The Sound of the Liberty Bell

Close-up of the Liberty Bell hanging in the Liberty Bell Center, at Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, Pa.
Computer modeling provides a clue to the sound of the Liberty Bell.

NPS Photo

The Bell as Ben Heard It

Thanks to modern computer modeling, we may have a closer idea of exactly how the Bell sounded when Benjamin Franklin heard it. In 1999, graduate students from Pennsylvania State University were able to digitally create a structural model of the Liberty Bell. From this computer model, they were able to mathematically equate the vibration of the Bell and add sound. Knowing that the tone of the Bell was E-flat, they were able to come up with a fairly close approximation of the original sound of the Liberty Bell.

Soldiers landing on the beaches of Normandy, France on D-Day, June 6, 1944.
The Liberty Bell was tapped to herald the allied invasion of Normandy, France on D-Day, June 6, 1944.

"Into the Jaws of Death" by Chief Photographer's Mate Robert F. Sargent, courtesy National Archives

The Sound of L-I-B-E-R-T-Y on D-Day

There have been several occasions in which the Liberty Bell was struck and the sound was recorded. One very special occasion was on D-Day, June 6, 1944, when the Liberty Bell was struck by Philadelphia Mayor Bernard Samuel seven times, one time for each of the letters in the word "Liberty" in a nationwide broadcast to announce the allied invasion of Europe on the beaches of Normandy, France. (Broadcast courtesy WIP CBS Radio)


Last updated: September 7, 2021

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