lunchtime in lower manhattan should sound very interesting today because trinity church will sound its bells in honor of obama's inauguration. while it's unlikely anyone in washington will hear them clang this afternoon, plenty of new yorkers will enjoy the sound of the very special 12 "change-ringing bells" :D
these are no ordinary bells (as described on the trinity web page):
"Change-ringing bells rotate a full 360 degrees as they are rung and produce a shimmering, cascading sound quality in a complex, inexhaustible combination of changing tonal patterns. They are uniquely beautiful and require extensive training to ring. In preparation for the installation of the bells, the Trinity steeple was reinforced with a new interior. The new bells, which range in weight from a few hundred pounds to over a ton, were cast at the Taylor Foundry in the UK."
in addition, there are no other change bells like them (nor similiar sound) in the united states (the national cathedral in washington "only" has 10 bells in its tower).
12 men and women will pull the ropes to sound what is referred to as a "full peal" (a clanging of sound patterns with no discernible melody) - that can last for up to three hours!
read more about the bell ringing in this newsday article covering the story. and, while reading it, listen to what the bells actually sound like on this youtube video clip: