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.