wedding? I sure don’t; I was a toddler. My mom says she watched it, though, so I might have caught some glimpses of it. You can hear the full range of the twelve […]

The Note that Wasn’t There, Part II

It turns out I need to do some correcting with my blog post about the bell’s strike note. A commenter (thanks BDF!) asked if other musical instruments besides bells had a similar phantom-like note, and that prompted me to find this surprising tidbit. When we hear musical sounds that conform to the natural harmonic series, […]

Proclaiming Liberty, part III

So…what does the Liberty Bell SOUND like? Thanks to a research team of grad students at Pennsylvania State University, we’ve got an educated guess! Hmm. That’s an interesting sound, isn’t it? Kind of crunchy. A neutral observer would say that it doesn’t follow the typical profile of partials in bells. Others may put it another […]