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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Wednesday, May 22, 2024

At the heart of the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, up a few flights of steps and onto a small metal platform, you will find a keyboard unlike most, made of wooden keys and a set of wooden pedals. The instrument itself is not located behind the keys, like in a piano. Instead, metal wires go straight up to a set of 56 carillon bells, each playing their own note to create the instrument’s unique sound that resonates far across campus.

The bells sit at the top of the aptly-named Carillon Tower, located just across from UW-Madison’s Sewell Social Sciences building. The tower was built with funds from senior gifts from the classes of 1917 through 1926, who originally donated funds to rebuild the Bascom Hall dome, where the carillon bells were initially meant to be housed. It eventually became evident the dome would never be rebuilt, and instead, the money was put in use to construct the tower, according to UW-Madison’s Department of Facilities Planning and Management.

The bells are played by UW-Madison Carillonneur Lyle Anderson, who has held the title since the mid 1980s. The title of carillonneur at UW-Madison is historically handed to the main player of the instrument.

Read the full story by Ian Wilder here.

Drake White-Bergey

Drake White-Bergey is the editor-in-chief and photo editor emeritus of The Daily Cardinal. As a photojournalist, his coverage focuses on politics and protests. Drake is a fourth-year student studying History and Journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. You can follow him on Instagram at and on Twitter at @DWhiteBergey.

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