UCSB’s Carillon Studio and UC Berkeley’s Carillon Studio after a joint concert at UCSB’s Storke Tower in Spring 2015. Margo Halsted, Director UCSB Carillon Studio.
About the Storke Tower Carillon
UCSB's Storke Tower and its carillon were a gift from Thomas Storke, former publisher of the Santa Barbara News-Press. The instrument consists of 61 bells cast by Petit & Fritsen of the Netherlands, with the bells weighing from 18 pounds to 2.5 tons, and spanning five octaves. The UCSB carillon is a much larger modern copy of historical instruments that were invented approximately 500 years ago in the Low Countries of Europe. Tower bells had previously been used for signaling time and for additional signals such as "Close the City Gates", "Go to church", and "An enemy is coming." Eventually, the number of bells was increased and were hooked up to a keyboard to facilitate the performance of music. A melody was often played to attract the attention of the townspeople before the hour bell tolled the time throughout the day. A carillon is played with the fists and feet, and the action is completely mechanical. To vary the dynamics of the music, the performer must strike the key harder or use a lighter touch, much like a piano.
Want to learn more about Storke Tower and the history of the UCSB carillon? Please take a look at this 2014 UCSB Current interview with UCSB's Carillonist, Margo Halsted.