Bells Are Ringing

BellsHarmony. It means so many things, but its most obvious meaning is musical. I’ve got a lot of music in my life, so I had a hard time deciding what to focus on for this week’s photo challenge. Here’s what i came up with.

These are hand bells.They’re cast in bronze and then carefully tuned and polished to ring with a specific pitch. The one in the front of this picture is a D5, which means it rings the same pitch as the D near the top of the treble staff. The one behind it, with the black handle, rings is the D#5, and so on up the scale. I ring bells an octave above these, and also the ones an octave above that.

As a kid I played piano, but most of my musical experience has been singing. I’ve sung in choirs in school, church, and community. In each situation, I’m following a melodic line. It’s not always melody. In fact, it’s almost never melody, since I mostly sing alto; listen to Gillian Hassert sing about this. Still, it’s a line that moves up and down according to the chord structure of the piece. With hand bells, I have two notes I’m responsible for, and I ring those notes whenever they go by, whether it’s part of the melody or the harmony. This was a surprisingly difficult skill to learn. Learn I did, though, and now I love it. I look forward each week to the opportunity to get together with these folks and make magic happen.

When playing or singing in any kind music, there is melody and harmony. That’s part of the definition of music. There’s something else that happens, though, when making music in a group with other people. This article in Time Magazine summarizes a body of science showing that group singing leads to all kinds of benefits, mostly in terms of reduced stress and improved mental health. When people sing together, even their heart beats become synchronized. That’s real harmony.

In response to the WordPress Photo Challenge: Harmony

3 thoughts on “Bells Are Ringing

  1. Pingback: Harmony | Word Wacker

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