Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Clock Talk

I've always been fascinated with clocks.  We have several meaningful clocks at our house.  The cuckoo clock in our kitchen pantry, the wall clock as we exit the back entrance, the Peck Wellingborough Antique Grandfather clock at the top of the stairway to the Master Bedroom, and the Howard Miller Graham Bracket Mantel clock that was Walt and Martha's wedding gift to Susan and I (which has been inoperable for the past 14 years).

Well my attempt to lubricate the Grandfather clock resulted in the snap of the 5 3/8 inch pendulum spring. While I thought this would require the expertise and help of an antique clock repair specialist, instead I was able to find the part on the internet ($23).  That gave me the courage to try a "do it yourself" repair of the Howard Miller mantel clock.

 A little lubrication and adjustments to the striker hammers was all the clock needed (tender loving care)  The Key-wound, Westminster chime Kieninger movement plays 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 chimes accordingly with full chime and strike on the hour.

In researching the Westminster chime I discovered an interesting bit of trivia:
The Westminster chime was not originally associated with Big Ben in London, instead it was fitted in the University Church St. Mary's the Great in Cambridge (1793).  The chimes are believed to be saying the simple but beautiful prayer"

"Lord, through this hour
     be thou our guide.
So, by thy power
    No foot shall slide"

And for the tone inclined the notes are permutations of E major:

1st Quarter -  g#  f# e b
Half                e g# f# b     e f# g# e
3rd Quarter -  g# e f# b      b f# g# e    g# f# e b
Full              - e g# f# b     e f# g# e     g# e f# b  b f# g# e
Hour Strike   (three notes together e b g# with g# octave lower) 

For the mathematically inclined there are five sets (combinations above) or maybe called stanzas.  They are played in order 1;  2 and 3; 4, 5 and 1; 2, 3, 4 and 5.

For the rhythmic inclined:

5/4 time -  quarter note, quarter note, quarter note, half

Is that enough Clock talk  :)

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