Bell is an old Saxon word meaning to bawl or bellow.  It is a simple sound making device and is classified as a percussion instrument. Its form is usually hollow and cup-shaped, which vibrates upon being struck.  The striking implement can be a tongue suspended within the bell, also known as a clapper, or the bell can also be struck with a mallet or hammer.

​The earliest archeological evidence of bells dates from the 3rd millennium B.C. and is traced to the Yangshao culture of Neolithic China.  These clapper bells were made of pottery.  The pottery bells were later developed into metal bells, around 2,000 B.C.

In the Western world, the classical form of the bell is the church bell or town bell, often hung from a tower.  Occasionally the clappers would muffles to quiet them while practice ringing to avoid disturbing the neighborhoods.  These muffles were also used at funeral services to give a mournful effect.  In the Eastern world the traditional form of bells are temple and palace bells, small ones being rung by a sharp rap with a stick and very large ones rung by a blow from the outside by a large swinging beam.  The process of casting bells is called bellfounding or bellmaking, and in Europe dates to the 4th or 5th century.  The traditional metal for these bells is bronze of about 23% tin.  Bells are made to exact formula, so that given the diameter, it is possible to calculate its musical note or tone.  In all, the bell has evolved over the course of time and history with humanity and symbolizes the heralding of important events in time, especially those of a sacred nature.




History of the Bell

Belle Musique or Beautiful Music in French is an all-female trio of singers who ring English handbells.  Like our name states, we are about “all things beautiful”, from the sound of the ring, to the look of the shining brass bell, to the way in which we play each bell with fluidity and grace.  We are a unique, one-of-a-kind ensemble in that we have taken the very small amount of repertoire composed for handbell quartets and we, through the use of holding multiple handbells in each hand, have adapted the music to allow our trio to play it.  
​We specialize in performing at weddings and funerals, but are also available for Christmas parties,
bar/bat-mitzvahs, or retirement and birthday parties.  Each member of our group is an accomplished singer as well.  So if our clients choose to have us ring and sing or simply ring only, we  here at Belle Musique are committed to bringing the finest quality in elegance and skill to each one of our performances.

Traditionally handbell choirs consist of 8 to 10 or more ringers, so the likelihood of seeing these wonderful groups play for special events like weddings or memorials, is slim.  For that reason, we are delighted to be able to bring this beautiful music to life as an accessible form of handbell and vocal music for the vast majority of people to hear and enjoy. 

Who we are