Tour of the Knicker Carillon atop the UT Tower

date October 23, 2015
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Friday, October 23, 2015 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Samuel K. Hord
Department of Mechanical Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin

A carillon is a set of at least 23 bells that are sounded by clappers controlled by a keyboard and foot pedals. The Kniker Carillon atop the UT Tower was installed in 1936, at which time the university could afford only 17 bells. Additional bells were added in the 1980s, bringing the current total to 56. The largest bell in the carillon rings at B flat, weighs 7,350 pounds, and is big enough to take a bath in. A guided tour of the Kniker Carillon in the Tower belfry, located four flights up from the observation deck, will be led by the seminar speaker, a carillonneur since his undergraduate days at BYU. The speaker will touch on the dynamics of bell vibration and acoustic radiation from the Tower, and will both explain how the carillon works and demonstrate how it is played. The tour will start at 3:30 p.m. on the 8th floor of the Tower. Use one of the entrances on the north, east, or west side of the Main Building, which will bring you in on the ground floor, and then take the Tower elevator to the 8th floor, where the carillon practice room is located. The group will be escorted by elevator up to the 27th floor and then taken up several flights of stairs to the room in which the carillon is played. To actually see the bells one must continue on up a ladder and climb through a trapdoor, so viewing may be limited by time and size of the group. There will be no access to the Tower observation deck during the tour.