About this blogger:
Veronica Brandt holds a Bachelor Degree in Electrical Engineering. As editor, she has produced fine publications (as well as valuable reprints) dealing with Gregorian chant, hymnody, Latin, and other subjects. These publications are distinguished on account of their tastefulness. She lives in the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia, with her husband Peter and five children.
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The “Nova Organi Harmonia” demanded from each of us an unusual commitment; we have dedicated to it the best of our energies. Would it be, therefore, presumptuous on our part to be satisfied with the result and to expect its welcome reception in the musical world?
— Msgr. Jules Van Nuffel (circa 1940)

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Ratchets instead of Bells for your Electric Angelus
published 28 March 2018 by Veronica Brandt

Ratchet with crucifix background N THE PAST I HAVE WRITTEN about setting up automatic Angelus bells with a Raspberry Pi computer. It is very handy to have this for anyone not living within earshot of a church that still rings the Angelus.

The Angelus is a prayer in honor of the Annunciation, traditionally said at 6am, noon and 6pm. During Paschaltide it is replaced by the Regina Caeli. In some places you can still here church bells ring at midday, or maybe a short reminder on the radio.

On Good Friday and Holy Saturday however, it is customary to silence the bells and use other noise-makers instead. Fr Z describes these in his Quaeriter: Rattlers in the Sanctuary. There are some very impressive noisemakers, mostly in European museums.

This year I am not quite as frazzled as usual and remembered in time to look for ratchet sound effects and found this collection of Orchestral Ratchets. You remember the sound of the ratchet in the Toy Symphony, but it also comes up in Respighi’s The Pines of Rome and more cacophonic work by Schoenberg and Carl Orff.

Bells are avoided from after the Gloria at the Mass of Our Lord’s Supper through to the Gloria at the Easter Vigil, when they ring again with gusto and organ and unveiling images, so set your ratchet sounds for Friday and Saturday. Or get clappers, castanets and other non-bell percussion instruments and make the most of these sombre days.

Happy almost Easter everyone!



Photo Credit:

Background photo from the Nationaal Archief, Collectie Eerste Wereldoorlog (World War One). “The British Advance in the West: Yet another instance of a crucifix escaping injury from shells.