This musical instrument of twenty-three or more cast bronze bells ranges from two to six octaves, usually set in chromatic order like the keys of a piano. Instruments with fewer bells are called chimes. Unlike bells used in peals, carillon bells are stationary. Only the clappers move. They are activated by a carilloneur seated at the keyboard which is mechanically linked to the bells' clappers. The volume and character of the sound may be controlled by the force the carilloneur uses to strike the note. A few carillons are also linked to electrical activators which may be played from an organ console, but this is discouraged since touch control of the mechanism is lost. Carillon bells are tuned internally, usually in minor keys. The keyboard is played with hands and fists. There are more than 160 carillons in the United States, and many are in Episcopal churches. Those at the National Cathedral, Washington, D.C.; the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee; and Christ Church, Cranbrook, Michigan, are among the best known. Some churches use electronic instruments which simulate the sound of bells.
Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.