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Archive of posts tagged Westminster Quarters


The cuckoo has long been a symbol of cuckoldry from Shakespeare to the Disney channel, but did you know this musical bird also inspired the door bell and the bell itself? The common cuckoo calls in major thirds, and almost exclusively in C major. Click on the score below to listen. Common Cuckoo Call “Go-koo,” […]

Rail Door Chime

Over the holidays, I had the privilege of riding the Long Island Rail with all of its whistles and bells. It was the night before Christmas when all through the train, I struggled to stay awake to the gentle jazz of the wheels on the tracks. The doors even signaled their openings and closings with […]

Wesminster Quarters

The clock tower bell song that peals from the belfry 12 times a day is called “Westminster Quarters” and was composed by William Crotch in 1793. It was first heard on Big Ben—the great bell in London—but now every clock tower wants to be like Big Ben, because he the Best Ben. In the old […]

uh Phone

there is a phone call that makes a kind of native guatemalan greeting everytim it calls you. you may have heard this thing. i can’t remember what phone it’s for. i’m not good with the brandnames. it seems the phone companies and other multinationals are following the old-time inspiration of classic TV and radio, by […]

Corporate Melodies

How do corporations rule the world when corporations rule the world? Why, with simple melodies played on idiophones like the hand chimes pictured left. Germans call them “ohrwurm”, meaning earworm. A catchy song crawls inside our ever-open ears like a musical parasite and lays egg-songs in our brains. There is no more insidious melody on […]

Major Thirdsies

The Major Third is probably the most popular interval in America. Everytime you walk into a convenience store, it plays for you. The Major Third is what makes things Major. In the above example, the E is the Major Third of the C — the Tonic. There is an inherently happy quality to this interval. […]

Westminster Quarters

     The clock tower song “Westminster Quarters” was composed by William Crotch in 1793.          The last C that strikes the hour sounds more like a C minor, because of the audible Eb overtone. This type of modulation, from a Major key to the same key in Minor, is known as a Reverse Picardy.                                                                                   The […]