Hear Those Bells

adapted/arr. Paul Jennings

Probably first known as an old spiritual called "Don't You Hear Dem Bells," this old song has been remolded many times over the years. (The first recording of it was in 1896!) We've rounded off the edges, and adapted it to let you feature your singers as well as kids playing bells and/or recorders.

Lots of options - There are two bell parts, both very simple. They can be played on handbells or their simpler classroom versions. Part 1 uses one octave, and part 2 is mostly Ds (use either or both octaves). The ending for part 2 is also within that one octave. Bells parts could be played on mallet instruments like metallophones or xylophones. Or you can leave out one or both parts. The song works fine with just singers. If you do use the bells, we have included eight taps before the first measure on the recording as a cue for beginning the song.

The recorder part requires the players to play G, A, B, and C. It is primarily meant to play the second time through the tune and the ending. But you could have recorders play the third verse, as we did on the recording. If you don't want your recorders to play, add a verse for the singers – there are lots of them out there. Or write your own. Or you could feature a student as a soloist on a wind or string instrument.

The third verse moves into more of a gospel style, and we've added a simple, optional vocal part (part 2) that adds a lot to the action. Divisis for voices and recorders at the end are also optional, but effective in performance. Have fun with it, and feel free to adapt it as needed.

For conservation of space, we have included a reduced version of the piano score in this issue. However, you can find a full size version on our web site, too. See page 77 for details.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.