Saturday, April 26, 2008


On special occasions bells may be manually played to add a special celebratory flavor to their toll. There are two examples of this. One is called Change Ringing. I was blessed to come across a group practicing this when last I was in England. With this post is a picture of the Church and of the choir loft (and the "Ye Olde Six Bells" tavern near by.) The bells are played in a certain mathematical sequence rather than any kind of melody. Here is an example of what it sounds like. (It is a cool site!) Quite a challenge! If you would like to read more about change ringing (from whence bell choirs come) read here.

There is a slightly different tradition that I am sure others have also but am only familiar with it from my Slovenian background. Perhaps on Easter of for Midnight Mass at Christmas a group of people would gather in the bell tower, one for each bell, and with hammers strike the bells. Like change ringing it is not to produce a melody but neither is it necessarily a mathematical pattern, but (if I have understood it correctly) rhythms. The effect us quite enchanting and exciting but loses its effectiveness quite a bit if done electronically or via a key board connected to the organ.

More on bells to come.


Anonymous said...

Loved listening to the bells on the website. This is off topic but did you have a website awhile ago that you were able to listen to Gregorian Chant?


Fr. V said...

Hey MJ -

I thought it was pretty cool too.

I don't remember one - but if you find one I would love to post it!

Adoro said...

Hear the mellow wedding bells,
Golden bells!
What a world of happiness their harmony foretells!
Through the balmy air of night
How they ring out their delight!
From the molten-golden notes,
And an in tune,
What a liquid ditty floats
To the turtle-dove that listens, while she gloats
On the moon!
Oh, from out the sounding cells,
What a gush of euphony voluminously wells!
How it swells!
How it dwells
On the Future! how it tells
Of the rapture that impels
To the swinging and the ringing
Of the bells, bells, bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells,bells,
Bells, bells, bells
To the rhyming and the chiming of the bells!

I found out that the bells at my parish are named Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael. And they sing to me every morning at 8am and 7 pm and every Sunday at 6:30, 7:15, 8:45, 10:30, 12:15 and 5:30. And during the Easter Vigil. :-)

Anonymous said...

Dorothy Sayers wrote a great detective novel, The Nine Tailors, which involved bell ringing.

This is my third try to decipher the word verification!!

Fr. V said...

Thanks for sticking it out Sharon! I dislike those things too but there were some wierd things getting through that could be harmful to people's computer if downloaded. *sigh*

Adoro - is that a song or just a poem?

Unknown said...

For MJ and others

Polyphony & chant available at with Amazon links to download and/or buy CD's