Clock chime

project , published by Maarten Tromp

Some years ago I lived very close to a clock tower. What surprised me it that I hardly noticed it toll, but always had a sense of what time it was. Now that I have moved away, I would like to replicate that feeling. Since we don't have a clock tower nearby, I did the next best thing and wrote a simple script that plays some striking samples. Like clockwork.

Since I couldn't find an audio sample from that specific clock tower, I downloaded one from another clock from FreeSFX. I cut a shorter version of the sample, which can be played on repeated tolling. The full-length sample is always played last and has a nice long fade-out.

A small Python script is started every half hour by cron. It checks what time it is and plays the corresponding number of samples. Actually I noticed a bug that makes the clock strike 13 times at high noon and midnight, but decided it's hilarious and left it in. So far nobody else seems to have noticed. Maybe I'm the only one counting strikes.

The script runs on our home server. It is connected to some ancient Trust computer speakers. One speaker sits in the cupboard with the server, the other one is patched to the other side of the house over network cabling. So wherever you are in the house, chances are you will hear the clock strike.

Guests sometimes are surprised at hearing our clock toll when there isn't a clock tower anywhere to be seen.

You can find code, samples and cronjob fragment in the downloads directory of this article.