Carillon Improv

carillonbyu
Centennial Tower — BYU Carillon

A carillon is a large musical instrument that is kept in a bell tower. The carillon has bells of various sizes that can be played with a manual [keyboard] of batons arranged like a piano keyboard or an organ manual. A friend took me on a tour of the Centennial Tower carillon at Brigham Young University and I had the opportunity to play it. Below is a video of my improv, which should help you understand how the instrument works. I decided to improv in a minor key because the top of each bell is tuned to a different pitch than the bottom. This causes notes to ‘sour’ (explaining why so much of carillon music sounds dissonant and spooky). I decided it would be lean into the bells’ natural creepiness and have fun in a minor key.

 

-M.M.

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