I heard a concert by Rosemary Laing on the Netherlands Centennial Carillon in Victoria, CB. Text below is from the information panel in front of the Carillon.
“A carillon is a musical instrument with a set of 23 or more bronze bells. This carillon, the largest in Canada, has 62 bells. It is house at the top of this tower, which stands 27meters tall. THe largest bell in this carillon weighs 1500. To play the Netherlands Carillon, a musician climbs the 75 steps of the spiral staircase, then a 10-step ladder. There, the carillonneur depresses the keys and pedals of a clavier to play a song on the bells. Carillon bells do not swing like curch bells; they ring when struck by clappers connected with wires to the clavier.
In the Middle Ages, bells became part of Europe’s religious soundscape. Travelling foundry workers cast huge bells on site for the great cathedrals. By the 16th century, the carillon had become a symbol of prosperity and achievement in Flemish and Dutch towns. The sound of the bells were a part of the town’s daily order. In 1967, the Netherlands Centennial Committee for British Columbia raised funds for this carillon’s original set of 49 tuned bronze bells, which were cast in the Netherlands. Four years later, to celebrate the centennial of BC’s 1871 entry into Canada, another 13 bells were added, making this Canada’s largest carillon.
The pitches of several bells commemorate specific events: D celebrates the founding of the Colony of Vancouver Island in 1849. E the founding of BC as a colony in 1858, and F-sharp their union in 1866; F rings for the Confederation of Canada in 1867 and G-shartp for BC1871 entry into the Confederation; and G remembers Canadian soldiers who gave their lives for the liberation of the Netherlands, 1940 – 45.”
The Westminster Abbey in Mission, BC has bells that ring to call members of the Abbey to afternoon Vespers. I think there are 8 bells rung by several human ringers, judging from how the descending major scale begins quite orderly, but then tumbles into random ringing that constantly changes (the first track). The bells rang for perhaps 15 minutes, then inside the Abbey, we listened to the monks and students in the abbey sing (the second track).