Students capture St John's Kirk bells after nearly fifty years

University music and audio engineering students and staff at Perth College UHI have used their skills to produce a digital recording of St John's Kirk of Perth Carillion.

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Nick, Brian and Peter watch Carilloneur Dr Ian Cassells perform

As part of a digital heritage project, it is the first time since the seventies that Perth’s largest musical instrument has been recorded.

The kirk’s current Carilloneur is world-renowned Dr Ian Cassells. He performed on the recording and took part in a short celebratory recital on Wednesday 4 September at 2.30pm at the launch of the new CD, with Perth’s Provost Denis Melloy in attendance.

Nick Green, Audio Engineering and Theatre Arts sector manager explained why this is such a valuable opportunity: “St John’s contains one of the best Carillons in Scotland, if not the UK. With so few chromatic playable instruments left, our students (Brian Connor, Luke Duffin, Micah Nye (BSc Audio Engineering) and Rowan Parker (MMus music)) had a rare opportunity to grow their experience of location recording in a diverse setting and learned how to deal with individual challenges that may be presented on a project.”

Peter Honeyman, Creative and Cultural Industries Subject Network Leader at the University of the Highlands and Islands, added: “I first came across this terrific instrument in Perth nearly fifteen years ago. The local digital heritage archive project is a piece of our communities’ musical history the university is proud to be part of. Additionally, we now have an archive record of each bell which can be used in sound design, music composition and performance teaching and future research.”

Each bell was recorded individually for archival purposes. Some of the bells date to the late Medieval period, with research suggesting the largest of the bells was cast in Scotland in about 1340.