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PARIS: Sacre-Coeur



blog-0772310001428411508.pngMarching around Paris with my mom and friend Michel, we took the journey up to Montmartre: the highest point in France. Up on this enormous point is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, otherwise known as the Sacre-Coeur Basilica. This is a monstrous Roman Catholic church dedicated to the heart of Jesus that was started in 1875 and in 1914 was completely finished/built.

This church is home to the largest bell in the world! At a whopping nineteen tons, this bell can be heard in a 25 mile radius! For this, somewhat loud reason, the bell only rings once a year...on Easter.

And guess who was in Paris on Easter?

Conveniently: me!

Michel and I hiked up the 400-ish stairs to the top of the dome and saw all of Paris from the tippy-top! However, for a reason unknown we did not hear the bell ring. Whether we were too far away, or asleep or underground in the metro (probably) at that time, I have no idea, we did not hear it ring.

But no worries because I can still talk about the fzx of bells! Phew, right?

Okay...so the main question and discussion here will be the shape of a bell. For instance: WHY? Why is a bell shaped the way it is?

Fzx! Of course!

So a bell is typically shaped for two reasons.

REASON ONE: The circular shape of a bell is extremely structurally strong and sound. This allows the ball to be struck with a greater force than if the shape was flat or had sharp edges, which would be more prone to cracking. The circular shape also allows for a sound wave to travel, guided along the easy perimeter of the bell. Therefore, the standing waves form along the circumference of the bell. The resonance from these standing waves is where a bell's sound is derived from.

REASON TWO: Shaping of a bell makes the bell's timbre more musically pleasing! The increasing diameter from the top of a bell as you go down to the bottom ring allows for the bell to ring at different frequencies all along its height. These varying frequencies can be tuned in a large enough bell and then create a complex musical chord when the bell is struck. The different diameters in the bell contribute to different harmonics which will all ring at different notes and sounds!

SOMETHING ELSE: To perfect the bell's sound, a tubular bell is actually best. These are the types of bells used by a symphony orchestra. A tubular bell is a tuned bell. The actual bell shape may not produce the best tone out there, but it all depends on what you are looking for. Church bells are enormous, loud, look and sound pretty. But maybe they aren't as tuned as the intricate tubular bell.

Most people sort of take bells for granted I suppose, because in the end, they are quite simple and very common. We hear them at church, at the door, on ice cream trucks, when we walk into stores...but the reality in sounding as perfect as they chime is that a lot more fzx goes into it!

Well, I'm going to have to leave you with that for the day! I think I just heard the dinner bell(;


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