|DREAMING OF A WORLD STANDARD|
ANTWERPEN - At the last World Congress in Springfield, Illinois, a carillon keyboard was set up at the congress hotel for critical judgement. It was not a European standard, but it looked like it and it felt like it. It was not an American standard, but it looked like it and it felt like it! Carillonneurs were discussing everything except the measurements: they hardly noticed the changes! Could this be the standard of the future? The designer, Richard Strauss, American engineer, keyboard designer and wonderful carillon player, does not want it to be described as such. "My goal was only to make a better keyboard."
Liesbeth Janssens ________________________________________
Berea, Kentucky, is the first carillon that has this new keyboard connected to its bells. Europe should follow soon. Who wants to be the European pioneer city? Who wants an invasion of carillonneurs eager to play on a keyboard that meets the ergonomic and musical needs of every player in the world?
Although Richard Strauss couldn't send a written presentation for this issue, he answered some of the most important questions I asked him. Here they are, and if you want his view on the existing standards, please check the article (by Richard Strauss) in the 1998 WCF bulletin, page 10.
MANUAL AND PEDAL KEY CENTERS
|Characteristics||Strauss 2000||N Euro 1983||GCNA 1970/81|
|Manual key centers||46 mm||46 mm||2" (50,8 mm)|
|Pedal key centers||85 mm||85 mm||3.5" (88,9 mm)|
|Manual / pedal axis||D / B||C / C||D / B|
|Pedal concavity||71 mm||No||2.875" (73 mm)|
PEDAL RADIATION AND CONCAVITY
MANUAL TO PEDAL VERTICAL DISTANCE
"The total vertical distance - from manual sharp in up position to pedal natural in down position is less than either of the two standards, or my 1983 design. Again, more leg room for taller players, and less vertical reach for short players. That is why I believe both tall and short players will find my new design easier to play."
"If high carillons need 'extra' key fall, build those keyboards accordingly. The musical future of the carillon is not in beating listeners over the head with louder and louder playing. The future is to draw listeners in with more refined playing and literature. Loud, crashing musical noise is available everywhere. The carillon can not compete with that."
"As I said in Springfield, my goal for Berea was only to build a better keyboard. I believe I have done that by using the best elements I could find, some from N Euro and some from GCNA. Now the 'child' can do things that neither 'parent' can. At least that is how it felt playing this keyboard on the Berea carillon. If enough players accept the Berea design, it would become a de facto standard. Later, it might be officially recognised. All that takes time. If people are interested in the design, I will do what I can to help them, but I have no desire to force it on anyone as a standard."
If people are interested, they should go to Berea and see if they like it or not. That is a better way to decide than worrying, guessing, arguing, and so forth. What does fish taste like? Have a bite and find out!"