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Courthouse Fiesta Clock Tower
updated: Aug 04, 2012, 10:00 AM

By The Urban Hikers

The Courthouse is decked out in its usual Fiesta décor, with large a banner that has roughly the same color scheme as both the official flag of Santa Barbara and the Spanish flag, but it isn’t either. It does, however have an image of the tower that St. Barbara is said to have been locked up in, but we digress because that’s not the point of this story…There’s another “enhancement” at the Courthouse this year and it's new. It involves the clock chimes.

Beginning on the first day of Fiesta 2012, and ending at its closing on Sunday night, each time the clock at the Courthouse strikes – on the hour, on the half, and at the quarter hour - rather than hearing the familiar “bong”, what you hear now is the strum of a guitar playing something that sounds like the opening of a Flamenco piece.

At 1:00 you'll hear just one strum and at 11:00 you'll hear eleven strums...every hour gets a corresponding number of strums. The half and quarter hours get a couple of strums each. We spoke with a docent at the Courthouse who explained that the Fiesta clock chimes “are courtesy of Bryan”. We think the little riff sounds a lot like it was created by the same person who occasionally plays the lovely guitar music in the parking garage on State Street. Bryan, is that you?

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Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 304705 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-08-04 10:24 AM

very cool


 COMMENT 304706P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-08-04 10:25 AM

The commentary along with the picture are sufficient to have me to leave my comfort zone and discover the courthouse Fiesta sight and sounds. Thank you.


 COMMENT 304741 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-08-04 11:41 AM

The parking garage guitarist is Bruce Goldish.



 COMMENT 304915 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-08-05 08:39 AM

Thank you JOJOFLYS. I checked out Bruce's website and will definitely be downloading some of his music onto my ipod. Really beautiful!


 COMMENT 304946 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-08-05 10:18 AM

I know who it is but am sworn to secrecy!


 COMMENT 305105 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-08-06 08:52 AM

The delicate and nuanced Spanish guitar notes heard during Fiesta were played by local musician David West, who also runs the "Studio Z" recording studio on State Street. It was the idea of Bryan Mumford, who built the digital sound interface to the tower clock, to substitute guitar strings for the bells during Fiesta. He partnered with David West to come up with the perfect sounds. It was a challenge because the clock is made to play Westminster Chimes, which is a short tune composed of four notes played in different patterns. Only four individual guitar samples were allowed to play the fixed chime sequence, and yet change the character of the chime to that of an early California guitar piece.


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