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Re: [liturgy-l] Why bells? Part Two

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  • Frank Senn
    It s a good question.  I guess I would approach an answer this way.  Bells are really musical instruments. They belong in the percussion family.  AS is done
    Message 1 of 24 , Jan 1, 2010
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      It's a good question.  I guess I would approach an answer this way.  Bells are really musical instruments. They belong in the percussion family.  AS is done nowadays in countless churches, you can get an assortment of handbells and have a handbell choir play whole pieces with them.  I confess that this has never appealed to me.  But using bells to summon attention or to express joy does appeal to me.  So church bells are rung to call people to worship and to celebrate joyous events like the resurrection or marriages. Or they can be tolled to say farewell to the faithful departed.  In the old days the church bells could remind people in the community to offer their devotions, such as ringing the Angelus.  Adding handbells during the Sanctus is kind of like a judicious clash of cymbals at strategic points in an orchestral piece.  In fact, some organs are equipped with little devices called a cymbalstern (it is shaped like a star) that organists
      use on the last stanzas of exuberant hymns---or during the singing of the Gloria or Sanctus.  So...using the sanctus bells during the Sanctus heightens the singing of this interjection and summons anticipation.  In many musical settings of the liturgy nowadays, the concluding doxology is musically of one piece with the Sanctus, so it seems appropriate to also reprise the bells during "Through him, with him, in him..."  This argument is mostly aesthetic, but when dealing with music that has to come into play. 

      Frank C. Senn

      --- On Thu, 12/31/09, Tom Poelker <TomPoelker@...> wrote:

      From: Tom Poelker <TomPoelker@...>
      Subject: [liturgy-l] Why bells? Part Two
      To: liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Thursday, December 31, 2009, 4:24 PM







       









      It seems to me that we have gone full circle, back to the original

      question, "Why bells?"



      This message reminds me of the old Bob Newhart routine about Valley

      Forge. After the parade with the drummer and injured fife player

      accompanying the flag bearer, the captain finds those men and say,

      "Washington liked the idea of the limp and says you should keep it in."



      What purpose does it serve to introduce hand bells during the Sanctus?

      It seems to me that there are already too many things going on during

      the Institution Narrative. Where is the focus supposed to be? Do the

      musicians and the presider make any effort to coordinate with each

      other? What are the members of the assembly expected to be DOING, or

      are they only expected to be accepting what is done by others? Where do

      the ministers intend the congregants to focus their attention?



      Are the bells and the music overlapping the liturgical action just

      because somebody likes them and decided to, "leave them in"?



      Are there two flows in contrast here, or even three, with the musicians

      doing their thing, the presider doing another thing, the remaining

      ministers doing a third thing, perhaps, and the congregation left to

      pick and choose where to focus or to do their own internal things rather

      than acting as an assembly?



      Now some may think I am picking at nits here and maybe even missing.

      Others may think that I am just showing a perceived general opposition

      to traditional practices. Yet, what I intend is to demonstrate the kind

      of questions which I think ought to be asked of every element of

      liturgical prayer, both those well established and those proposed for

      introduction to a particular congregation.



      If one took two weeks of daily rehearsals, as theater people do at a

      minimum for almost every show, how much of this could be worked out?

      How much better could the entire service flow? How many potential

      message conflicts could be avoided? How much better job could be done

      to coordinate and optimize the mutual and potentially supportive

      messages of the various media: musical, oral, setting, posture, gesture,

      et cetera?



      Why will the average parish not, at least once a year, put in as much

      effort to prepare their liturgies as they would for a school play?

      Professional actors doing "Macbeth" do not assume that they all know how

      to do it and can stage the show with just a few minutes conversation and

      whatever rehearsals the supporting musicians think minimally necessary.

      Why do professional liturgical ministers assume so much differently?



      ----- THE FOLLOWING MESSAGE IS A CRASS COMMERCIAL PROPOSAL -----------



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      a mere $150 per day, you, too, can hire an experienced director and

      master of ceremonies AT YOUR OWN SITE to run two days of rehearsal using

      the script already known to your ministers. Experience the give and

      take of real rehearsal. Delve into the motivations of the ministries.

      Hurry! WRITE NOW! Send your requests to TAPoelker@aol. com. Offer valid

      world wide. Money and producers of all denominations welcome.

      Producers decide whether to produce shows as rehearsed or to rewrite

      further or even return to previous performance practices. Guarantee

      covers only thought provocation not final product as assembled by the

      customer. Your satisfaction may vary and depends upon local road

      conditions and maintenance of the product.



      ---------WE NOW RETURN TO OUR IRREGULARLY SCHEDULED ANNOUNCEMENTS

      ------------ --------- ---

      *



      Tom Poelker

      St. Louis. Missouri

      USA



      /-- Do all the easy nice things you can.

      Its nice to see people smile,

      and its good practice. --/



      *



      Frank Senn wrote:

      >

      >

      > Amazingly, I found a set of Sanctus bells in a closet in the choir

      > room at Immanuel a few weeks ago. There was a thurible in the

      > sacristy when I arrived here nearly 20 years ago, which I understood

      > was used at Vespers (LBW Vespers calls for incensing during Psalm

      > 141). We have continued that tradition and I added the use of incense

      > at certain liturgies during the year. On Christmas Eve I had the

      > server ring the bells during the Sanctus and during the elevation of

      > the chalice and host at the doxology at the end of the Great

      > Thanksgiving. (I haven't quite worked through in my mind about

      > ringing them during the words of institution, since I regard the whole

      > eucharistic prayer as consecratory) . I also know that they were rung

      > at the Sanctus because the choir was singing that interjection while

      > the celebrant was saying the rest of the Canon, including the Verba

      > institutionis in sotto voce. But I figured that at midnight mass on

      > Christmas Eve the

      > congregation' s attention might need to be aroused by that point. In

      > any event, I have continued having them rung at all the masses since

      > and maybe this new practice will continue. I don't know. (I think the

      > people like it; they certainly like ringing their hand bells at the

      > Easter Vigil.) But those who only come once a year on Christmas Eve

      > will surely think that the bells were rung especially for Christmas.

      >

      > Frank C. Senn

      >

      >



      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]






















      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • James O'Regan
      Both of those uses, I think, can be useful even in the traditional positioning in the Mass during the Institution Narrative. But, as Tom has pointed out, bells
      Message 2 of 24 , Jan 1, 2010
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        Both of those uses, I think, can be useful even in the traditional positioning in the Mass during the Institution Narrative. But, as Tom has pointed out, bells need rehearsal (re-hear-sal) to know how they best might affect the action.

        Two questions pop to mind: the tone of the bells - are they tinny, jingley, or bell-ringy? Having never heard them used effectively, I, nevertheless, can imagine a good use at the two elevations, if the prayer and elevations are done slowly enough and the bells are powerful enough to make a statement of jubilation. So, the second question is can the action accommodate them?

        I have heard tubular bells put to good use in the Gloria of the Bells, which is a dialogue (choir-assembly) tune. The exuberance of those bells really has lifted up the assembly singing to a jubilation. The choir performs a proper role of leading, setting the pace and story-telling and the assembly performs a proper role of responding and expressing "glory," with the bells acting as a solid bedrock and flight of that joy.

        So, the two examples could be and are that of a stimulus of jubilation and a response of jubilation, leading the assembly and supporting the assembly in praise.

        All the best,

        James O'Regan
        oregan@...




        On 2010-01-01, at 9:02 AM, Frank Senn wrote:

        > But using bells to summon attention or to express joy does appeal to me.
      • George Carlson
        While we don t have exactly the same personal taste in liturgy, it is pretty clear we are on this list because we can agree (and the secondary meaning of the
        Message 3 of 24 , Jan 1, 2010
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          While we don't have exactly the same personal taste in liturgy, it is pretty
          clear we are on this list because we can agree (and the secondary meaning of
          the image is intentional) that liturgy is like a meal of physical food.
          Ideally, it should be planned, prepared, and presented like a fine meal, not
          thrown together like a fast food burger. We may never agree if we like
          spinach, but we keep coming back to the same (or at least a very similar)
          premise.



          In omnibus pax,

          George Carlson

          St. Paul's (TEC), Murfreesboro, TN

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        • Douglas Cowling
          ... Another function of bells is a call to corporate silence and reflection as at St. Gregory of Nyssa. After the first two readings and the homily, a bell is
          Message 4 of 24 , Jan 1, 2010
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            On 1/1/10 10:42 AM, "James O'Regan" <oregan@...> wrote:

            > So, the two examples could be and are that of a stimulus of jubilation and a
            > response of jubilation, leading the assembly and supporting the assembly in
            > praise.

            Another function of bells is a call to corporate silence and reflection as
            at St. Gregory of Nyssa. After the first two readings and the homily, a bell
            is rung to announce a period of silence; a second bell anounces the end of
            the silence. I'm sure the parish has the footnotes of the Eastern rite from
            which the custom is adopted.

            I recommend the practice to all and sundry. This is a world of perpetual
            noise and activity. The custom of silent prayer before and after the liturgy
            is long gone. When we give our assemblies an opportunity for corporate
            silence, we are giving them something incredibly rich which their daily
            lives deny them. It also recognizes that in our hyper-energized liturgies
            that there are many who require the quiet time.

            We include the following rubric:

            A time of silence for reflection is announced and closed by a bell.

            That indicates to panicking extoverts that this is a discreet liturgical act
            with a recognizable beginning and end. We use a Tibetan bell bowl which has
            a long lingering tone which draws in the listener: if you allow yourself to
            be carried by the sound, you enter the silence gracefully and musically.

            Try it for a season.

            Doug Cowling
            Director of Music
            St. Philip's Church, Etobicoke
            Toronto
          • cantor03@aol.com
            Not unique to Anglican churches, but fairly common in TEC is the use of tower bells for the Sanctus and other locations in the Liturgy where bells are
            Message 5 of 24 , Jan 1, 2010
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              Not unique to Anglican churches, but fairly common
              in TEC is the use of tower bells for the Sanctus and
              other locations in the Liturgy where bells are appropriate.
              This can be very effective and not as obtrusive as hand
              operated bells can be at times, especially via untrained
              servers.

              I believe the fourth largest ECUSA church is St. John
              the Evangelist Cathedral in Spokane, Washington, and
              there is a massive central tower there over the crossing.
              The Sanctus bells are especially impressive when heard
              floating down from such a height inside the Cathedral.


              David Strang.


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Lewis Whitaker
              You should hear the one at Church of the Advent, Boston. You FEEL it right in the pit of your stomach. Lew ... [Non-text portions of this message have been
              Message 6 of 24 , Jan 1, 2010
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                You should hear the one at Church of the Advent, Boston. You FEEL it right
                in the pit of your stomach.

                Lew


                On Fri, Jan 1, 2010 at 1:23 PM, <cantor03@...> wrote:

                >
                > Not unique to Anglican churches, but fairly common
                > in TEC is the use of tower bells for the Sanctus and
                > other locations in the Liturgy where bells are appropriate.
                > This can be very effective and not as obtrusive as hand
                > operated bells can be at times, especially via untrained
                > servers.
                >
                > I believe the fourth largest ECUSA church is St. John
                > the Evangelist Cathedral in Spokane, Washington, and
                > there is a massive central tower there over the crossing.
                > The Sanctus bells are especially impressive when heard
                > floating down from such a height inside the Cathedral.
                >
                >
                > David Strang.
                >
                >
                > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >
                > ------------------------------------
                >
                > Visit the liturgy-l homepage at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/liturgy-l/To write to the moderators, please email:
                > liturgy-l-owner@yahoogroups.comYahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >
                >


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • dlewisaao@aol.com
                At St Paul s DC we ring the outside bell before each service or sequence of services (including daily) and ring both the inside ( jingle bells ) and outside
                Message 7 of 24 , Jan 1, 2010
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                  At St Paul's DC we ring the outside bell before each service or sequence
                  of services (including daily) and ring both the inside ("jingle bells") and
                  outside bells to announce and during the Consecration; also, we ring the
                  inside bells during the Sanctus and to signal that Communions are to begin.

                  The outside bells witness to the neighborhood.

                  David


                  In a message dated 1/1/2010 1:37:11 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,
                  cantor03@... writes:


                  Not unique to Anglican churches, but fairly common
                  in TEC is the use of tower bells for the Sanctus and
                  other locations in the Liturgy where bells are appropriate.
                  This can be very effective and not as obtrusive as hand
                  operated bells can be at times, especially via untrained
                  servers.

                  I believe the fourth largest ECUSA church is St. John
                  the Evangelist Cathedral in Spokane, Washington, and
                  there is a massive central tower there over the crossing.
                  The Sanctus bells are especially impressive when heard
                  floating down from such a height inside the Cathedral.


                  David Strang.


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



                  ------------------------------------

                  Visit the liturgy-l homepage at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/liturgy-l/
                  To write to the moderators, please email:
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                • Tom Poelker
                  Wow! What a good idea about using a [gentle?] to introduce and close a period of silence. Its amazing how many good ideas are in use. I always like learning
                  Message 8 of 24 , Jan 1, 2010
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                    Wow! What a good idea about using a [gentle?] to introduce and close a
                    period of silence.
                    Its amazing how many good ideas are in use.
                    I always like learning such things.
                    *

                    Tom Poelker
                    St. Louis. Missouri
                    USA

                    /-- Do all the easy nice things you can.
                    It?s nice to see people smile,
                    and it?s good practice. --/

                    *


                    Douglas Cowling wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > On 1/1/10 10:42 AM, "James O'Regan" <oregan@...
                    > <mailto:oregan%40jamesoregan.com>> wrote:
                    >
                    > > So, the two examples could be and are that of a stimulus of
                    > jubilation and a
                    > > response of jubilation, leading the assembly and supporting the
                    > assembly in
                    > > praise.
                    >
                    > Another function of bells is a call to corporate silence and reflection as
                    > at St. Gregory of Nyssa. After the first two readings and the homily,
                    > a bell
                    > is rung to announce a period of silence; a second bell anounces the end of
                    > the silence. I'm sure the parish has the footnotes of the Eastern rite
                    > from
                    > which the custom is adopted.
                    >
                    > I recommend the practice to all and sundry. This is a world of perpetual
                    > noise and activity. The custom of silent prayer before and after the
                    > liturgy
                    > is long gone. When we give our assemblies an opportunity for corporate
                    > silence, we are giving them something incredibly rich which their daily
                    > lives deny them. It also recognizes that in our hyper-energized liturgies
                    > that there are many who require the quiet time.
                    >
                    > We include the following rubric:
                    >
                    > A time of silence for reflection is announced and closed by a bell.
                    >
                    > That indicates to panicking extoverts that this is a discreet
                    > liturgical act
                    > with a recognizable beginning and end. We use a Tibetan bell bowl
                    > which has
                    > a long lingering tone which draws in the listener: if you allow
                    > yourself to
                    > be carried by the sound, you enter the silence gracefully and musically.
                    >
                    > Try it for a season.
                    >
                    > Doug Cowling
                    > Director of Music
                    > St. Philip's Church, Etobicoke
                    > Toronto
                    >
                    >


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • James
                    In our small community we sing when the priest is silent and are silent while he sings, And sometimes we all sing the same thing. but then we are Eastern rite,
                    Message 9 of 24 , Jan 3, 2010
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                      In our small community we sing when the priest is silent and are silent while he sings, And sometimes we all sing the same thing. but then we are Eastern rite, and we mostly just get along with each other. We respond to each other, priest and people, and all join in as they are able. There are about 20-25 of us and all sing as we are able. Makes for nice liturgy, and we sing mostly the same melodies each week so all learn them.

                      Humble Jim of Olym.

                      --- In liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com, Tom Poelker <TomPoelker@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > It seems to me that we have gone full circle, back to the original us?
                      etc omitted
                    • James
                      Our little Mission in Olympia WA had two visitors who were both form a local Presbyterian church today. As the reader/psalti I was rather struck that they
                      Message 10 of 24 , Jan 3, 2010
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                        Our little Mission in Olympia WA had two visitors who were both form a local Presbyterian church today. As the reader/psalti I was rather struck that they mostly sat throughout the service but were very attentive. We gave them little books to follow but they hardly looked at them. I think they were impressed.

                        Let's see if they ever return.
                        Rdr. james

                        --- In liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com, Douglas Cowling <cowling.douglas@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > On 1/1/10 10:42 AM, "James O'Regan" <oregan@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > > So, the two examples could be and are that of a stimulus of jubilation and a
                        > > response of jubilation, leading the assembly and supporting the assembly in
                        > > praise.
                        >
                        > Another function of bells is a call to corporate silence and reflection as
                        > at St. Gregory of Nyssa. After the first two readings and the homily, a bell
                        > is rung to announce a period of silence; a second bell anounces the end of
                        > the silence. I'm sure the parish has the footnotes of the Eastern rite from
                        > which the custom is adopted.
                        >
                        > I recommend the practice to all and sundry. This is a world of perpetual
                        > noise and activity. The custom of silent prayer before and after the liturgy
                        > is long gone. When we give our assemblies an opportunity for corporate
                        > silence, we are giving them something incredibly rich which their daily
                        > lives deny them. It also recognizes that in our hyper-energized liturgies
                        > that there are many who require the quiet time.
                        >
                        > We include the following rubric:
                        >
                        > A time of silence for reflection is announced and closed by a bell.
                        >
                        > That indicates to panicking extoverts that this is a discreet liturgical act
                        > with a recognizable beginning and end. We use a Tibetan bell bowl which has
                        > a long lingering tone which draws in the listener: if you allow yourself to
                        > be carried by the sound, you enter the silence gracefully and musically.
                        >
                        > Try it for a season.
                        >
                        > Doug Cowling
                        > Director of Music
                        > St. Philip's Church, Etobicoke
                        > Toronto
                        >
                      • James
                        Unfortunate that the Spokane cathedral is is pretty modernistic in its praxis now. Jim of Olym Beartiful church with a 3 man Skinner Organ. And the building
                        Message 11 of 24 , Jan 3, 2010
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                          Unfortunate that the Spokane cathedral is is pretty modernistic in its praxis now.
                          Jim of Olym
                          Beartiful church with a 3 man Skinner Organ. And the building was finished during the Depression!

                          --- In liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com, cantor03@... wrote:
                          >
                          > Not unique to Anglican churches, but fairly common
                          > in TEC is the use of tower bells for the Sanctus and
                          > other locations in the Liturgy where bells are appropriate.
                          > This can be very effective and not as obtrusive as hand
                          > operated bells can be at times, especially via untrained
                          > servers.
                          >
                          > I believe the fourth largest ECUSA church is St. John
                          > the Evangelist Cathedral in Spokane, Washington, and
                          > there is a massive central tower there over the crossing.
                          > The Sanctus bells are especially impressive when heard
                          > floating down from such a height inside the Cathedral.
                          >
                          > David Strang.
                        • Janet Roth
                          Finest example of French Gothic architecture West of the Mississippi..... the stone blocks were hand numbered --- and it used to be that in places you could
                          Message 12 of 24 , Jan 3, 2010
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                            Finest example of French Gothic architecture West of the
                            Mississippi..... the stone blocks were hand numbered --- and it used
                            to be that in places you could still see the numbering...

                            One year when the floors were being worked on and the pews were out
                            (services for a while in the parish hall!) --- the Dean at the time
                            bade us all go stand in the back and just soak up the view without
                            pews. It is a most beautiful building....

                            Janet Roth (who has been quite in love with the building since high
                            school which was four decades ago)
                            On Jan 3, 2010, at 8:22 PM, James wrote:

                            > Unfortunate that the Spokane cathedral is is pretty modernistic in
                            > its praxis now.
                            > Jim of Olym
                            > Beartiful church with a 3 man Skinner Organ. And the building was
                            > finished during the Depression!
                            >
                            > --- In liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com, cantor03@... wrote:
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > I believe the fourth largest ECUSA church is St. John
                            > > the Evangelist Cathedral in Spokane, Washington, and
                            > > there is a massive central tower there over the crossing.
                            > > The Sanctus bells are especially impressive when heard
                            > > floating down from such a height inside the Cathedral.
                            > >



                            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          • Lewis Whitaker
                            Modernistic in its praxis. What, pray tell, does that mean, Jim? Or are you using it in the I can t put my finger on it, but I don t like it sense that
                            Message 13 of 24 , Jan 3, 2010
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                              "Modernistic in its praxis." What, pray tell, does that mean, Jim?

                              Or are you using it in the "I can't put my finger on it, but I don't like
                              it" sense that most people use 'Modernist?'

                              Lew

                              On Sun, Jan 3, 2010 at 11:22 PM, James <rdrjames@...> wrote:

                              > Unfortunate that the Spokane cathedral is is pretty modernistic in its
                              > praxis now.
                              > Jim of Olym
                              > Beartiful church with a 3 man Skinner Organ. And the building was finished
                              > during the Depression!
                              >
                              > --- In liturgy-l@yahoogroups.com, cantor03@... wrote:
                              > >
                              > > Not unique to Anglican churches, but fairly common
                              > > in TEC is the use of tower bells for the Sanctus and
                              > > other locations in the Liturgy where bells are appropriate.
                              > > This can be very effective and not as obtrusive as hand
                              > > operated bells can be at times, especially via untrained
                              > > servers.
                              > >
                              > > I believe the fourth largest ECUSA church is St. John
                              > > the Evangelist Cathedral in Spokane, Washington, and
                              > > there is a massive central tower there over the crossing.
                              > > The Sanctus bells are especially impressive when heard
                              > > floating down from such a height inside the Cathedral.
                              > >
                              > > David Strang.
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > ------------------------------------
                              >
                              > Visit the liturgy-l homepage at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/liturgy-l/To write to the moderators, please email:
                              > liturgy-l-owner@yahoogroups.comYahoo! Groups Links
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >


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