National Geographic : 1925 Mar
366 THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE Photograph from William Gorham Rice BELLS AND TONGUES IN KEYBOARD RECITAL AND CONCERT PLAYING Tier above tier of bells in rows is seen in the carillon chamber. The tongues of the bells as used in keyboard play clearly show here. These tongues are held near to, but not touching, the inner sound bow of the bells, and are made to strike by a carillonneur seated at a keyboard like that of an organ. This keyboard has all the notes, like the black and white of the organ keyboard, through several octaves. The carillonneur in playing uses both hands and feet. He obtains a sustained note by tremolando; for, as the tongue of the bell is kept by springs close to the sound bow, a quick touch upon the delicately adjusted key of the keyboard sounds the bell successively, as often as may be desired. the ceiling. As we stood in, a quiet street listening to the bells, a baker's boy passed us with a tray of cakes balanced on his head. He looked up affectionately at the tower, paused long enough to catch the air the carillonneur was playing, then joy- ously whistling it, he went the happier on his way. AMSTERDAM HAS SIX SINGING TOWERS Amsterdam, the commercial capital of Holland, lies 38 miles from The Hague. Whether the journey between these cities is made by railway, by canal, by automo- bile, by bicycle, or on foot, it is a succes- sion of attractive scenes. To us it was a continuation of the beauty that we had already enjoyed between Rotterdam and The Hague, with the addition of tulip and hyacinth and gladiolus fields and in the distance, the dunes. Amsterdam is first among present-day cities in the number of Singing Towers it possesses. The Royal Palace, the aIel Mint Tower, the Ryks l\Iuseut11. and the Zuider, the West, and the Old Church spires all have carillons. When we came to know that Amster- dam had six carillons we were not sur- prised that John V of Portugal, traveling in the Netherlands in 1730, was so im- pressed with this music that he deter- mined to have a carillon for his sumptu- ous palace then being built. The price having been ascertained, it was guardedly suggested by his treasurer that the cost was rather great. This implied criticism so offended the self-esteem of the mon- arch that he replied, "I did not think it would be so cheap; I wish two." And these he got, for two magnificent carillons, played by keyboard and clockwork, exist to-day in the royal residence at l\1afra, near Lisbon.