20th-century20th-century musical instrument in which the acoustical tone source-metal tubes, rods, or bars struck by hammers-is picked up electromagnetically or electrostatically and converted into electrical vibrations that are highly amplified and fed into loudspeakers placed in a belfry or other exterior site. It is played from an electric keyboard-sometimes an organ manual-activating solenoid (electromagnetic) switches, which throw small hammers against the tone source, resulting in a ringing sound suggestive of bells. Although generally considered an imitative instrument replacing cast bells, it more properly should be regarded as an independent instrument existing on its own merits. The electronic carillon ranges two to five octaves, the electronic chime less than two octaves
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