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Playing Bells

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  • Playing Bells











    Quote Originally Posted by mate_stubb
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    Carillon. The levers pull cables which cause bells to be struck. I played one every day at noon all thru my university years.




    Mate, would you be game to share your experience? I have some lovely bells in Pianoteq and I've tinkered with them but that's all. I assume that there are physical and acoustic constraints to playing bells that digital players should know in order to use bells idiomatically.
    Hi Mom!

  • #2
    When I studied EE at The Ohio State University, I got a gig playing the carillon at Orton Hall every day. It lasted about 2 years. The levers are mechanically connected to clappers and the bells are fixed. You play the levers by clenching your fist and "pushing" the levers. The effort was considerable and required a good bit of physical exertion. You have to learn the timing of the throw so that you end up at the bottom having the bell strike at the right time.



    My impression of more modern carillons (as shown in the image) is that they are struck with the fist instead of being pushed, and the effort is not as great. This one was over 100 years old, and really stiff.



    Half way thru my tenure, they installed an electric keyboard that closed solenoids and pulled the levers electrically. It was a lot easier, but oddly not as fun - and I lost velocity control.



    As for playing a keyboard authentically, I would mention a couple of things - play no more than 2 notes at once (you only have 2 fists), and don't play really fast stuff - the bell overtones ring out for quite awhile and can get ugly of you don't let them breathe.
    Moe---It puts the SINES in the basket, or else it gets the hose again.http://www.hotrodmotm.com

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    • #3






      Quote Originally Posted by mate_stubb
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      ... and I lost velocity control...




      Surely this was a major loss? Did no-one suggest that electric clappers were NOT a good idea?
      Hi Mom!

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