About the Baker Bells
Ernest Martin Hopkins, Dartmouth College President 1916-1945, Class of 1901, had visited Oxford and Cambridge and was much impressed with the bell-ringing on those campuses. When Baker Library was constructed, a trustee, Clarence B. Little, Class of 1881, donated $40,000 for a set of bells to be placed in the tower of the Library, in order to please President Hopkins.
Meneely Bell Company of Troy, New York built a bespoke 15-bell set. The bells vary in size from 200 to 5,300 pounds. They range an octave and a half on the scale, playing every note in that range, except E flat.
The bells first rang in 1928. They were rung manually for the first year. The following year, William Durrschmidt, an instrument maker and Professor of Music, invented an automation system from three machines and a clock. It was similar to the mechanism of a player piano, where holes are punched into a roll of paper and the locations of the holes triggered the bell mechanism. There was also a keyboard in the tower, so people could play "instantaneous music" on the bells.
In 1979, the bells were computerized. Two students designed a system to run the bells, as the system and the paper rolls used for the first 50 years were starting to wear out.
A 16th bell was donated in 1981 in memory of Donal F. Morse '51. Money was also provided for the maintenance of the system and to provide payment for a bell ringer.
The bells currently run via a remote Internet connection on a "Mac mini" computer in the tower that runs custom-designed software written by graduate students in the Master of Arts program in Digital Musics who are supervised by Prof. Michael Casey. The software and hardware is maintained and updated regularly by the students.
Bells ring the time on the hour and half hour. Songs are played three times a day - the alma mater at 6pm, and varying pieces during intervals between classes. Songs can be requested by e-mailing "Bells". If you are requesting a song that is already in the song database, it takes a day or two to program it. Songs can be scheduled for any time except on the hour.
Some current favorites:
Dartmouth College is one of the few locations that still uses real bells instead of recordings or synthesizers. Bells are turned each year so that the hammers don't wear out the same spot on each bell, and we can be guaranteed the enjoyment of these real bells for years to come.
Check out the Office of Alumni Relations For More Information: Alumni Relations Bells Information.
Baker Bells Requests
The Baker Bells staff accept requests from the Dartmouth community for songs to be played on specific dates / times. Choose from the list of songs below, or the carilloneur can prepare new songs if your requested song is not in the list of available songs.
Requests range from "Happy Birthday" to contempory popular songs. Not all song requests can easily be prepared for the Baker bells, due to the limited range and pitch classes available. Some time and effort are required to program new songs so lead time is appreciated.
To request a song, send an e-mail to Bells at Dartmouth. Please include in your request the following information:
The carilloneur will respond in due course to let you know the outcome of your request.
List of Bell Songs (Updated Dec 2017)
A Foggy Day Accidentally in Love Adoro Te Devote Ah Vous Direz All Through The Night Allegro Air Allstar - Smash Mouth Alouette Amazing Grace And Can it Be Annie Laurie Au Clair De La Lune Auld Lang Syne Be Thou My Vision Beautiful Dream Bells of Notre Dame – Hunchback of ND Bendemeer’s Stream Better Together Jack Johnson Blow the Man Down Bonnie Eloise Born Free Born to Run Brahms Lullaby By the Silvery Moon Can you Count to the Stars Celtic Odyssey Ramble to Cashel Celebratory Peal Chester Clair De Lune Come Little Children – Hocus Pocus Come Thou Font Country Gardens Dancing Queen Danny Boy Dear Old Dartmouth Death Note Theme Despacito Dominique Don’t Know Why Double Double Toil and Trouble – Harry Potter Drink to Me Only Dvorak Stabat Mater Fac Me Vere Early One Morning Edelwiess Every Time We Touch – Cascada Flow Gently Sweet Afton For the Longest Time Freedom Freres Jacques Getting to Know You Glory to Dartmouth Going to the Chapel Grim Grinning Ghosts Come Out to Socialize Hail Mary Halloween Minor Alma Mater Halloween Theme Happy Birthday Harvey Davidson Hedwig’s Theme Hellfire – Hunchback of ND Hells Bells Here Comes the Sun Here I am to Worship Hey Jude Home on the Range House of the Rising Sun How Can I Leave How do You Solve a Problem Like Maria I Get By with a Little Help from my Friends Ichikawa Imperial March In the Good Old Summertime Indian National Anthem I’d Like to Teach I’m Singing in the Rain I’m a Barbie Girl L O V E Largo BWV1056 Lauridsen Lux Aeterna Let Me Call You Let all Mortal Flesh Keep Silent Let it Breathe Let it Go Let it Shine Let’s Go Fly a Kite Listen to our Hearts Look for the Silver Lining Love me Tender Mask Off Minuet in G Monsieur De La Palice Moon River My Bonnie My Cup Runneth My Favorite Things My Wild Irish Rose Ode to Joy Oh Susanna Oh What a Beautiful Morning Old Folks at Home Over the Rainbow Pokémon Oracion Bells Pomp and Circumstance Rex Caeli Rick Roll Salty Dog Rag Salve Regina Scarborough Fair School’s Out Shenandoah Simple Gifts Singing in the Rain Sloop John B Sound of Music Procession Stand By Me Star Trek Star Wars Stars of the Summer Triangle Stefan’s Theme Sur Lu Pont D’Avignon Swan Lake Sweet Caroline TLBY Take Me Out to the Ballgame Taps Tale as Old as Time Tell Me Why The Bells of St. Mary’s The Blue Bells This is Halloween – Nightmare Before Christmas Top Gun Anthem Top Gun Theme Extended Try to Remember Welcome to My Life When Irish Eyes are Smiling When You Believe – Prince of Egypt You Are My Sunshine Younger than Springtime You’ll Be in My Heart – Tarzan You’ll Never Walk Alone * Christmas Songs All I Want for Christmas Carol of the Bells Deck the Halls Frosty the Snowman Here Comes Santa Claus Here We Come a Wassailing I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus Jingle Bells Jolly Old St. Nicholas Let There be Peace on Earth Let it Snow O Christmas Tree O Come Little Children O Come O Come Emmanuel Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Silver Bells Sing We Now of Christmas The First Noel The Holly and the Ivy We Wish You a Merry Christmas What Child is This * Patriotic Songs Air Force America America the Beautiful American Eagle Anchors Aweigh – Marine Song Army Song Battle Cry of Freedom Battle Hymn Eternal Father God Bless America God of Our Father My Liberty Bell Semper Pratus (Always Ready) Coast Guard The Caisson Song The Marines Hymn This is My Country You’re a Grand Old Flag