Chime Songs, Page 2


This is a continuation of the June, 2002 Feature, if you missed page one, check the link at the end of this page or use this link..

Celestial Chimes


Music by: May Greene
Lyrics by: None, piano only
Cover artist: Rose symbol


On our first page of this month's feature we began our look at the chime fad that swept through the American popular music scene and how that idea and the "chime" and reverie styles were combined in many a song over a period of just a few short years. On our second page, we continue to explore the chime song phenomenon and see its continuing evolution and eventual departure as a mainstream style. Here we see another fine Rose cover and another chime reverie almost identical to the last two we have looked at. An unknown composer, May Greene stepped into the fray with her own version using the successful Arnold and Brown formula.


Greene starts us off with the Doxology (that's original!) and moves directly to her version of Adeste Fidelus, however in a rather straightforward manner a short chime interlude takes us to a moderato passage of a pleasant tune that is vaguely familiar as a variation of I Love You Truly (MIDI). She takes us back again to the Doxology and then to a final bell progression. Of all the works this month, this one may be the shortest and in some respects is nothing more than a recapitulation of other works in the genre. Though pleasant, perhaps the best that can be said of this work is that it is mercifully short.


Listen to yet another chime reverie (scorch format only)

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics (none)



Chimes at Twilight


Music by: Leslie Taylor
Lyrics by: None, piano only
Cover artist: unknown

With one of the most beautiful covers in the lot this month, here we have a work by another unknown composer using the same Arnold and Brown formula. However, here we may have hit paydirt. Taylor has taken a formula that we have seen can be quite tiring and somehow has brought it to its musical pinnacle, if that is possible. Not only do we have a beautifully original cover but we have a innovative and perhaps the most musical of the chime effect reveries.

Taylor has created a work that blends the chime effect with some of the most beautiful reverie passages I've found in the genre. His judicious use of the chime effect is seamlessly blended with the other passages to create a whole that has a flow that is missing from almost all of the other works we have looked at. Whereas many of the other works have been a little cumbersome with abrupt transitions, Taylor's work seems to truly bring the reverie mood and through the use of the Westminster Abbey chimes, presents a work whose music lives up to the theme implied by the title. It is an expressive work that is my favorite from the lot of piano solo chime effect works presented this month.


Leslie Taylor is another composer whom I've been unable to find any information about.


Hear and see this song(SCORCH format)

listen to MIDI version

Lyrics (none)



When The Angelus Is Ringing


Music by: Bert Grant
Lyrics by: Joe Young
Cover artist: unknown


The year 1914 brought an abatement to the pure chime effect music, but not an end to it. Music had begun to incorporate the effects and themes used in the fad and we begin to see the best of the style combined with popular song. In some cases, like the present work, the chimes are few and far between but used to good effect. We have mentioned the "angelus" in a number of other works and this song comes right out and includes it in the title (there were a large number of works with the angelus theme in the title during this period.) What were the angelus bells and why are they so prominent in music?

The Angelus has its origins in 13th century Christianity. The Angelus is a practice of devotion in honor of the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary which is traditionally said three times a day, at 8 a.m., noon, and 6 p.m. It is repeated three times each day, morning, noon, and evening, announced at the sound of the bell. It consists essentially of a triple repetition of the Hail Mary, to which in later times have been added three introductory versicles and a concluding versicle and prayer. The prayer is that which belongs to the antiphon of Our Lady, "Alma Redemptoris," and its recitation is not of strict obligation in order to gain the indulgence. It is from the first word of the three versicles, i.e. Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ (The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary) that the Angelus derives its name.


The Angelus bells were not necessarily based on any established melody or theme however over time, more recently in the 19th and 20th centuries, the Angelus bells became associated with a sixteen chord progression that many of us will immediately recognize. My school used that progression to announce changes in class or other important daily activities. I suppose it was their way of calling us to a different sort of devotion!


Regardless of the Angelus itself, this song is one of the finest examples of a love ballad from the period. With a wonderfully melodic introduction and verse and a gorgeous chorus as well, this song shows what can be done when an idea is in the hands of a master songwriting team.


Bert Grant Despite a fairly large oeuvre of works, little can be found about the composer Bert Grant. We do know he wrote quite a few popular songs including If I Knock The "L" Out of Kelly (Scorch format), When The Angelus Is Ringing, Arrah, Go On, I'm Gonna Go Back To Oregon (MIDI) and When You're Away and it is a little puzzling that so little can be found either on the net or in our many references about him.


Joe Young (b. 1889, New York, N. Y., d. 1939, New York, N. Y. )
Joe Young was most active from 1911 through the late 1930's. Joe began his career working as a singer-songplugger for various music publishers. During WW1, he entertained the U.S. Troops. Starting in 1916, he and CO-lyricist Sam M. Lewis worked as a team up until 1930. Among his earliest lyrics (without Lewis) included:
Don't Blame It All On Broadway; When The Angelus Was Ringing; Yaaka Hula, Hickey Dula, written with Pete Wendling & Ray Goetz and the great novelty song
Where Did Robinson Crusoe Go With Friday on Saturday Night? an Al Jolson favorite. In 1930, Young and Lewis collaborated with composer Harry Warren on
an early talking motion picture Spring is Here. It was one of
the Young and Lewis team's last projects together. From 1930 on, Young mostly wrote lyrics by himself and continued writing nearly to his death with his last known songs published around 1935. Joe Young is a member of the Songwriters' Hall of Fame.



Listen to and see this great song (scorch format only)

Listen to MIDI version




Rose Dreams


Music by: A. J. Stastny
Lyrics by: None, piano only
Cover artist: Starmer

Though it had abated, the chime reverie had not completely left us. This gorgeous cover, one of Starmer's best in my opinion, brings to us a pleasant reverie by a prominent composer of both popular songs and more classic works. Stastny however has served up another portion of the fad formula that by this time is good for inducing a case of ennui. In my opinion there is an overuse of the arpeggiated chords but Stastny has done a fine job of taking the formula, adding a small twist with the clock hours striking and reworking some tired themes. In fact, several of the themes heard in this work are recapitulations of themes we have heard in other songs featured this month.


Anthony J. Stastny Born in Czechoslovakia, he emigrated to the US sometime before 1905. Stastny was a respected composer and music publisher. He and his publishing company were originally located in Cleveland where he used and published his name the original Czech way, "Stastny"; In 1918 he he relocated to New York City, and adopted the spelling "Stasny." He personally wrote a number of popular songs and piano solo works and his publishing house was instrumental in the publication of many popular songs from circa 1905 to well into the 1920's. Among his personal compositions are; High Stepper March & Two Step (1907); Dance Of The Moon Birds (1911); An Arabian Fantasy (1923) and Don't Waste Your Tears Over Me (1923).


Hear this great old melody (scorch format)

listen to MIDI version

Lyrics (none)


Twilight Chimes


Music by: Harley E. Parker
Lyrics by: None, piano only
Cover artist: unknown


By 1917, chime reveries are few and far between. The chime idea has been incorporated into music as a curiosity or special effect and we have moved on to the novelty song and World War One is for the most part capturing the musical energies of composers. Yet, there are a few die hards, those who still hunger for a chime reverie or two. Harley E. Parker stepped in to fill the void with this work which is truly a wonderful reverie that is expressive and uses the chimes for good effect.


Parker's melodies are flowing and reverential in a way that makes this work a real pleasure to listen to. In spite of returning to the chime format, Parker has done so with more emphasis on the reverie than the chimes and thank goodness, he has avoided the use of chimes as a way of presenting a main theme. Parker's chime introduction is "just right" as far as using the chime effect and he adds a very pleasant motif at the end of the passage that allows for both a transition to the reverie section and also a very nice ending to the piece. By jiminy, I think they've got it!


Hear this last of the chime songs

Listen to MIDI version

Lyrics (none)


Twilight Time


Music by: Arnold and Brown
Lyrics by: Arnold and Brown
Cover artist: E.S. Fisher

One great way for a composer to extend the life (and revenue) of a popular work is to reissue it in a new form. Arnold and Brown, having been largely responsible for the chime song fad which by 1917 was pretty much dead, dusted off their principal work, Cathedral Chimes and reworked it as a song with lyrics and republished it as this work. Using the primary reverie melodies as a basis, they stripped it of its chime effects and have given us a really nice song that has the reverie feel and sound to it.


Rather than create a strophic work, they elected to use a through-composed form to essentially use the bulk of Cathedral Chimes as originally written. They clearly acknowledge the origin of the work on the music by stating;

"Note: This piece is also published as a reverie for piano, under the name of "CATHEDRAL CHIMES"

And thus ends the saga of Arnold and Brown's chime songs.


Enjoy this rare old song (scorch)

Listen to MIDI version



The Bells Of St. Mary's


Music by: A. Emmett Adams
Lyrics by: Douglas Furber
Cover artist: unknown

We now arrive, perhaps back where we started, with a wonderful American popular song, about bells, but with little or no relationship to the chime song fashion save a short introduction with four chime-like chords (the Angelus?). Following that we are treated to one of the loveliest melodies ever written. For those of you who are Bing Crosby fans, you may be interested to see these original lyrics for the song Crosby sang in the 1945 film of the same name. Though many recall the movie as one of a series set in the Catholic religion, the song is as pure a love song as ever could be found.


The songwriters in this case were English and the song was first a hit in England then was picked up at first by Glee Clubs and concert bands. It quickly became a favorite and like many good things from England, we took it for our own and now it seems as American as apple pie. Thanks UK! First recorded in 1920, the song enjoyed a mild success but it was only after its revival for the film that the song became firmly entrenched as a staple of American popular music.


We hope you have enjoyed this month's featured music and will come back again next month to see our new feature or just explore the hundreds of pages we have on our site about music.


Enjoy this vintage hit song (scorch)

Listen to MIDI version



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