The Federation Bells are a (recently refurbished) collection of 39 bronze upturned bells mounted on poles in a grid arrangement at Birrarung Marr in central Melbourne. They can be played using a sophisticated electromechanical system, in which internal hammers strike the bells, triggered by simple MIDI commands.
Submitted compositions can be heard daily on an evolving weekly schedule that is posted online. My friend Rob Waring’s composition titled, Daybreak at Birrarung Marr, is currently scheduled to play daily. (Bravo, Rob!)
To encourage folks to submit compositions, the Federation Bells website features an online composition tool that lets folks compose music for the 39 bells. A composer’s manual and guide is also posted on their website at http://federationbells.com.au/media/Federation-Bells-Composers-Manual.pdf.
The Terms and Conditions for submitting a composition also have a nice ring to them. By submitting a composition folks agree to: 1) grant a license allowing their composition to be played on the bell instillation for one year (composer retains ownership) and 2) submit their composition freely without seeking any further consideration. Additionally, some folks may earn royalties if they are a member of APRA (or an equivalent society) and there is no promise made that submitted compositions will be performed. (Terms and Conditions are always subject to change).
Evidently, over a hundred compositions have already been submitted. As I type this, I am singing to myself, “ding dong merrily on high in heaven the bells are ringing.” The melody and lyric of this carol are fitting.
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.
See also: Rob Waring’s website http://home.broadpark.no/~rwaring/; Information about composing for the Federation Bells at http://federationbells.com.au/play-the-bells/composing-for-the-bells; http://federationbells.com.au/media/Federation-Bells-Composers-Manual.pdf ; and http://composer.federationbells.com.au/FederationBells.html; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.