By Edward V Williams
This generously illustrated booklet documents the tale of Russia's bells--the hundreds of thousands of awe inspiring tools that gave voice to the visible splendors of Russian Orthodoxy and to the political aspirations of the tsars.
Originally released in 1986.
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Extra info for The Bells of Russia: History and Technology
The Meteora: 8. and 9. Agiou Stefanou Monastery; 10. Varlaam Monastery; 11. Metamorfoseos Monastery. Kastoria: 12. Church of the Taxiarchos. 11 inches. From Anoyanakis, Greek Popular Musical Instruments, 97, fig. 61. Permission of the Stauroniketa Monastery, Mt. Athos. Strictly speaking, the Greek word "semantron" should be reserved for wooden instruments, large or small, struck with wooden mallets. The metal instrument of iron or copper is more properly des ignated a sideron (σίδηρον), meaning "iron," or "holy iron" (άγιον σίδηρον or άγιοσίδερο) (cf.
Permission of the author. 34 The board is hewn with an axe and must not be split or cracked. Its shape is not perfectly straight but slightly curved. Each end is either rounded or terminates in a sim ple ornamental shape in which one to five small holes are bored (figure 7). 35 The hand semantron can be held in two ways. The center of the board can be balanced on the player's left shoulder and the instrument held in place by a cord that passes through a hole in the plank's midpoint and is firmly clenched between the player's teeth (figure 8).
43 But "semantron" has become the generic term used for all instruments of this family, regardless of their substance. Semantra were being made from iron as early as the fifth or sixth century;44 today metal semantra are still being struck at foundations on Mt. Athos. Like their wooden counterparts, metal semantra can be either small or large. A small one—a short bar of iron about 10 to 12 inches long and 3 to 4 inches wide—is usually suspended from a rope, which the player holds in his right hand while he strikes the iron bar with a metal hammer in his left (figure 13).