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Bell Sound Effects
In the Avosound Online Sound Archive you will find a great selection of bell sounds and ringing bells and bell sound effects. The choices include bicycle bells, door bells, cow bell sound effects and sleigh bells, tubular bells, bell plates, and, of course, church bells.
Bell sounds are an everyday sound around the world -- and we often don't even notice them anymore because they are so commonplace (unless you live next door to a church, that is).
But bells are not only found in churches, they traditionally have also been serving other purposes (e.g. signalling and alarms). Maybe bells have been popular throughout the centuries because they are incredibly practical and yet so simple to use.
Bell Sounds - A History
According to archeological discoveries in China, bells date back roughly 3,000 BCE. These ancient bells were made from ceramics and pre-date the cast bells and the ones made of brass. It is said that even the Egyptians used to make metal bells and hang them from ropes in the towers. The sound of these bell plates could be heard many miles away, which made them ideal as alarm signals.
Bells Sounds - Made In China
The high quality of the metal bells hints at considerable metallurgical know-how in the 15th century BCE during the Chinese bronze age. Even back then, bells were cast with a very specific pitch in mind. In China they were used for ceremonial purposes, rituals and ceremonies of state. These bells also found use in temples and shrines outside of China, where they can still be found in great abundance.
Bells in the Temple
Bell sounds find frequent use in buddhist temples. Buddhist temples and monasteries often feature quite a number of standing or hanging brass and metal bells of considerable size that are struck with a wooden bar. Depending on the size of the location, you can find lots of smaller bells or sleigh bells ringing in the wind in stupas or at the top of temples.
Even today these bell sounds and noises can be heard in Myanmar's monasteries.
Bell Sounds - Metal Bells
In the western world, bell sound have traditionally had a strong symbolic connection to the church. To make their sound heard across many miles, the bells were hung in high towers. The mightier the building, the bigger the size of the bells. And the bigger the bell, the deeper its sound. These bells - several feet high and weighing tons - would then be hung in gigantic cathedral spires where they remain to this day, making their unique sound heard across the lands.
Bells were also mounted to public buildings to announce the time. Bells will either ring the time every quarter of an hour or every hour.
Bell Sounds - Church Bells
The sound of church bells differs depending on the size and architecture of the church. Monasteries, for example, tend to use smaller bells, while churches are a little more ostentatious about their oversized bells. Bells can sound individually, in groups, or all together.
In this context, bells have a ceremonial character as well. For festivities, all bells will usually ring at the same time. Sombre occasions might just require the sound of the deepest bell.
Bell Sounds in the Middle Ages
Apart from their religious connotations, bells were used in the middle ages to alert the people and the authorities. The striking of the bell(s) is used to announce the time to this day (much to the annoyance of many neighbours). Some of the more impressive bell towers even featured a glockenspiel––which made them known around the country.
Alarm bells would ring whenever there was an attack or a fire. Those banished from the city or village could count themselves lucky if the only thing chasing them was the sound of the shame bell. Because the blood bells would announce an unkindly verdict from the worldly court in town.
As bells became easier to manufacture, cities were equipped with bells announcing alarms and storms. Before the constant cacophony of the industrial age, you could still the night porter's bell throughout the city. Bells announcing alarms and storms were equally prominent and their sound would carry from one end of the city to the other. The great benefit of bells was the amount of people you could reach in a short time and without much effort.
To this day, bells play a significant role in our society: bells and sleigh bells can be found on ships; they were used on trains and streetcars before the invention of electrical or pressurised air horns; and, of course, they can be found on almost every bicycle.