My favorite noise : the bells in my village

There are noises and noises. When I lived in Paris, noise was quickly categorized as a nuisance, something really disturbing and to be avoided. Before moving to southern Spain, I heard many things about Andalusian people being particularly noisy but it didn't matter really. My first exploration of Andalusia started on the coast in Salobreña, in a nice white apartment by the sea. Living there in autumn, winter and spring was divine. I discovered exotic flowers and plants. I could never have enough of the jasmine scent, especially at night and the sound of the waves was the first noise I heard in the morning. And then came summer and its plague of holiday makers and suddenly noise became much varied and louder : mopeds, sellers on the beach, teenagers coming back from the disco at 7am and shouting the latest summer hit.
Gradually, I moved nearer Granada, further inland, in the country side where daily noise got suddenly reduced to the insisting horn of the baker, selling bread in the morning, followed by another joyful tuutut of the fisherman. I then moved from one village to another and after experiencing a quite noisy area due to cars passing by, I find the new house to be mysteriously silent, which surely can be explained by the amazing thickness of its old walls.
Except for the rain which has been incessant since a few weeks and the timid song of a bird from time to time, the church bells is the only loud noise which can be heard. And I love it. And it can't really be called noise, can it ? Some days, the bells ring to announce the hours, some days they remain silent. Although I'm not yet a specialist of their cryptic language, I can now tell if mass is going to be celebrated. On a particular saint day, the bells ring joyfully and loudly several times a day. On a wedding day, the same happy notes convey a feeling of general exhilaration and anticipation. During Easter and the month of may, when communions are celebrated, the bells seem to enter a period of revival and ring ad libitum. Then, when someone dies, they ring in a more discreet and humble way, seeming nearly sorry to announce a sad event.

I wish one day I could make a recording of the bells in my village. In the meantime I leave you with one of my favorite pieces of noise music, (musique concrète) "Psyche rock" by French composer Pierre Henry, from his Messe pour le temps présent (Mass for the Present Time) which he composed in 1967 for choreographer Maurice Béjart, and which contains some very happy bell ringing.


Lynne said…
"ring the bells that still can ring..."
leonard cohen

loved the sounds too:)
Elisa, Croatia said…
Beautiful description of each "bell sound". And what an interesting video. It was fun to hear the bells!
Mélanie said…
En France, les gens se plaignent des cloches et pourtant moi j'adore.
Oh you made me think of the beautiful village in Mexico where I hear church bells throughout the day. I wish that I lived with that sound always. Maybe someday. Your village sounds wonderful, Lala.

Catherine xx
Linda Sue said…
Always love Bells- Venice is charmed by many things but the bells are especially enthralling. Our apatrtment in San Polo was dierectly beneath them! Interesting that the bells have tones for different ceremonies- no jubulant clammers for dead folks.
Don said…
Love the bells! Ring a ding ding.
We have bells here at the Campanile
UC Berkeley. You can listen here:
Christina said…
i think can hear the bells! we are skipping along your village holding hands, as the bells ring. ; )
DolceDreams said…
Oh I LOVE bells, and miss them so much in this country. How envious am I!
Have a lovely day Lala,
kendalee said…
I love the sound of bells too but it's not a sound I hear very often around here. Thank you for conjuring them with the sharing of yours :)
Sometimes the sound of bells are enchanting. Sometimes it's disturbing.
Perhaps it has to do with the location?
Bells and New York City do not sound right...
I could be wrong...!
sinnlighet said…
The pictures and the clocks ..... I like dong dong together.

The bells I hear ringing are in the Indian temples when I'm there or nearby.
Joyful said…
How wonderful that you can hear the church bells! I also hear the chime each day of the clock tower where I live. They ring each hour, on the hour, from 9 in the morning until 8 at night. I've gotten so used to them that most days I don't even hear them. but when I do notice them, they bring me a lot of comfort somehow :-)
Funny sounds in that video, Lala! Still the space between the bell sounds-the church bells- creates a feeling of expansion, don't you think? It makes the quiet resonate. I love to read about your life, reflections and your town. xx

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