A Brief History of the “Jingle Bell”

By bill

It’s that time year again!   Our occasionally thematic work might defer to the most visible holiday in American and European tradition, and we might stuff our instrument bag with those seasonal strips of bells, which are perhaps more present than any other time during the year.  The jingle bells give us away with every step we take  down the hallway.  “Here comes the music (man/lady).”   Our stride is accentuated with a sound often associated with winter, horse rides, joy, celebration, and the winter holidays.

We often refer to these items as “jingle bells,” or “sleigh bells.”  Here is just a little bit of history about these bells.

According to percussion historian James Blades, the small tinkling bells were commonly suspended on horses, mules, and camels in ancient Egypt and Assyria.   The popularity of these small bells continued into Medieval Europe, where the music was accentuated by bell-ornamented dancers, and the entertainment of jesters was also marked with a belled cap.   We see this tradition continue with the English Morris dancers of today.

All of the Music Therapy Drumming trainers wish each of  you a happy, healthy, and musical holiday season!

Filed in: Instruments, Uncategorized • Friday, December 17th, 2010

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Music Therapy Drumming is a world drumming and clinical therapy curriculum primarily for Board-Certified Music Therapists (MT-BC). It is designed and presented by MT-BC's who are also professional percussionists.