A carillon is a musical instrument composed of at least 23 carillon bells, arranged in chromatic sequence, so tuned as to produce concordant harmony when many bells are sounded together. It is played from a keyboard that allows expression through variation of touch. The keys are struck with the half-closed hand. In addition, the larger bells are connected to foot pedals.
The 15th century Flemish bell founders discovered the process of accurately tuning bells. The art of making carillon bells almost died out by the 19th century. It is only in the 20th century that carillon bell founding was revived and has surpassed the quality and tuning of 15th century bells. The world's greatest concentration of carillons is still in the Low Countries of Europe (Belgium, The Netherlands, northern France and northwest Germany). The art of the carillon has spread world wide, however, with instruments on every continent except Antarctica. Nearly 200 exist in North America.
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