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English / USA Language: English / USA

 The National Cathedral is a temple of music. It has a choir school and a male choir, with about twenty boys aged between eight and twelve, and a mixed choir with men and girls. If you’d like to hear them perform, they sing evening prayer from Monday to Thursday; on Sundays, they also sing at the morning service. 

The Cathedral also has one of the largest pipe organs in the world, with 189 ranks, a total of 10,647 pipes, four keyboards with 61 notes each and a pedalboard with 32 notes.

In the “Gloria in Excelsis” Tower, there is also one of the largest carillons in the world, weighing 64 tonnes. It is composed of 53 fixed bells, the smallest weighing 7 kilos and the largest 12 tonnes and with a diameter of two and a half meters.

Each of the bells is connected by a steel cable to a harpsichord on the fifteenth floor of the tower, which can be played either with the fingers or using rolls, like a player piano. Each key moves a little hammer inside the bells. The Carillon was built by an English company and was inaugurated in 1963.


In the room above the Carillon are bells of varying sizes, measuring from 71 to 140 centimeters in diameter and weighing between 275 kilos and 16 tonnes. They are played by an orchestra of bell-ringers who pull on the ropes. The volume is so powerful that the bell-ringers are closed off in a room away from the tower, so they can ring the bells without damaging their hearing.


An interesting fact: it takes the bells at least two seconds to play a note, so they cannot follow the rhythm of a melody, but only mathematical sheet music. A concert played on six bells, composed of 1260 notes, lasts about 45 minutes. It would take 3 hours and 25 minutes to play all ten bells, and this is performed only on special occasions such as Easter. Playing all the possible mathematical combinations on all ten bells would take about 123 full days.


Our visit to the National Cathedral ends here: MyWoWo would like to thank you - see you again at another Wonder of the World!

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