Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/325

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CARILLON.
313
 

to all intents and purposes a new mechanical motion, the peculiarity of which is that, however fast the cam wheel revolves, the tripping of the lever is avoided. In all cases the outer end must be lifted to its full height before the swinging piece D quits the cam. The little spring roller E directs the tail D of the lever into the cam space, and when there it is prevented from coming out again by a very simple and elegant little device, which the inventors do not at present desire to be made public, by which certainty of action is secured. At the other end of the lever C is a trip lever F. This lever is pulled toward C by a spring, and whenever C is thrown up by the cam wheel, F seizes it and holds it up; but the wire to the bell-hammer in the tower above is secured to the eye G, so that when D is lifted, the eye G being pulled down, the hammer is lifted. The pins in the musical barrel B come against a step in F, and as they pass by they push F outwards and release C, which immediately drops, and with it the hammer, so that the instant the pin passes the step F a note is sounded. But the moment D drops it engages with A, which last revolves at a very high speed, and D is incontinently flung up again, and the hammer raised, and raised it remains until the next pin on B passes the step on F, and again a note is struck. It will be seen therefore that, if we may use the phrase, B has nothing to do but let off traps set continually by A, and so long as A sets the traps fast enough, B will let them off in correct time. But A revolves so fast and acts so powerfully that it makes nothing of even a 3 cwt. hammer, much less the little ones; and thus a facility of execution is obtained hitherto unknown in carillon machinery. We venture to think that our readers will agree with us that such a carillon machine as we illustrate is about as ingenious a combination of mechanism as is to be met with in the range of the arts.'

It will be seen that here we have a system in which all the direct work that the musical barrel has to do is merely to let off the triggers, so to speak, of the hammers, while the force necessary to raise them is so distributed and so much better applied than when the pins on the barrel had to perform this office, that the inequality of weight between the large and small hammers is not felt as a perturbing influence on the speed of working. One result of this is that the barrel is greatly reduced in dimensions; the pins being required only for such light work can be made much smaller, and require little or no leverage power in themselves; and consequently, while the old carillon barrels were sometimes eight or ten feet in diameter, that at Shoreditch is only ten inches diameter. A barrel of this size, besides taking up so much less room, can easily be taken out and exchanged for a fresh one, with a new set of tunes, when desired.

But the crowning advantage of the system of the letting-off barrel is that by this means music can be played on the bells by a keyboard like that of a pianoforte attached to the frame, with no more exertion than on the pianoforte itself. Thus the physical effort entailed by carillon-playing on the old continental system, which rendered it an art only to be attacked by a muscular person in rude health, is entirely a thing of the past, and there is no reason, so far as the difficulty of the task is concerned, why carillon-playing should not be as common, in connection with large churches and public buildings, as organ-playing. The new carillon for Manchester Town Hall, in construction at the time of writing these remarks, is to be furnished with such a keyboard, in addition to the mechanical arrangement for sounding the chimes. It may also be observed that the carillon system can be applied to produce mechanical change-ringing, by having a barrel pricked with changes, and thus the 'ringing for church' can be done automatically, in places where ringers capable of change-ringing are not to be found. This, however, can only be regarded as an inferior and meagre substitute for the grand effect produced by change-ringing with swinging bells; and many, perhaps, would even prefer round-ringing with the swung bells to mechanical change-ringing with fixed bells. The result however can be heard and judged of at Greenfield church, and at St. Mark's, Oldham, where this contrivance has been applied.

The bells composing a carillon peal are fixed to a frame, generally of oak, slightly pyramidal in shape, so that while the lower cross-beams bear upon the wall, the upper portion of the frame stands free; this is not so absolutely essential as in the case of bells hung to swing, where the swaying action is very violent when the peal is being rung; but still it is better to keep the vibration off the wall as much as possible. The large bells are hung at the bottom of the frame (in some of the continental towers they were hung low down, below the barrel and quite apart from the rest), and the smaller ones above. In arranging the scale of the bells it is seldom considered necessary to have the complete chromatic scale throughout; and in almost all the older carillons the lower portion of the scale was restricted to a few notes giving the tonic or dominant to the keys intended to be most used, the intermediate intervals being omitted on account of the great expense of the larger bells, and the amount of space which they occupied. The arrangement, in fact, is much the same as that which obtained on the pedal boards of old English organs, before what were at first called 'German pedals' (i. e. the complete scale) were introduced. This principle has mostly been more or less followed in the modern English peals. The following is the scale for Manchester Town Hall, consisting of twenty-one bells:—

{ \override Score.TimeSignature #'stencil = ##f \tempo \markup { \smaller "Hour Bell, 7 tons." } \relative g { \cadenzaOn g1 \bar "|" a b c cis d dis e f fis g gis a b c cis d dis e f fis } }

Here the carillon scale is laid out for the keys of D and A principally, and the selection of G for