[Bell Historians] Rings of 12 - Keynotes

Carl S Zimmerman csz_stl at s...
Mon Sep 9 17:23:43 BST 2002

Michael Wilby asked,
>Aren't there some carillons with twice the number of
>"black notes" to facilitate playing in all these
>proper keys?

That was tried only once AFAIK, at Nieuwpoort, Belgium, with 4 
octaves (64! notes) cast by Michiels in 1952. The two rows of "black 
notes" were described as "diachromatic", i.e., both sharps and flats 
were available. But I've never found a clear explanation of exactly 
what tuning standard was intended. (Mean tone, perhaps?) In any 
event, all reports which I have heard indicate that the actual tuning 
was so poor that the result was nowhere near what was intended.

On the other hand, it is well known that carillons from the 
"classical" era (Hemony et al--17th c.) were tuned according to the 
mean tone scale, whereas modern carillons are tuned to the 
well-tempered scale. However, there have been a few instances of 
modern renovations that are historically accurate in terms of 
following the mean tone scale.

Most "modern" carillon music sounds poor (or even horrid) on a 
classical instrument; fortunately the reverse is not true.

=Carl Scott Zimmerman= Co-Webmaster: http://www.gcna.org/
Voicemail: +1-314-361-5194 (home) mailto:csz_stl at s...
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - 19th c. home of up to 32 bell foundries

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