Musical clocks are even more interesting in the context that they can play music using as few as 6 bells but usually with multiple hammers for quick note succession, but on average most would have 8, 10, 12 or 13 bells and multiple hammers, particularly if it has a lot more complex tunes. There are always exceptions and there are musical clocks out there with 16 to even 20 bells and usually have around 14–15 different tunes. On average most have 2–7 tunes selectable via a dial. No matter what kind of musical clock it is, the same basic system of how the clock plays its tunes is the same. It all revolves around a large cylinder which is spiked and pushed the relevant hammers or combs.
Beginning in the 1988, Rhythm Small World Clocks introduced modern battery powered musical clocks. Storing their music on computer chips, the first models played 6 melodies in rotation. Newer clocks play up to 18 melodies including Christmas tunes. Rhythm Small World Clocks was the only major brand in the market until 2000 when Seiko introduced their Melodies in Motion Clocks. Both Seiko and Rhythm musical clocks perform a new melody every hour on the hour and feature a light sensor which automatically switches off the music in the dark. Modern musical clocks play popular, country, classical or holiday melodies. The most popular modern musical clocks have elaborate motions where the clock face opens up revealing crystals, flashing lights, or other eye catching details.
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