Hopeman Carillon is one of seven carillons in New York State. The instrument is a set of 50 touch sensitive bells in chromatic sequence played from a baton and pedal keyboard. The bells hang above the crown of Rush Rhees Library, between the top columns of the bell lantern.
The bells are next to Eastman Quadrangle sited near the Genesee River. From a bird's eye view the carillon location atop Rush Rhees Library positions the bells at the high point of Oak Hill between Mt. Hope Cemetery, Strong hospital complex, River Campus community, and 19th Ward across the river. Bell sound carries within hearing distance of Hopemangravesite, military graves, and over the Genesee River. During pandemic days the Westminster Chime sounding daily automatically on the lowest Eijsbouts bells sent a message the bells still ring as a constant through the years of University of Rochester campus life. Position your ears and body within the sightline of the bells to get the best live audio.
Carillonist Doris Aman and her students perform frequently throughout the year as well as to mark major University events.
A student made informational video about the Hopeman Carillon is available.
Hand-drawn diagram of the bell tower (PDF)
Keys and frequencies of the carillon keyboard (PDF)
Those of us learning to play this valuable and unique world culture instrument will practice daily on a carillon practice instrument (not linked to the bells), consisting of a keyboard and bench. One carillon practice kit was assembled and programmed by a mixed cohort of carillonneurs, engineering, and interested students - an amazing experience where students put together the hundreds of pieces of the instrument as a team and programmed it with the sounds of bells under leadership of then student Alex Johnson.
The other carillon practice instrument was refurbished in 2018, a generous gift from Charles Zettek.
What Is a Carillon?
A video from the World Carillon Federation presents Carillons from all over the world.
A carillon is a musical instrument consisting of at least 23 bells that have been precisely tuned so that many bells can be sounded together harmoniously. A carillon is larger than a chime, which is a set of eight to 22 bells.
Carillon bells are stationary; only their clappers move. The clapper or tongue of each bell is connected by a wire that receives kinetic energy from downward baton action on a keyboard. The keyboard contains a double row of rounded wooden levers that serve as the keys, known as batons, set up similar to a piano keyboard. A carillonneur (or carillonist) plays the instrument by striking batons with loosely clenched fists, and pedals with toes.
Diagram courtesy of Meeks and Watson contractors
The carillon transposes an octave.
Note Range of the 50 bell Hopeman Memorial Carillon on a Music Staff by Dr. Edwin Tan ‘12