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What is a Carillon?

Bells in the Middle Ages

Back in the ancient past, there was no emergency alert system to interrupt our cable broadcast. In fact, there was no cable broadcast, no radio, no TV. The only early warning system to notify towns people of coming storms or impending attacks by savages was the pealing of bells.

Technical Renaissance

By the 16th century, bells were in common usage, not only to warn of disasters (natural and man-made), but also to call people to mass (religious services), even to tell the time. People began making little melodies on four bells, followed by the number of chimes to tell the hour, (which was handy, there being no digital watches). One of the first musical uses of bells was around 1510, where a primitive keyboard was used to play music on just four bells, at Oudenaarde Town Hall. A french term for those "four bells" was "quadrillon", and the term later morphed to "Carillon". That might not seem very "high tech", but it was really fresh compared to anything that had come before. As time progressed, people got more inventive and came up with mechanical automation for playing on four bells (such as "Big Ben" in London). In time, people began building mechanical masterpieces that played music on many more than four bells... but the name "Carillon" had stuck.

Carillons in the 20th Century

The 20th century was a golden age for invention. Based upon the latest advances in technology, companies began offering Tape-Cartridge-Based Bell Tower Systems for the average church to install. It was still very expensive, but it was finally possible, with great sacrifice, for a church to have its very own electronic Carillon Bell Tower.

At the very end of the 20th century, primitive solid state digital Carillon systems became available, offering better reliability than their tape-based or fully mechanical counterparts, but they all suffered from from one fatal flaw: vulnerability to power line disasters from bad weather!

All too many churches have found out the hard way that it can be very expensive to replace or repair such dedicated electronic hardware, which was barely affordable (with great sacrifice) in the first place!

Your Carillon for the 21st Century

At the turn of this century, personal computers were in common usage. They all had the hardware and brains necessary to make beautiful music, and churches needed only a great software program playing great bell music. By this time, people had also become rather discriminating about the music they liked to hear, and the dark and "spooky", clashing bell "harmonies" were not going to "cut it" with this new digital age of listeners. Meanwhile, systems offering such dark and somber tones cost the price of a new car!

To the rescue, InspiredCode came on the scene, offering amazingly beautiful bell music performed by a reliable and powerful program that makes it easy to create custom schedules you can set once and enjoy year round.

And the best part of all, by making the software easy on system resources, low end computers can be swapped in to replace anything a storm might ever kill, resulting in basically no down-time at all!

A few years into this ministry, InspiredCode made history again by offering a "General Hymn Collection", over 3000 hymns and carols orchestrated on beautiful harmonious bells!

We hope you have enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. To learn more about anything we've mentioned here, just Google the "buzzword" we used, and you'll find plenty of historical information.

Now you've had a (very brief) briefing, it's time for a treat: click the link at the top of this page and download InspiredCode's ChurchBells program. You'll love this amazing bell music.