Posted by: kaleidophonic | April 19, 2012

‘The Voice of the Nation’: Ottawa’s Peace Tower Carillon

Hey folks! Sorry for the delay in posting, I’ve been busy. But today I thought I’d return to the theme of bells, with a bit on the carillon (the bells) at the Peace Tower in Ottawa. The sound of this carillon is a standard feature of Ottawa’s soundscape, and has been for decades.

The Peace Tower is the central tower in the block of buildings that make up Canada’s Parliament, and the carillon in the tower not only chimes out the hours (sort of like Big Ben does in London), it also plays O’Canada every day, as well as random selections of music throughout the year. According to Dr. Andrea McCrady, the Dominion Carillonneur of Canada (i.e. the woman responsible for playing the carillon), she gives over 200 recitals a year.

I know this because I’ve been following the posts of a friend I met while I was working at CFRC in Kingston – Michael Morreale. Michael now works for CBC radio as part of the Tempo team, and he recently pointed his facebook friends towards a Tempo blog post about the Peace Tower Carillon and its steward. The article is nice, and even better is the short video accompanying it, where Dr. McCrady explains just what a carillon is, and how it is played. Check out the blog post and vid here.

While browsing the comments accompanying this article I saw that one person had forwarded a link to a CBC archives bit from 1956, describing the tower and one of McCrady’s predecessors. You can check out that vid here. (Sorry for the ads at the start – I guess CBC has to account for the new federal budget cuts somehow…).

That’s it for now, sorry this post was a bit shorter than usual, but like I said, I’ve been busy! Check back again in a few days, hopefully I’ll have more fun sound-studies content for all you faithful readers. Until then, stay zen!

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