Associate Carillonneur Exam

I. Introduction

The Associate Carillonneur Exam evaluates a candidate's skills at an intermediate level utilizing carillon repertoire of moderate difficulty. It is designed for GCNA Associate Members who would like recognition from the GCNA and professional feedback.

Candidates submit recordings of music performed on their own instruments, which may be of any size, including a two-octave instrument. Candidates are not required to perform an examination recital at Congress.

In addition to the performance requirement, there are two written components: carillon history and concert program design.

Applications are accepted throughout the year.

II. Requirements

A. Audio Recordings

Submit audio recordings of two pieces from the lists of required pieces below, plus other pieces of comparable or greater difficulty, for a total of 10-15 minutes of music.

The required pieces are all published in books that can be ordered from the GCNA: Playing the Carillon: An Introductory Method and The Belmont Book, Volume II.

Do not submit compositions, arrangements, transcriptions or improvisations that you have created.

Required pieces for three- or four-octave instruments

These pieces can all be found in Playing the Carillon: An Introductory Method, by John Gouwens. The handling, pedaling and tempo marks added by the editor need not be followed.

Choose two from the following.

*Second Prelude, by Theophil Rusterholz, p. 18 in the 2017 edition (p. 14 in the 2010 edition)
*Pedal Aria, by John Gouwens, p. 26 (p. 20)
*Sarabande, by Ronald Barnes, p. 28 (p. 22)
*Slow Dance, by Roy Hamlin Johnson, p. 30 (p. 24)
*Pastel in Bronze, by Albert Gerken, p. 44 (p. 38)
Three Short Pieces: Waltz, by John Gouwens, p. 54 (p. 48)
De Gruytters Carillon Book: Andante, by Joseph-Hector Fiocco, p. 68 (p. 62)
*Suite No. 1: Sonorities, by John Courter, p. 70 (p. 64)
Seven Modal Pieces: Mixolydian Mode, by John Courter, p. 76 (p. 70)
Seven Modal Pieces: Aeolian Mode, by John Courter, p. 78 (p. 72)
De Gruytters Carillon Book: Giga, by François Couperin, p. 82 (p. 76)
Toccata for 42 Bells, by Robert Moore, p. 93 (p. 87)
Prelude V, by Matthias Van den Gheyn, p. 97 (p. 91)
Allegro (Anonymous), p. 109 (p. 103)

*can be played on three-octave instruments

Required pieces for two-octave instruments

These pieces can all be found in The Belmont Carillon Book, Volume II, compiled and edited by Beverly Buchanan in 1994. The handling, pedaling and tempo marks added by the editor need not be followed.

Choose two from the following.

Coronation March, by Clifford Ball, p. 40
Belmont Suite: Prelude, by John Knox, p. 44
Belmont Suite: Final Flourish, by John Knox, p. 48
Festival Prelude, by Gladys Watkins, p. 50
Muss I Denn, Swabian Folk Song, arranged Percival Price, p. 54
Stillness, Russian Folk Melody, arranged Percival Price, p. 62
Marche en Rondeau, by Marc-Antoine Charpentier, p. 77
Rondo, K-13, by W.A. Mozart, p. 86

Substitution of Required Pieces

You (or your teacher on your behalf) may obtain special permission in writing from the committee chair to substitute required pieces with pieces of comparable or greater difficulty. It is advisable to contact the committee chair far in advance, before recordings are made.

Recording Tips

Place the microphone(s) in an area where there is good balance for the bell sounds. To avoid keyboard noise, do not place the microphone(s) in the playing room. For additional information, see Helpful information on recording for the carillon.

Before submitting your recording, listen to each piece carefully with the music in front of you. Ask yourself:

  1. Will the judges be able to hear the details of my performance on this recording?
  2. Is my playing musical?
  3. Does the piece actually sound the way I intend it to sound?
  4. Are marks on the music reflected in the recorded performance?
  5. Are the rhythms, dynamics and tempi accurate?
  6. Where might my performance be rated on the Standards For Carillon Performance sheet?

Depending on your answers, you may decide to record some pieces again.

B. Videotape Recording (optional)

You are strongly encouraged to submit a video recording of you performing one of the required pieces. The video recording will not be separately graded. It will be used to provide helpful feedback in relation to performance techniques, posture and positioning at the console. Submitting a video recording will help judges provide better and more useful feedback. Head, body, hands and feet should all be clearly shown at some point in the video. A video recording made on a smartphone is acceptable. The microphone for the video recording may be in the playing room rather than in the bell chamber.

C. History Requirement

Demonstrate your basic knowledge about general history of the carillon (and optionally the history of your own instrument) in a written format. The effort expected is the equivalent of about 2-3 pages of double-spaced text, but you are encouraged to present the information in a format that will be practical and useful to you as a (future) ambassador for the carillon. Examples of presentation formats include:

  1. A summary, outline or time line of general carillon history,
  2. A brochure or a website for your own instrument, including a history of your own instrument and a general history of the carillon (or a supplement to an existing brochure or website that focuses on a particular event),
  3. A script for a tour of your own instrument, including a history of your own instrument and a general history of the carillon, or
  4. FAQ: Answers to questions frequently asked by concert audience members about general carillon history and the history of your own instrument.

You (or your teacher on your behalf) are welcome to contact the committee chair to propose a different presentation format.

Original research is not expected. You may use information in the general carillon history section of Playing the Carillon: An Introductory Method by John Gouwens. (Two-octave carillon players using The Belmont Carillon Book may contact the committee chair to obtain these pages.)

D. Concert Program Design Requirement

Submit two sample programs for recitals of between 30 minutes and 1 hour in length. The music chosen does not have to be music that you already know. The programs must include a short biography.

Programming Tips

  1. Instead of listing single pieces one after another, decide if several could be grouped together using headings such as "Three Folk Songs," "Two Hymns," "Three Dances," "Two Twentieth Century Pieces for Carillon," "Two Pieces by French Composers," etc. You are free to think of other groupings.
  2. Variety in programming helps create interest. One way to provide variety is to avoid programming successive selections in the same key.
  3. Similarly, when possible, program music with different rhythms, keys and tempi.
  4. Plan the beginning and ending pieces of a program carefully. The first piece will set a certain mood: perhaps dramatic, perhaps meditative, etc.
  5. Include composers' names and birth and death year dates (if known) and arrangers' names.
  6. Pieces familiar to general audiences are effective in drawing your listeners into your performance.
  7. Program notes are a good idea, but are not required for the purposes of the exam.

III. The Application And Judging Process

A. Application

At any time of year any Associate Member in good standing with the GCNA may submit an application to the committee chair.

You are not required to keep your identity confidential.

(If you are not already a member of the GCNA, you must first become a member by filling out a membership application and paying your Associate member dues, currently US$40, or US$25 if you are a full-time student.)

A complete application includes:

  1. A completed ACE application
  2. A list of the pieces, with title and composer/arranger
  3. Audio recordings totaling 10-15 minutes of music (a separate audio file/track for each piece)
  4. Video recording of one of the required pieces (optional)
  5. One photocopy or scanned copy of the sheet music for each piece that is not a required piece
  6. Carillon history project
  7. Two sample concert programs, including short biography
  8. The ACE application fee (US$20).

The US$20 ACE application fee can be made via PayPal (preferred) below. Enter your name in the box after "ACE Fee for" and click the Pay Now button. Alternatively, the ACE application fee can be made by check in US$ drawn on a US bank made payable to "The GCNA".

ACE Fee for

All elements of the application can be submitted electronically (preferred) via a cloud service such as Dropbox or iCloud. Either put all the files onto your own cloud account and share a link with the committee chair by email, or contact the committee chair for a Dropbox file request folder link. Alternatively, the files can be burned onto a CD and sent to the committee chair by mail.

B. Judging

Committee members will listen to the audio recordings, and read the history project, the two programs and the biography.

Candidates will pass, fail, or be invited to resubmit some parts of the exam material. (If the committee requests the resubmission of some parts of the exam material, candidates will have two years from the time of their first evaluation report to resubmit. After two years, all submissions will be treated as new applications, requiring complete application material and fee. Prior committee evaluations of any previously submitted material will not necessarily be the same upon resubmission.)

To successfully complete the exam, candidates must pass all requirements including each audio recording that is submitted.

The video recording (if one is submitted) will not be separately graded.

Standards for Carillon Performance is the internal guideline used by the judges to evaluate candidates' performances, but will not be used as a template for the final reported performance evaluation.

Candidates will receive comments and suggestions, if needed, from the judges.

Candidates who meet the standards set by the committee will receive a certificate, suitable for framing, an "AC" code in the GCNA membership directory, and a special announcement of their accomplishment to the membership.

Only the names of those candidates who pass will be released to the GCNA membership.

Associate Carillonneur Exam Committee
Wesley Arai, Linda Dzuris, Laura Ellis and Tin-Shi Tam
James Fackenthal, Chair

For more information, contact Committee Chair James Fackenthal at

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