The University of Wisconsin-Madison Memorial Carillon Bells heard throughout the UW campus are most definitely not a recording. The chimes are, in fact, performed by the University Carillonneur, Lyle Anderson.
There are 56 total carillon bells in the carillon tower, located at the top of Observatory Drive in front of the Social Science building. The tower itself is the thirteenth largest carillon tower in the country and was a gift to the UW from the classes of 1917–1926. It seems that the bells were actually supposed to be put into the Bascom Hall dome once it was rebuilt after the 1916 fire. Unfortunately, the dome was left out of the reconstruction and therefore, so too were the bells. The bells were made in England and the Netherlands, and each can weigh as much as three and one-half tons.
In 1480, when the idea of the carillon first came to be, the bell or bells were pulled by rope and used to call people to church or to alert citizens of war. Today, the UW's carillon bells are played by keyboard in a concert or recital form. Lyle Anderson plays about 40 free carillon concerts a year.
During the academic year, the public concerts are performed on Sundays at 3:00 p.m. There are also concert performances in the summer. For times and more information, contact the UW School of Music at (608) 263-1900.