Chimes, a set of bells tuned to the modern musical scale, and struck by hammers which are moved either by clockwork or by hand. In the latter case they are commonly termed carillons, a name applied by the French in common parlance indiscriminately to the tune played and to the series of bells, whether sounded by machinery or by hand, though the most accurate writers distinguish the latter as carillons a clavier. The mechanism for sounding chimes consists of a cylinder from the circumference of which project pegs placed at proper intervals according to the order in which each bell is to be struck. This is made to revolve by clockwork, and the pegs are thus brought into contact with levers operating upon the bell hammers. Carillons are played by means of an attachment similar to the key board of a pianoforte; for the larger kinds the keys are of great size, and the performer strikes them not with his fingers but with his fists, which are guarded by leathern coverings. Notwithstanding the great force requisite in playing this colossal instrument, musicians have sometimes acquired marvellous skill in performing on it the most difficult airs. It is often adapted to music in three parts, the base being played on pedals and the first and second trebles with the hands.
Potthorf, a blind organist and carillon player of Amsterdam, used to execute fugues on it, though every key required a force equal to the weight of 2 lbs. A pleasing application of chimes is made to clocks and watches, by which they ring out the hours, halves, and quarters. When intended to be placed in a small compass, the bells are arranged concentrically one within another. This species of music is supposed to have originated in some of the monastic institutions of Germany, and the first instrument for producing it is said to have been made at Alost, in the Netherlands, in 1487. Among the finest sets of chimes in Europe are those at Copenhagen and Ghent. At Amsterdam there are both carillons and chimes, the former of three octaves, with all the semitones complete.