The cathedral bells were being

The cathedral bells were being rung as I walked through the cathedral close on my way to work this morning. I was listening to a discussion on the radio the other day about church bells – the argument was “is this music, or just cacophany?”
I think the jury is out on that one, but it is certainly a striking sound and it does have a certain beauty. The thought that occured to me this morning was that, when the cathdral bell tower was built, the sound must have been the loudest thing (aside from the roars of thunder and wind) that the Cicestrians would ever hear in their lives. It didn’t have to compete with the background rumble of traffic, trains and industry, the blaring stereo from the passing car or even the incessant ring of mobile phones.
It is no wonder that the church had such power and influence over a poorly educated populace. It was the centre of knowledge, erected massive buildings, made enormous noise and had great power and wealth. The populace must have been cowed into submission and subservience – the church was the embodiment of the “fear” of God. Now the roles are reversed, and the church seems weak in the face of commerce, industry, education, wealth and noise of the populace.
And on the subject of musical impressiveness, I defy anything to beat a cathedral organ. When I was on holiday in Lisbon a couple of years ago, I happened to be in Se cathedral just as an organist was rehearsing for a recital – it was fantastic, the enormous (and beautiful) building almost shaking with the sound. What was even more remarkable was that the organist was a girl of no more than 14 or 15 – she was tiny in comparison to the noise that surrounded her.