carillon

If you wake up in the morning to bells coming from a nearby church tower, the instrument that is being played is a carillon. A carillon is a simply a set of bells in a tower.

The Old French ancestor of this word is carignon. The car part of this word traces back to the Latin word for four, so a carignon was a set of four bells. Today, however, a carillon can have many many bells. Though you might picture someone playing it by pulling giant strings one after another, it is usually played by a keyboard that controls the bells. Some play automatically, with notes etched into a metal roll like you might find on a player piano.

Definitions of carillon
  1. noun
    set of bells hung in a bell tower
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    type of:
    bell, chime, gong
    a percussion instrument consisting of a set of tuned bells that are struck with a hammer; used as an orchestral instrument
  2. noun
    playing a set of bells that are (usually) hung in a tower
    synonyms: bell ringing, carillon playing
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    types:
    change ringing
    ringing tuned bells in a fixed order that is continually changing
    type of:
    music
    musical activity (singing or whistling etc.)
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