Dartington Carillon Project

The Project

A carillon for the 21st century.

A carillon is a set of bells played from a keyboard. The plan for the Dartington Carillon is to have 77 bells designed by leading contemporary artists (the largest over 4m high). Newly developed acoustics software and electronics will be used to make the Dartington carillon a subtle and sophisticated instrument. We hope that the project will include a permanent foundry, an art gallery and performance space. The Carillon will be located on the Dartington Hall Estate one of the UK’s leading cultural centres.

Bells speak to communities – of God and war, victories, defeats, births, deaths, and marking out the days.
Bells call people together – physically, emotionally, temporally, spiritually.

The Dartington Carillon is a large scale community-based art project uniting the very new and very old – the latest design and technology combining with the old cultural pull of bells.

Core elements of the carillon project will be:

  • The magic of bell casting – bringing together metal and fire to make music.
  • New technology – casting bells to 50 micron accuracy.
    New software allowing radically new bell shapes
    A new generation of bells capable of producing a melody of notes from one strike.
  • Bell sculptures – major international artists will be invited to create innovative bell designs
    Poetry – the bells will be inscribed with specially commissioned poetry.
  • A new and flexible instrument – a fluid carillon with movable polytonal bells and strikers presents composers, musicians and performers with huge creative opportunities.
  • Architecture – the brief is for a sustainable building that works as a musical instrument and that can be built by the community.
  • Performance – potential for dramatic combination of musical and visual performance.
  • National and international artistic and scientific educational resource – carillon and interactive visitor centre will be a major new resource for students of all ages from the local community and further afield.
  • Community involvement – the construction work will be carried out by local people (not major contractors), the work will offer training opportunities in a number of trades. The foundry will offer long term training and job opportunities.

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