Page last updated at 16:32 GMT, Tuesday, 22 July 2008 17:32 UK

New musical bells at York Minster


Minster's bells ring out

York Minster has had 24 new bells installed - meaning tunes ranging from Beethoven to the Beatles can be played.

The Minster now has 35 bells in a carillon - a set of bells played from an organ or similar instrument.

Experts said it was the first cathedral in England to have this system. A group of volunteers have been trained to play the carillon before Evensong each day.

The bells are played through a baton clavier instrument and the change means many different hymns can be played.

According to a Minster spokesman, new hymns could now be played to announce Evensong and on certain special occasions, classical and pop tunes could be heard.

A carillon is a musical instrument composed of at least 23 cup-shaped bells.
A chime is an instrument with less than 23 bells

The spokesman said the cathedral's bell-ringing experts said no other cathedral in England had a full carillon.

The Reverend Canon Jeremy Fletcher, Canon Precentor at York Minster said: "The ringing of simple tunes has become a real feature of the Minster's life in recent years.

"We are delighted that we have such a remarkable carillon which will add so much to the sound of York Minster and to the life of York in general."

According to Minster records, the first chiming machine was installed in 1473 but during the 17th Century chiming fell out of fashion and the chiming machine was removed in 1750.

In 1989, 11 chime bells were installed above the ringing-peal in the Minster's South West Tower but these only gave 11 notes.

The newly-installed bells were tested with a performance from expert carilloneur Trevor Workman on Tuesday.


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