musical instrument of bells in the percussion family

A carillon is a pitched percussion instrument that is played with a keyboard and consists of at least 23 cast bronze bells in fixed suspension and tuned in chromatic order so that they can be sounded harmoniously together.


Alphabetized by author
  • Here again I found myself in a country of carillons; I had indeed heard some slight attempts in Bremen, but in [Groningen] every half hour is measured by chimes.
    • Charles Burney, quoted in Carillons of Belgium and Holland: Tower Music in the Low Countries (1914, pp. 24–25) by William Gorham Rice
  • One's first impression of a carillon recital is apt to be rather an odd one, with some question as to whether or not the bells are truly musical instruments, capable of artistic expression. This, I feel, is due largely to the fact that bells possess very prominent overtones, which sometimes clash since there is no method in use of "damping" to stop the vibrations when the harmony changes. Also, to the unaccustomed ear, some of the bells seem to sound out of tune. However, after listening repeatedly to the carillon, one not only becomes accustomed to the overtones and "clash", but begins to appreciate its real beauty, which seems to me to rest in its magnificence, its stately dignity, and above all, its clear, ringing tone. Especially striking is the richness of some of the lower bells, as well as the almost "singing" quality of the small, upper ones when struck repeatedly.
    • Robert Cato, in his article "My First Acquaintance with Campanology" in Overtones: The Monthly Publication of The Curtis Institute of Music (April 1930), p. 175
  • To achieve real harmony, justice should be done also to the small and tiny voices, which are not supported by the might of their weight. Mankind could learn from this. So many voices in our troubled world are still unheard. Let that be an incentive for all of us when we hear the bells [of a carillon] ringing.
    • Speech given by Juliana of the Netherlands on April 4, 1952, to dedicate the Netherlands Carillon
  • It would be impossible to do anything with the carillon unless one had had a good background in piano, organ, and theory, and were able to transpose readily. I am convinced that one is as important as the other. The piano is essential for general foundation, for reading, touch, dynamics, and for interpretation; the organ for coordination between hands and feet; theory (harmony, counterpoint, solfege, at least) for arrangements. There is no other instrument of which I know that requires as much preparation for study as does the carillon.
    • Alexander McCurdy, in his article "Off for Florida — and Campanology" in Overtones: The Monthly Publication of The Curtis Institute of Music (April 1930), pp. 173–74
  • I like the carillon very much and believe that it will assume a constantly increasing popularity and consideration on the part of musicians.
    • Nino Rota, in "Some Meditations on the Carillon", published by The Highlander (Lake Wales, Florida), January 15, 1932.

External linksEdit

  •   Encyclopedic article on Carillon on Wikipedia