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Westgate Morris

Real bell or digital carillon?

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Real bell or digital carillon?

 

My parish is dealing with an old electronic carillon that has passed its prime. It played 'sacred melodies' at different times of the day for approx. 4 min each time since some date before 1979! The system – basically cd recordings (originally tapes) of bells played over roof speakers is considered to old to repair.

Estimates for a digital unit to replace the system comes in at five figures. Lots of perks like peals, and funeral tolls as well as memory for some 500 melodies, midi keyboard etc. etc.

I have just discovered a source for used church bells (all sizes, all materials) and I think I need to give my parish the option of a real bell. We are not a big church and a real carillon or peal of real bells is totally out of reach. It would simply be silly to consider. We have no tower but have a spot for what some call a ‘mission bell’.

My idea right now is that a brass church bell with a pleasant tone would have a lot of integrity and last for generations. It could be tolled very slow for funerals and rung with vigour at the end of a wedding.

Tips, suggestions, your best advice? Is a real bell worth it? Quick figures show a real bell would cost less but there will be no melodies or peals!

WM

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I would far sooner listen to a single real bell than to tunes played on an electronic substitute. Such things are invariably dreadful!

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I would far sooner listen to a single real bell than to tunes played on an electronic substitute. Such things are invariably dreadful!

 

I agree with David. There are a couple of points to consider though, so PM sent.

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One point to consider, apart from the sound, it that if your church doesn't have a tower big enough to hold the number of bells inferred by an electronic carillon, it is going to sound absurd to have such sounds emanating from it. This is much the same reasoning as applies to a small church which instals an electronic instrument with more speaking stops than a pipe organ suitable for that building would contain.

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You've given the answer yourself!

Your present 'carillon' appears to have lasted for about 34 years.

Spend (presumably) over £10,000 on a new one and it will probably last you another 34 years.

 

Get a real bell. If you find you have another £10,000 after 34 years, it will still be going strong and you'll be able to buy another bell (if you find somewhere to put it)!

 

Also, as has been said, a peal of twelve bells coming from nowhere would just sound daft.

 

(Similar reasons should, of course, discourage the purchase of toasters but it doesn't seem to, I'm afraid.)

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If I hadn't been sure before, on Sunday I had the misfortune to hear the strains of the device installed in a local United Church (in a tower which resembles an attempt at a moon rocket by the Teletubbies). My! it was dire!!!!

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