NMSAT :: Networked Music & SoundArt Timeline

1929 __ Bok Tower Gardens
Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. (1870-1957)
Comment : One of the most ingratiating twentieth-century soundscapes owes its existence to Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. (b. 1870). Together with a team of designers that included campanile expert Milton B. Medary, Olmsted created the Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales on a 130-acre site which encompasses the highest point in peninsular Florida. Dedicated by President Coolidge in 1929, the "Singing Tower" marks the passing hours with carillon concerts emanating from a marble and coquina tower measuring fifty-one feet wide at the base and thirty-one feet wide at the top. Faience grilles atop the seven-level structure conceal 57 chromatically tuned cast bronze bells, ranging in weight from 17 to 22,300 pounds, which remain stationary when the carilloneur causes them to sound by striking large wooden keys with fists or feet. Clappers are connected by wires and levers to the keyboard in a sound-controlled room below the bells in which speakers allow the player to monitor his performance at a comfortable volume. The relative force applied to the keys produces a full range of dynamic effects. Optimal listening distance lies within a radius of approximately one hundred to two hundred yards.A carillon is a musical instrument consisting of at least two octaves of carillon bells arranged in chromatic series and played from a keyboard permitting control of expression through variation of touch. Its keyboard, sometimes called a clavier, is made of long, thin batons, which are depressed with one’s closed fist. It also has pedals for playing some of the bells. Carillon bells have a cup shape and are cast in bronze. They are hung stationary and bolted to steel or wooden beams; only the clappers move. The clappers are connected by mechanical linkages to the keys of the keyboard. The carillon at Bok Tower Gardens consists of 60 bells ranging in weight from 16 pounds to nearly 12 tons. There are four carillons in Florida, nearly 200 in North America and about 400 in Europe. There have only been three carillonneurs at Bok Tower Gardens. The first carillonneur was Anton Brees, serving from 1928 until 1967. Milford Myhre was the second carillonneur, serving from 1968 to 2004. William De Turk is the third carillonneur, appointed in July 2004. Half-hour carillon concerts are performed daily at 1 and 3 p.m. (Compiled from various sources)
Source : Tiranny,“Blue” Gene (2003), “Out To The Stars, Into The Heart: Spatial Movement in Recent and Earlier Music - Antiphonal Space”, In NewMusicBox, the Web magazine from American Music Center, published : January 1, 2003.
Urls : http://www.boktowergardens.org/ (last visited )

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