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5 - The Bells

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 August 2020

Andrew Kirkman
Affiliation:
University of Birmingham
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Summary

If the organ was the ‘inwardly facing’ voice of the church, the bells directed its message out to the larger world. Bells gave powerful voice to the church’s self-image, and also offered opportunities for lavish private provision for the posthumous support of the souls of their endowers. Personified by means of names and ‘baptised’ before use, their quasi-human status, coupled with their range, gave them a particular potency in the medieval soundscape. It is therefore unsurprising that bells were instruments of power not only for the churches in which they were housed, but also for the town over whose airspace they resounded, exercising control, discipline and security. As a result, they were often sites of contested power between church and town and hence reveal significant detail concerning power structures at the time.

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Chapter
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Music and Musicians at the Collegiate Church of St Omer
Crucible of Song, 1350–1550
, pp. 179 - 200
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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  • The Bells
  • Andrew Kirkman, University of Birmingham
  • Book: Music and Musicians at the Collegiate Church of St Omer
  • Online publication: 31 August 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108884990.006
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  • The Bells
  • Andrew Kirkman, University of Birmingham
  • Book: Music and Musicians at the Collegiate Church of St Omer
  • Online publication: 31 August 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108884990.006
Available formats
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Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • The Bells
  • Andrew Kirkman, University of Birmingham
  • Book: Music and Musicians at the Collegiate Church of St Omer
  • Online publication: 31 August 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108884990.006
Available formats
×