Tsar Bell Finally Rings

The folks over at UC Berkeley have done it again–they’ve dreamed up a scintillating, beautiful project with bells at the core like their “Natural Frequencies” and “Polartide” performances from recent years.

So what’s happening? What’s happening is a performance of the re-created sound of the fabled Tsar Bell. They’ve used computer modeling to virtually create the bell and produce its sound. Actually, this type of thing isn’t new–bell foundries have designed bells in this manner for decades, and a team at Pennsylvania State University used the same method years ago to re-create the sound of the Liberty Bell.

The Tsar Bell is the largest known cast bell, weighing in at over 200 tons. The bell has never rung, however, and it has rested silently in Moscow since 1735. A fire in the casting pit while the bell was cooling prompted rescuers to throw cold water onto the bell, causing cracks and a gigantic piece (23,000 lbs!) to fall off. This damage was irreversible and forever muted the bell, turning it into a really big ornament for the outdoor royal curio cabinet.

This project has style! New compositions will be performed along with the generated Tsar Bell sound, including one by DJ Spooky on Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:45 p.m. PDT.

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