See the introductory page to this month's
feature for an explanation of this month's theme.
Star Of Heaven
Music by: Louis A Drumheller
Lyrics by: None, piano only
Cover artist: Starmer
The origins of chime songs and the chime fad are contained within the
style of the "reverie" a genre of parlor music that was reflective
in mood, one that was in effect, a musical daydream. Usually with a moderate
to slow tempo and a quiet melody, reveries were quite popular during the
golden age of the home piano. This work was published, like many we have
seen, by different publishers and with differing covers. In this case
we have two examples of the same basic art, published by two publishers
in a different color. We have included both covers as a "rollover"
(put your cursor over the cover image).
The reveries of this period began to feature a church bell-like effect
which may have led to the later fad of the chime songs. The effects used
in this work and many others (as we will see) is the arpeggiated chord
which in a way emulates the sound of bells. The liberal use of the sustain
pedal is also a common technique that adds to the "ringing"
sound of the chords. Unfortunately, the incessant arpeggios could wear
thin over time but apparently it was not a concern as there were many,
many similar works published during the next ten years as the chime style
Louis A. Drumheller composed and arranged many
popular works during the early 20th century, among them are The Old
Oaken Bucket, Nearer My God To
Thee (MIDI) and In The Sweet Bye And Bye. We know from
his Opus number on this work and others we have that he published well
over 100 works and yet very little can be found about him in numerous
reference works or the web.
Music by: Alvin W. Roper
Lyrics by: none, piano solo
Cover artist: unknown
This work is the earliest pure "chime" piano arrangement in
our collection. Though there may be earlier works, the year of this work
seems to mark the beginning of the thankfully short lived piano chime
fad. Boldly proclaiming itself to be "The Only Arrangement Known
by which a perfect chime effect can be produced on the piano," Roper's
chimes uses a single chord construction consisting of a minor chord construction
that is used continuously throughout the work. The chords are notated
entirely on the treble clef and consist only of four notes, two played
by each hand. The left hand plays a pair of notes in 6ths and the right
hand plays an interval of 4ths. The notes are all played an octave higher
than noted and are pedaled to provide a "ringing" effect.
The opening of the work gives us a common carillon bell progression and
the effect is somewhat impressive. After the opening we then hear renditions
of Joy to the World, Sweet Hour Of Prayer, and Home Sweet Home followed by a recapitulation of the opening
carillons. Once the first page is completed and the initial impression
made, the work becomes repetitive and even ponderous as the pianist steadily
plays the same chord progressions over and over. Clearly, as we will see
with the rest of this issue, the idea caught on and in fact, was substantially
improved on over the next two to three years. Yet, Roper's chimes were
at the vanguard of the fad and provided a point of reference for us for
all that follows. It gets better, I promise.
Alvin W. Roper, was a pianist with the E.O. Excell Company when
he wrote Roper's Piano Chimes. Roper also was associated with
William Biederwolf, an evangelist, theologian and author from around 1910
- 20. The Excell company was a publishing house and Excell (Edwin O.)
was also a composer having composed or arranged several well known and
popular works such as Amazing Grace and Count Your Blessings
as well as many other Christian songs. Unfortunately, little else is known
or can be found about Roper.
Music by: Harry J. Lincoln
Lyrics by: none, piano solo
Cover artist: Unknown
Also in 1911, the reverie continued to be an important genre, but the
two (Chimes and Reverie) had not yet become inextricably entwined. However,
the chime title began to appear in more works and more contemporary composers
began composing chime and reverie works. Harry J. Lincoln was better known
as a composer of marches and rags yet he dove into the reverie fad and
composed this rare and little known work. In fact, this work is so uncharacteristic
of Lincoln's more well known works, it would likely be unrecognized as
his work if not for his name appearing as the composer.
It is a very pleasant work, perhaps one of the finest examples of the
reverie genre I have seen from the period. Avoiding overuse of arpeggiation
or other "faddish" effects, Lincoln has simply created a delicate
and beautiful work that is very musical. Beginning at bar 66 Lincoln effectively
uses the pianistic equivalent of string bariolage to create a very pleasant
passage where the melody is embedded in alternating octaves thus adding
a color to the melody that is both exciting and interesting. Other passages
in the work provide a bell-like quality however, never progress to the
level of the Roper method. Though Lincoln has joined the developing fad
by using the "chime" title, his music is far from what would
come as the fad developed.
Harry J. Lincoln also published under the name of Abe Losch and
also as a Vandersloot. Writer of a number of works we have featured over
the years, his most famous work may arguably be The
Midnight Fire Alarm (Scorch format), written by Lincoln in 1900
and republished by E.T.
Paull in 1908.
Music by: Jean Schwartz
Lyrics by: Edward Madden
Cover artist: E.H. Pfeiffer
During the period that the piano reverie was developing, composers added
the bells of chime effect to vocal works to add emphasis or interest.
Merry Wedding Bells appeared in 1912 and included a short transitional
vamp and another between verses that used the arpeggiated bell effect.
Of course such a bell effect is a natural for a song about a wedding and
use of the effect was a natural. Similarly, other songs over the next
decade or so often included chime or bell sounds. Among them, perhaps
the most well known is the 1922 song, Three
O'clock In The Morning (MIDI format).
Sporting a beautiful art deco cover by E.H.
Pfeiffer featuring a bride in traditional formal wedding garb, the
cover seems to promise a lovely and tender song about the joys of marriage.
Beware of wolves in sheep's clothing. The music is delightful and the
song begins with a tender melody followed by the wedding chimes then an
absolutely beautiful and emotional melody that oozes love and happiness.
As we move into the chorus, which still is very expressive, the lyrics
take on a more cynical tone and soon we see that this is clearly a well
disguised novelty song, with humorous lyrics that takes a slap at the
institution of marriage. Either the composer or lyricist had a recent
bad experience or they simply had a very dry sense of humor. In some regards,
it's a shame they wasted such a beautiful melody on a novelty song. With
different lyrics, this song could have been a lasting favorite.
Schwartz (b. 1878, Budapest, Hungary, d. 1956, Los Angeles, CA.) The
Schwartz family emigrated from Hungary to New York City in 1891. Starting
his American musical career as a songplugger at Shapiro and Bernstein,
Schwartz went on to become one of America's greatest songwriters. His
collaborations with the likes of Jerome Kern, William Jerome and Milton
Ager resulted in some of our greatest songs and musical stage works. Schwartz
was involved in music early in life and received his first musical training
with his sister, who had received her training with the great composer
and piano virtuoso, Franz Liszt. After his family emigrated to New York
City, for several years they lived on the city's lower east side, in abject
poverty. Jean worked at a number of odd jobs to help support his family.
Although he did work as a cashier in a Turkish Bath house, mostly he was
able to find musical work. One of his jobs was as a sheet music demonstrator
in New York's Siegel-Cooper Department Store. This was the first sheet
music department to appear in a major department store. During this time,
he also found some musical employment and performed with an ensemble at
Coney Island. Finally, he became a staff pianist and song plugger in Shapiro-Bernstein
Inc., a Tin
Pan Alley music publisher. In 1899, at age 21, Schwart'z first published
work appeared, a cakewalk titled Dusky Dudes.
William Jerome, a well known lyricist, and Schwartz met in 1901. It was
the start of a fruitful song writing partnership. Over the next few years,
they wrote some very successful songs for different Broadway shows, among
them were: Don't Put Me Off at Buffalo Anymore, Rip van Winkle Was
a Lucky Man, Hamlet Was a Melancholy Dane and what was one of their
most popular works from the 1903 show The Jersey Lily; Bedelia
sung by Blanche Ring. All of this success made the team of Schwartz and
Jerome a popular act for the vaudeville circuits, where they were headliners
for many years. Schwartz also was employed as the pianist for the Dolly
Sisters' vaudeville act, and in time, he married one of the sisters, Rozika.
In 1913 Schwartz teamed up with lyricist Harold Atteridge to write songs
for a number of popular shows including The Passing Show of 1913,
and The Honeymoon Express that same year. In 1914 Schwartz, with
Grant Clarke as lyricist wrote, I Love The Ladies and Back
To The Carolina You Love . One of Scwartz's greatest collaborations
was with Sam. M. Lewis. In 1917 they teamed up to write songs for the
great Al Jolsen and came up with Rock-a-Bye Your Baby With A Dixie
Central, Give Me No Man's Land(Scorch format) and Why Do
They All Take The Night Boat To Albany?
Schwartz continued to team up with talented lyricists and produced song
after song for numerous shows as well as individual popular songs that
did well. From 1931 until 1937, Schwartz and Milton Ager collaborated
on several hits, including: Trouble In Paradise; Little You
Know and Trust In Me, a 1937 hit. Schwartz wrote few songs
after 1940 and lived in relative seclusion till his death in Los Angeles,
CA, age 76 years.
Madden (b. 1878, New York City, d. 1952, Hollywood, CA.) was a charter
member of ASCAP and a respected lyricist best remembered for a pair of
moon songs"; By The Light Of The Silvery Moon, a 1909 collaboration
with Gus Edwards, and Moonlight
Bay (Scorch format) a 1912 collaboration with renowned composer
Percy Wenrich Madden collaborated with a veritable who's who of American
popular song composers including Theodore F. Morse, Harry Von Tilzer,
Louis A. Hirsch and Jerome Kern. Madden was educated at Fordham University
and was a writer for the great Fanny Brice and other singers as well.
He founded his own publishing firm and enjoyed great success as a key
member of the Tin Pan Alley inner circle.
Music by: Arnold and Brown
Lyrics by: None, piano only
Cover artist: E. S. Fisher
In 1913, the team of Arnold and Brown published this work and thus began
the chime song fad in earnest. Somewhat similar to the Roper chimes, Arnold
and Brown combined the pure chime chord effect with other aspects of the
reveries seen here, the arpeggiated chords and melodic interludes to create
a series of pieces that at least eluded the sheer ennui of the Roper approach
but still, over time, burned out the fad in relatively short order.
Similar to the Roper approach, Arnold and Brown used well known favorites
( Abide With Me) as a basis for some of the chime effect passages and
included the "Angelus" bells (more on the Angelus on page two)
as an introduction. In presenting this piece and those that would follow,
the composers were careful to explain the techniques necessary to produce
a good chime effect. In this case, they instructed;
particularly that both hands are in the treble clef. Play each chord staccato
with an even touch, having (the) loud pedal on all the time."
The chord construction used by Arnold and Brown was different from that
of Roper. Though tastes may vary, the Arnold and Brown chime chord seems
to have more depth and is more robust. Their chords use major 7th chords
versus minor chords for Roper and the result is a fuller and brighter
sound, in my opinion. And, also in my opinion, a much more realistic chime
sound, despite Roper's earlier claim of having created the most perfect
From this rather inauspicious beginning, Arnold and Brown went on to
compose numerous works based on the same formula and later, after the
chime fad dies out, resurrected some of their works as vocal selections
with a substantially reduced emphasis on the chime effects. In fact, you
can see their reissue of this work as the song Twilight Time, on
page two of this issue.
Arnold and Brown, Despite numerous works in the chime effect mode
and several as songs, I'm unable to find any information of this dynamic
duo of chime songs. If any of our readers have information, please share
it with us.
Music by: Arnold and Brown
Lyrics by: None, piano solo
Cover artist: E.S. Fisher
Given their success with Cathedral Chimes, Arnold and Brown immediately
followed up with another work that same year, Bells of Trinity. This time,
they expanded the work and added more of the old favorite melodies done
as chimes and added some rather interesting interludes as a part of the
reverie and to break the monotony of the work. The old favorites included
Adeste Fidelus, My Old Kentucky Home and Way Down Upon
The Swanee River, quite an eclectic selection indeed.
Though they managed to beef up the overall format and have added some
truly delightful interludes between the chime selections, the chime use
still tends to get a little wearying. The first interlude, using grace
notes is a real delight and adds the true feeling of a reverie but the
transition back to chimes is abrupt and almost rude. We also can observe
the lyrical and expressive limits of the chime effect method by noticing
how stilted and rhythmically cumbersome the chime method is in listening
to the chime passages. It is not hard to imagine the end of this fad coming
Music by: M. Greenwald
Lyrics by: None, piano solo
Cover artist: Rose symbol
As with most things, the amazing and somewhat puzzling success of the
Arnold and Brown works resulted in a flood of imitators and similar works.
In some cases, Arnold and Brown were bested by the imitators, in other
cases, we simply have a case of the bandwagon also rans. In any case,
we see a period now of about a year where similar, if not indistinguishable
works are published by a variety of composers and publishing houses, including
the top names. The formula established by Arnold and Brown became the
pattern followed by almost every similar work. After a chime effect introduction
(usually the Angelus), a familiar tune is treated to a chime effect then
a reverie passage is introduced followed by another chime tune, etc. Some
of the works, like this one could be quite long and most were perhaps
This work is musically one of the best in terms of the interludes between
chimes. Starting with a chime rendition of Adeste Fidelus, Greenwald
then moves to a carillon chime progression and then into a very nice reverie
with arpeggiated chords that has a nice bass line to it. Then, back to
chimes and The Doxology ( another often used theme in chime songs).
The next passage is a variation of the first interlude theme that really
rocks using repeated chords at an Andante moderato tempo. Later we see
what Greenwald calls a "grand organ effect in a repeat of the O
Come All Ye Faithful theme. Greenwald adds a couple of twists to
the formula by having the right hand chime chords played two octaves higher
than written rather than one and with his repeat of a theme previously
played as chimes using his organ effect. Overall, the composer has managed
to add elements of variety and interest that make this work unique.
M. Greenwald is attributed with having written at least one other
reverie, Chapel By The Sea, however, we have been unable to find
any information about him or her.
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