This article was included as a booklet
in the RCA album "Let's Ring the Bells All Around the Christmas
The gifted bell casters of antiquity, who
created a deeply moving medium for expressing religious emotion
would view with amazement and awe the world's largest carillon
ensconced in The Coca-Cola Company Pavilion at the New York World's
Fair-in a tower rising majestically twelve stories above its
Their wonderment would be intrigued as much
by the miniatured size of each of the 610 percussion-tone bells
as by their unprecedented number, purity of tone, and orchestral
They, who cast their bells in weights of multi-pounds
and tons, surely would regard as magical these miniatures that
consist of only a few ounces of metal, yet reproduce with startling
fidelity the purest tones produced by cast bells weighing many
tons. Were the ancient bell casters called upon to duplicate
the compact, streamlined "Carillon Amen-cana"®
Bells, one of the World's Fair showpieces, with conventional
techniques, they would be required to cast more than two million
pounds of bells.
The bell ringers of history, dedicated muscle
men of the past, whose strain and sweat were essential to the
pulling and pealing of the mighty bells, would listen with disbelief
at the instantaneous response of the miniature bells to a finger
touch, and to the multitude of chords and chromatic combinations
triggered simply by a hand skimming the compact keyboard of the
carillon's control console. The days of muscle-straining bell
ringing and the drudgery of playing from the clavier are gone.
The unique carillon housed in The Coca-Cola
Company Pavilion was designed and built by Schulmerich Carillons,
Inc., Sellersville, Pennsylvania, pioneer creator of electro-mechanical
carillons and producer of bells for the world. The creator of
this, the world's largest carillon, is the world's largest builder
Schulmerich design techniques have successfully
combined and blended an unprecedented number of bells - 610 -
into a single musical instrument that responds instantaneously
to the commands of a remote control console. Each bell is a tiny
unit of traditional cast bronze. When struck by their miniature
hammers, they produce the purest of bell tones-because each is
tuned far more accurately and to closer tolerance than is possible
with the most precisely cast conventional bell.
The giant carillon also represents a significant
advance in musical versatility and diversity. During the 1964-65
World's Fair, carillonneurs from around the world will play musical
works of all types and description on this unique instrument-from
fully orchestrated compositions to light, airy popular music.
This exciting instrument also serves as the
music source of the new RCA Victor album, LET'S RING THE BELLS
ALL AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE, recorded at The Coca-Cola Pavilion
by John Klein, renowned musical artist, composer, arranger, recording
star. Mr. Klein is also serving as musical director-consultant
for The Coca-Cola Company Pavilion and will perform a series
of recitals during the two-year World's Fair season.
The bell has been known, loved and used by
man for communication and for inspiration for so long that it
is virtually impossible to trace its antiquity with accuracy.
Bells in numerous forms existed long before the birth of Christ.
History records that ancient civilizations, long since disappeared,
used bells for their religious and ceremonial rites. Ancient
bells have been uncovered throughout the Far East. Copper bells
have been exhumed from ancient Peruvian tombs. Wherever human
life existed, there is evidence that bells in some form were
made, used and revered.
Before the Christian era, it seems bells were
small and cast in many shapes. Larger bells began to emerge during
the Christian era and many believe that credit for the bell's
modern form belongs to Paulinus, Bishop of Nola in Campania,
By the ninth century, bells had become fixtures
in the world's churches. It was during this period that the practice
of blessing the bells by some form of Consecration became established
At this time, too, bells began to grow larger
and special church towers were erected to house them. The richer
the community, the larger its bell and the higher and more elaborate
its tower; however, while bell founding and sounding techniques
were refined constantly through the centuries to even finer perfection,
the physical problem of ringing the bells became increasingly
imperfect. Bell size began to over-power manpower.
Twenty-four strong men were required to ring
just one bell at Canterbury, and it's recorded that sixty-three
were needed to obtain a whole peal of five bells. Bells grew
larger and larger and more difficult to manipulate. At the Cologne
Cathedral, the largest bell weighed twenty-seven tons. The beautiful
bell at St. Peter's in Rome weighed nine tons. Russia claims
credit for the largest bell ever cast-the "Great Bell of
Moscow," cast in 1734, with a total weight of more than
Although bells were known and used for thousands
of years-from massive creations to small ceremonial types-the
art of bell casting remained relatively unchanged until the present
century. And because of the changes that developed in this century,
in this country, America has become the birthplace and world
center for modern carillons and bells. Today, Europe, once and
for so long the center of bell craftsmanship and tradition, now
looks to America for its modern cari1lons.
The modern carillon was born of need-a need
to provide bells that would free churches and institutions from
the high cost of purchase and the need to erect massive towers
to contain and support them.
In the early years of the twentieth century,
many churches in America were finding it increasingly diflicult
to afford bells and towers. Rising costs were putting the beloved
bells out of reach of many churches, and towers were becoming
an increasingly costly factor in church construction.
From George J. Schulmerich, a young Philadelphia
electrical engineer, came the solution. His work-producing and
installing public address systems in churches-brought him in
close contact with the problem. He turned to the field be knew-electronic
amplification-to solve it.
He pioneered the field of electro-mechanical
bells and carillons. These bells provide the same rich tones
of the finest cast bells-but at a fraction of their cost and
weight. They are truer tonally than cast bells because modern
techniques make it possible to hold each bell to much closer
tolerance in tuning. Moreover, each bell in the modern carillon
is not only in perfect tune with itself, with respect to its
several partials, but in tune with each and every other bell
in the carillon. This achievement is mechanically impossible
with a carillon of cast bells.
George Schulmerich revolutionized the art
of bell making by marrying ancient bell techniques and modern
electronics. In 1930, he invented the method by which modern
carillons are now created. Months of research with his own sound
engineers and with noted musicians uncovered, at last, the way
to create with electronics the sound of a perfectly tuned bell
without the great mass of metal required to mold a cast bell.
The instrument finally produced-the modern
electro-mechanical carillon-consists of small bronze bell units
which, when struck by metal hammers, produce bell tones that
are barely audible to the human ear. At this point, modern high-fidelity
equipment and electronic circuitry take over. The minute but
perfectly tuned bell vibrations are picked up electrostatically,
amplified to any desired proportion--even to more than a million
times--and reproduced from the tower or roof of a building. Miniscule
compared with traditional cast bells, these miniature bells equal
and even exceed the giants of the past in volume and depth. Moreover,
they reduce tower needs to a fraction.
Schulmerich® Carillons, Inc., is pace-setting
the new art of bell making. Its creations are in use and demand
the world over. Schulmerich installations are in churches, missions
and institutions everywhere, pealing bell music which otherwise
would be out of reach of many because of the great weight and
cost of traditional cast bells.
Some of the best known Schulmerich installations
are at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National
Cemetery; Bok Tower, Lake Wales, Florida; the U.S.S. Arizona,
at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; St. Donato's Cathedral, Murano, Venice,
Italy; and the Truman Library, Independence, Missouri.
In addition to numerous churches and chapels,
Schulmerich carillons and bells are installed in many universities
and colleges-the University of North Dakota, University of Minnesota,
Boston University, Westminster Choir College at Princeton, New
Jersey, the University of Illinois and the Air Force Academy
in Colorado, to mention a few.
Around the world, Schulmerich carillons peal
out the majestic message of the bells in such faraway places
as a military chapel in Japan, a mission in Alaska, a cathedral
in Paris, a university in Puerto Rico, a church in Southern Rhodesia.
This world-wide demand for Schulmerich carillons has transformed
their birthplace, little Sellersville, Pennsylvania, into the
acknowledged "Bell Capital of the World."
It is understandable, then, that The Coca-Cola
Company turned to Schulmerich Carillons in 1962 when it conceived
the idea of a carillon as a highlight of its World's Fair exhibit.
Coca-Cola envisioned the exhibit as a contribution to the cultural
motif of the Fair and decided that bells were the ideal medium
to strike this cultural note.
Schulmerich was entrusted with the project
of creating a carillon that had no match anywhere in the world.
Such assignments are not unusual for Schulmerich. Its carillons
had thrilled millions at the 1958 World's Fair in Brussels and
at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair.
Schulmerich's 610-bell "Carillon Americana''
for The Coca-Cola Company is indeed a carillon which has neither
been seen nor heard before. It is housed in the 120-foot Tower
of Music at The Coca-Cola Pavilion. At the base of the tower
is the music studio and carillon control console-in an air-conditioned,
soundproof, glass-enclosed room. The studio is so constructed
that the carillonneur is visible to viewers from all angles.
Mounted at various levels in the tower are
fifty-seven stentors or high-fidelity directional speakers, many
of them more than five feet in length and driven by some 3,000
watts of audio power.
The stentor arrangement is such that they
can be directed from the control console to broadcast the music
of the bells throughout the fairgrounds or to bypass specific
areas and displays. Also, within the plaza of The Coca-Cola Pavilion
the sound of the carillon is projected downward to give the audience
truly intimate reception.
The carillon at The Coca-Cola Pavilion merges
610 per-cussion-tone miniature bells. There are twelve basic
tone colors, each with a chromatic range of sixty-one notes,
playable from the two-manual console with a thirty-two-note pedal
clavier. Fifty stop tablets control the various sets of bells.
Beneath each keyboard are four adjustable combination pistons.
Four expression pedals control the dynamic levels of various
sections of the carillon.
Musical heart and tone of the carillon are
its Flemish bells-the traditional sound that creates the true
tone of the carillon. The lowest bell of this sixty-one-note
set of Flemish bells alone weighs the equivalent of more than
twenty-two tons of bronze. This set of Flemish bells, and the
other sets of bells within the carillon as well, continues upward
for 61 notes, or five octaves, in the chromatic scale.
The carillon's broad range of tonal variations
stems, in part, from its variety of bell types. In addition to
the Flemish bells are Campana, Harp, Celesta, Quadra, Aeolian,
Bour-don, Nuova, Lute, Minor Tierce, Baroque and Celestial bells.
With twelve different sets of tone colors
housed within the carillon, the possibilities for tonal combinations
are virtually limitless. Orchestrations of infinite variety peal
forth under the skillful blending of master carillonneurs.
Among the Schulmerich carillon's numerous
innovations is its automatic Tremolondo, contained on both the
Swell and Great keyboards. The Tremolondo is an ancient carillonistic
device used to repeat a specific or selected note; however, the
maximum effect of the Tremolondo on conventional cast bells is
difficult to achieve because of the size of the bells and the
limitation of repetitive speed. On the Schulmerich carillon,
the Tremolondo continually repeats the striking of one or several
bells, and creates unusual and exciting musical effects because
it is both automatic and variable in speed. It can be stepped
up to a tremendous rate of repetitive speed to pro-duce musical
nuances rarely, if ever, heard on a carillon or conventional
The console of the Schulmerich carillon is
in keeping with the advanced design of the musical instrument
itself. The interior mechanism, exterior
keyboards, pedal clavier and operation facilities are housed
within the striking and stream-lined cyma curved, white-paneled
console. The console is as handsome and functional as modern
console art can provide. It was designed to contribute a psychic
accompanying enjoyment to the music of the bells.
The Coca-Cola Company has scheduled three
daily carillon recitals at the World's Fair. Additionally, throughout
the day from nine a.m. to midnight, the majestic carillon peals
the individual hours.
In addition to the scheduled recitals, the
carillon will honor special national days by treating its millions
of visitors to recitals of music representative of the 125 countries
in which Coca-Cola is sold. Also, the carillon will be used to
welcome important foreign visitors to the Fair by playing appropriate
Official carillonneur is John Klein, who was
also official carillonneur at both the Seattle World's Fair and
Brussels World's Fair. He will be joined throughout the two-year
Fair season by master guest carillonneurs from around the world.
Renowned for his numerous musical accomplishments,
Mr. Klein is an acknowledged pioneer of carillon music. He entertained
and thrilled millions with carillon recitals at the 1958 Brussels
World's Fair and, in the same year, at the International Carillon
Festival at Cobh, Ireland. He made music history one year later
when his daily carillon recitals were a feature of the Salzburg
Music Festival. It was the first time carillon music was played
at this internationally famous music festival.
He has published more than 400 compositions,
including specially written works for the carillon. Among his
literary writings is the book "The Art of Playing the Modern
John Klein is heard in a series of favorite
RCA Victor albums including the delightful ALL AROUND THE CHRISTMAS
TREE, for which he composed the title tune. You'll enjoy this
sparkling collection of the most familiar and best loved Christmas
songs and carols.
Played on the unique Schulmerich "Carillon
Amenicana"® Bells by a truly gifted carillon artist,
these beloved Christmas melodies emerge with new brilliance,
new depth, new beauty.
Notes for booklet prepared by
® Registered trademark of Schulmerich
Source: Album booklet,
1964 Radio Corporation of America