Nursery Rhymes

Bells

Medieval life and Times

Definition and Description of Bells
Definition and description of Bells: Bells can be described as hollow metallic vessels, usually shaped like a cup with a flaring mouth, containing a clapper or tongue and produces a ringing sound on being struck. Bells,  have been made in a variety of shapes and sizes. The long narrow bell, the quadrangular bell, the mitre-shaped bell and the full trumpet-mouthed bell.

The thickness of the bell's edge is about one-tenth of its diameter, and its height is twelve times its thickness. Bells have been made of various metals, but the best have always been, as now, of an alloy of copper and tin. A Bell ringer is the name given to a person who rings a bell or bells, especially one whose business it is to ring a church bell or chime, or a set of musical bells for public entertainment.

Family of Instruments: The Bells belongs to the family of Percussion instruments.

History of Bells
The use of Bells dates back to antiquity and are first mentioned in Scripture as the small golden bells attached to the hem of the high priest's ephod (Exodus 28:33, 34, 35). The "bells of the horses" are mentioned by Zechariah (14:20)  which were attached to the bridles or belts round the necks of horses trained for war, so as to accustom them to noise and tumult. Early Bells early summoned soldiers to arms as well as Christians to church. The bell is closely associated with the Christian church. The " Passing Bell," was rung for the dying and after death. Bells were also rung to indicate the sex of the deceased - two pulls for a woman and three for a man. The ancient " Sanctus " or " Sance " bell which hung on the rood-screen was sounded three times when the priest said the Tersanctus (Holy, Holy, Holy) in the office of mass. Bells also were used to alert people to the time of day and the inscription on some old bells 'Lectum fuge, discute somnum' translates as "Away from bed, shake off sleep". The earliest medieval attempts at bell music, as distinct from mere noise, consisted of striking a row of three, four or even eight small bells by hand with a hammer.

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