Ringing in Contemporary Worship

 

 

Including handbells and handchimes in contemporary worship is possible and it works!  As some churches change their worship style of a particular service or entire Sunday morning, the practice of putting ringing instruments away in a closet has occurred over and over.  However, there is no reason to do so.

The music of contemporary worship tends to reflect trends of popular music.  The belief of many is that some are attracted to worship in a way that reflects the secular culture of their daily lives.  Ever present in popular music that is played on a daily basis is an instrumental background to a vocalist or group.  The variation in instrumentation not only adds color but reinforces the rhythmic drive through a particular song.  The same concept is used in contemporary Christian music.

As church musicians, we have the call to use the resources of our congregation – people and instruments – to lift our best to God in every way. By using our ringing instruments rather than discounting them, we can embellish contemporary music with their ethereal and sparkling sounds and we can increase active participation in Worship through the talents of members of our congregations.

While the common sound of the praise band may include keyboard, drums and guitar, why not take it up a notch by adding some handchimes to the bass echoing the harmonic pattern for more resonance and sustain.  A simple ostinato on bells may replace that of a keyboard and give more color. Convert a non-pitched percussion part into a pitched one using ringing instruments.  All of these are simple additions which will lead to uncommon ground in contemporary music.

Contemporary music can be played by a ringing ensemble as well.  Over the years, we have seen more releases of published arrangements of popular music that are stunning.  The same is true for Christian music.

Below are some examples of music that can be used in a contemporary Worship setting.  All of these pieces are available in the ChimeWorks store for ringing ensembles and work well with handbell and handchimes.  The scores are available for immediate purchase and digital download.

Click on the links below to find more information on each collection or piece.  They begin at Level 1 in difficulty.

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship   (3 – 5 Octaves)  Level 1+

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship II   (2 – 3 Octaves)  Level 1+

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship III  (2 – 3 Octaves)   (3 – 5 Octaves)  Levels 1 & 2

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship IV  (2 – 3 Octaves)  (3 – 5 Octaves)  Levels 1 & 2

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship V  (3 – 5 Octaves)  Levels 1 & 2

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship VI  (2 – 3 Octaves)  (3 – 5 Octaves)  Level 1 & 2

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship VII  (2 – 3 Octaves) Levels 1 & 2

Easy to Ring Praise & Worship VIII  (3 – 5 Octaves) Levels 1 & 2

Lamb of God with There Is A Redeemer (3- 5 Octaves)  Level 2

Awesome God & Almighty (2 – 3 Octaves)  Level 2-

How Beautiful (3 – 5 Octaves)  Level 2

Lamb of God  (3 – 5 Octaves) Level 2+

Sing & Ring in Spring

 

Spring is the perfect time to sing and ring about nature’s glory.  ChimeWorks offers some suggestions below for lesson plans using a variety of teaching techniques and objectives.

With these folksongs, we can enrich our students with a greater appreciation of the beauty of the world around them.  Many of these songs have been passed through the centuries and are classic examples of fine musical literature for young musicians.

All  of these lesson plans are available for immediate purchase and digital download at the cost of $2.29 each – just pennies per student – in our “Handchimes in the Classroom & Rehearsal” store.

 

Lesson Plans with Chordal Harmonization

 

Come, Follow Me

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Type: Chords
  • Chords: 3
  • Canon: Yes
  • Topic: Nature
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

Come Follow is an English folk song dating from the late 17th century.  It was written by John Hilton in 1652.  It is a three part round or canon.

 

I Love The Mountains

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: 3 – 6
  • Type: Chords
  • Chords: 4
  • Canon: Yes
  • Topic: Nature
  • Language: English
  • Origin: America

I Love the Mountains is a traditional American campfire song passed down through generations.

 

Lesson Plans with Harmonization by Ostinati

Sakura

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: 3 – 6
  • Type: Ostinati
  • Topic: Spring
  • Language: Japanese
  • Origin: Japan

Sakura is a traditional Japanese folk song telling of springtime and cherry blossoms.  It dates from the late the Edo period between 1603 and 1868.  It is based on the Phrygian mode.

 

Come, Let Us All A-Maying Go

  •  Use: Secular
  • Level: 3 – 6
  • Type: Ostinati
  • Canon: Yes
  • Topic: Spring
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

Come, Let Us All A-Maying Go is a three part round or canon.  John Hilton the younger was an Early English Baroque composer.

 

Lesson Plans Using Icons to Teach Music Literacy

Bunessan (Morning Has Broken)

  • Use: Sacred, Secular
  • Level: K – 2, 3 – 6
  • Type: Icons
  • Topic: Nature, Praise
  • Language: English
  • Origin: Scotland

The melody, Bunessan, was named after a town in Scotland.  During the 19th century it was set to the text of Morning Has Broken.

 

Baa, Baa Black Sheep

  • Use: Secular
  • Level: K – 2
  • Type: Icons
  • Topic: Animals, Nursery Rhyme
  • Language: English
  • Origin: England

Baa, Baa Black Sheep is an English nursery rhymed dating back from 1731.  Its original context is thought to be a complaint on the taxation of wool.